With childhood obesity increasing, it is important to make sure kids are eating healthy and getting plenty of exercise. Parents can help by setting good examples and involving keiki in daily physical activities and preparation of meals. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages families to take the following steps:
Shop Smart. To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get children involved in selecting the food that will be made at breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Cook Healthy. Involve your child in the mixing, preparation and cutting (if age appropriate) of meals. They will learn about food and this can encourage them to try new foods.
Eat Right. Sit down together as a family to enjoy a meal and the opportunity to share the day’s experiences with one another. Research indicates that those families who eat together have a stronger bond, and children perform better in school as well as having higher self-confidence.
Healthy Habits. You can help kids from great, healthy habits by setting a good example. Fill your plate with half vegetables and fruit, choose lower sodium options, and make at least half of grains your family eats whole grains. For beverages, choose water over sugary drinks, and opt for low-fat milk.
Get Moving. Regular physical activity is vital to strengthen muscle and bones, promote healthy body weight, support learning, develop social skills and build self-esteem. Kids are encouraged to be active for 60 minutes a day.
If your children tend to be picky eaters, talk to them and let them know they need a variety of foods for their growing bodies. Find ways to make sure they have the ability and knowledge to eat a healthy and tasty meal.It may help to consult a registered dietitian/certified nutritionist in your area to ensure your family is getting the nutrients it needs with a meal plan tailored to your lifestyle and busy schedule.
For more healthful eating tips, recipes, videos and to learn more about Kids Eat Right Month, visit www.KidsEatRight.org
Academy of Dietetics- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation
Written By: Sheena Johnson- UH Moana Nutrition Student