Friday, October 16, 2009

Tips For Healthier Kiddos!

Did you know that October is family health month? It is a time to look at the health and lifestyle habits of everyone in your household. One of the most important things parents can do is set good nutrition and fitness habits for their children at an early age that will last for years to come. Below are some tips to developing healthy habits for your kids:

1. Maintain an upbeat attitude! Healthy habits should be fun. If you are having a good time, then your kids will also look forward to nutrition and fitness instead of dreading it.

2. Make family exercise a priority!

3. Feed them breakfast! Studies show that children who eat breakfast learn and perform better in school.

4. Watch your child's weight and make sure they stay within a healthy range for their age group.

5. Provide easy access to fitness. Keep some small exercise equipment around the house and encourage the kids to exercise during commercials and stretch before going to bed.

6. Follow the food pyramid. You can get personalized nutrition plans for your kids at

7. Exercise with your kids! Ride bikes together, go rollerblading, or have a touch football game in the backyard. Pick a sport to enjoy together.

8. Work in the yard together. Try a small vegetable garden and let the kids help!

9. Don't skip fruits and vegetables. Make sure both are a regular part of your child's diet on a daily basis.

10. Allow periodic splurges! Forbidding goodies entirely is almost guaranteed to have your kids running for the vending machine at school. Allow the occasional treat as long as they are eating healthy most of the time. Follow the 80/20 rule!

11. Encourage active video games like Dance-Dance Revolution or Nintendo Wii.

12. Limit sugary drinks and sodas and instead replace them with water, low-fat milk or 100% fruit juices.

13. Establish a bed-time routine. Toddlers and kids need more sleep than adults - about 8 to 12 hours, depending on their age. Get them to bed early so they will be healthier, stronger and better able to concentrate.

14. Appreciate body diversity. Help them to recognize the wide variety of body shapes and sizes.

15. Eat together! Studies show that the families who eat together have children that tend to do better in school, avoid risky behaviors, develop high self esteem, and eat more nutritiously!

16. Give praise! Healthy changes require acclaim. Celebrate good food choices, fitness improvements, and more with positive reinforcement!

17. Pack a healthy lunch. Many school cafeteria meals are high in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol and too low in fiber and nutrient rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

18. Model respect. Show appreciation of your own body type so your kids appreciate theirs. Don't let them hear you complain about your thighs or about how much you overate.

19. Promote sports. Team sports teach kids more than just fitness - they improve motor skills, increase self esteem, and foster cooperation and teamwork.

20. Use positive language all the time! Positive words can turn into positive actions! Frame healthy habits as good and exciting so your child will view them similarly.

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