Research indicates that physical activity and good nutrition are linked to better academic performance, in addition to better physical and mental health. They can also help prevent and fight overweight and obesity, which currently affects one in three children in the U.S.
Parents and caregivers can make simple changes that go a long way in helping children of all ages learn to eat right, be active every day, be ready to learn, and develop healthy habits that will last a lifetime. Here from the folks at Action for Healthy Kids are 5 Fit and Fantastic New Years Resolutions:
# 1 – Be active as a family: Play at the park; romp in the snow; or add an after-dinner walk to your family routine. Look for ways to make activity part of every day. If possible, walk or ride bikes to school or the store. Go crazy doing chores – turn up the music and dance til the house is clean.
# 2 – Be a good role model: Show your kids how to eat healthy foods by eating them yourself. Substitute low-fat milk or water for soft drinks; eat mostly whole-grains; fill half of your plate with colorful vegetables – and eat them!
# 3 – Add more fruits and veggies to your family’s diet: Add chopped veggies to pasta sauce or mac n’ cheese; offer low-fat/non-fat dairy or fresh fruits and veggies instead of salty or sugary snacks. No fresh? Use frozen or canned in natural juices. Have your kids help prepare meals; they’ll be eager to eat the food they fix.
# 4 – Offer non-food rewards: It’s easy to reward good behavior or deeds without food. Play a game; dance to your kids’ favorite tunes; take a trip to one of their favorite places; offer prizes from a ‘treasure box’ of stickers, pencils and small toys.
#5 – Encourage healthy practices at school: Ask teachers and other family members to offer fruits and veggies alongside cupcakes and cookies at classroom parties. Suggest that non-food awards, such as an extra recess period or items with the school logo, be used rather than candy or other treats. Advocate for non-food fundraisers.
Information and tips to help families with these resolutions can be found in ’ Family Corner.