September was National Childhood Obesity Month and the winter months are just ahead – making now a great time to focus on healthy habits for children and families. Recent studies indicate that one in three children are overweight or obese, which predisposes them to illnesses associated with aging adults like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news is there is something we can do about this alarming trend:
Children are more likely “to do what you do” as opposed to “do what you say.” With this in mind, making healthy food choices when shopping for your family will have a greater impact than informing your children on what foods to eat.
Read labels and watch for hidden salt and sugar in highly processed foods.
Prevent the nutrient deficit by literally “breaking” the “fast” from a good night’s sleep…start your day with breakfast.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) dietician, Carole L. Adler, M.A., R.D., makes the following suggestions:
Breakfast doesn’t have to mean traditional breakfast foods. If your kids want a change, think about serving left-overs from last night’s dinner. It’s neither necessary nor effective to feed kids foods they dislike. Left-over pizza with a whole-grain crust and veggies works for breakfast.
Make muffins with zucchini and carrots, spread with peanut butter or almond butter, and serve with a glass of milk.
Do your kids (and you?) love sugary cereal? Mix a little bit of that cereal with a whole-grain, nutrient-packed healthier brand of cereal. For more ideas, check out this Healthy Breakfast for Kids video.
Get Outside…for a Better Inside
As a parent or caregiver you can promote mental and physical fitness by limiting screen time for children to two hours or less per day.
Get outdoors for a family walk, bike ride, or game of catch…even in the winter when it’s tempting to stay inside. A recent study from Norwayfound that children ages four through seven who spent more time outside during child care hours performed better on their ability to plan, prioritize, focus attention and filter distractions. These skills promote kindergarten readiness and ease the transition into elementary school when there’s less guidance from parents and teachers as independence is encouraged. In Colorado, dressing for success can mean coats and mittens!
This event encourages El Paso County youth to participate in activities that promote positive mental well-being. Come learn how to get connected with life, activities, friends, etc. that help people through their journey with mental and overall health and well-being. Open to all!