The weather is warming up and it’s time to get out and play! The best way to lead your child to a healthy lifestyle is to set a positive example yourself. Today, one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese. If healthy eating habits and physical activity are encouraged at home, you can help your child develop good habits at an early age.
Physical activity doesn’t have to be hard or scary! The American Heart Association recommends children and teens participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Riding bikes with friends, jump roping, playing hop scotch, and running around the park are all great ways to get active. TV and video games are okay sometimes, but too much can keep you too inactive. Limit “screen time” to less than 2 hours each day. Shooting hoops or riding a bike before homework can help stimulate your mind and get your heart pumping. Parents can help keep it exciting by bringing their children to playgrounds or doing a warm up together.
We try to be conscious of the food choices we make for our kids, but sometimes healthy options aren’t the easy option. It is especially important to have nutritious snacks after an afternoon of playing to help replenish the body! Try these tasty and easy snacks for your children the next time they finish a soccer game, a karate tournament, or simply come in from playing outside with friends.
Instead of sugar-sweetened drinks
- Fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk
- 100% fruit juice
Instead of full calorie chips and crackers
- Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Whole-grain crackers
- Fat-free or low-fat cheese sticks
- Popcorn or rice cakes
- Apple or orange slices
- Carrot or celery sticks
- Nuts and nut butters
Instead of sweets and baked goods
- Fresh fruit and berries
- Raisins, dates and other unsweetened dried fruits
- Applesauce or fruit cup
- Frozen 100% fruit pops
This spring, Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Learn more about how you can change your family’s life for the healthier at heart.org/healthyforgood.