With childhood obesity on the rise, making sure kids eat right and get plenty of physical activity is vital.
Parents and caregivers can play a big role in children’s nutrition and health, teaching kids about healthy foods, being a good role model and making sure physical activity is incorporated into each day.
August, which is Kids Eat Right Month, is a great time to reevaluate your family’s eating and physical activity habits and take steps to make positive, healthful changes. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is encouraging families to take the following steps:
Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.
Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the preparation of meals. They will learn about food and may even be enticed to try new foods they helped prepare.
Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Family meals encourage healthy family relationships and good eating habits.
Healthy Habits. You can help kids form great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lower-sodium options, and make at least half the grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over drinks with added sugars, and opt for fat-free or low-fat milk.
Get Moving. Aside from being a great way to spend time together, regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote a healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Pre-school aged kids are encouraged to be active throughout the day, and older children and adolescents need at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity daily, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition.
Getting kids to eat right can sometimes be a challenge, particularly if they are picky eaters. But experts say that a conversation can help.
“Talk to your children. Learn the foods they like. Teach them about the foods they need for their growing bodies. Together, find ways to make sure they have the knowledge and ability to eat healthy and tasty foods at every meal,” says Kristi King, registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson.
Learn more at www.KidsEatRight.org, or contact Tinker’s Health Promotion Nutrition Program Manager Wendi Knowles at 736-2169.