August is “Kids Eat Right Month”
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Kids Eat Right Month™ happens each year in August and is a time to “focus on the importance of healthful eating and active lifestyles for children and their families”. What a great opportunity for parents to role model healthy food and activity behaviors for their kids!!
Here are ten ways to promote health for kids this month:
1. Let them see you drink water!
When parents choose water as their go-to beverage there is a VERY good chance
that the kids will also want to drink it.
2. Instead of family movie night this week, try having a family MOVE night. Here are some ideas to get you started:
Have a dance competition.
Conduct an exercise class.
Find a fun youtube™ video for the whole family to try together (kick boxing, Zumba, ballet……the choices seem endless!).
Grab hula hoops and see who can continue the longest.
3. Help kids choose a new veggie recipe to try each week.
If your family is bored with the same veggies all of the time, check out Chop Chop
cooking magazine’s website for some new ideas. https://www.chopchopfamily.org/
4. Try out some of the local family - friendly, fun and FREE opportunities to exercise.
Walk or bike on local trails.
Explore down town on foot.
Spend time at local play grounds and public soccer fields.
Visit a nearby dog park (even if you don’t have your own dog this can be fun!).
5. When hunger hits between meals, choose real foods over ultra-processed carb based
junk foods such as baked chips, gummy fruits, veggie chips or sugary cereals.
Help kids learn to reach for a healthy snack in response to between meal hunger.
The most satisfying snacks (and the ones that are best for our body) are those that we
Crispy cucumber slices sprinkled with a bit of salt and a drizzle of lime juice, served with an ounce of favorite cheese.
A dish of Greek yogurt with some sliced berries or a small drizzle of honey
Home - made trail mix, made with a variety of nuts and a few pieces of dried fruit.
A sliced apple with peanut butter
6. Set limits on your own screen time.
Get up and MOVE every few minutes when using electronics. What a great way to
show kids the importance of taking frequent screen breaks to stretch, go outside or
do a few dance moves. Our eyes also appreciate a screen break at least every 15 minutes!
7. Serve fresh fruit for “dessert” most of the time instead of sugary treats.
Sure it’s fine to enjoy a dish of ice cream or a slice of favorite cake sometimes, but
help your child to accept fruit as a perfectly fine ending to the meal.
8. Put a positive spin on all things exercise - related.
Point out what a great opportunity it is to get in some extra steps when you have to
park far away….instead of complaining or getting all negative about it.And go out
of your way to choose the stairs when possible…tell your kids it will be fun!
9. Keep phones and other electronics away from the table.
Kids benefit (A LOT) from participating in meal time conversation. When parents
are glued to their phone during meals, this sends the wrong message to kids.
10. Speak with your child’s teacher if you have concerns about losing recess.
To punish kids by taking away recess, is in direct violation of school wellness policies in many districts. Studies have shown IMPROVED attentiveness and behavior when kids are given multiple opportunities to move during the school day.
Written by Jenny Favret, MS,RD,LDN
Nutritionist, Duke Pediatrics Healthy Lifestyles Program