Note: This week we're focusing on back to school with food safety and nutrition advice for parents and kids. Check back all week for a different topic each day.
By: Elizabeth Rahavi, RD Date: 8/13/10
The long days of summer are coming to an end and kids across the United States are gearing up for another year of school. As we sharpen our pencils, purchase new books and supplies, and endure the hassle of buying new clothes for the school year, it can be easy to lose sight of the big picture. Here are a few healthy eating and active living tips that can set you and your family up for success this school year.
Be Active Every day! Kids need at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This doesn’t mean that you have to go out and do laps on a track for 60 minutes. Choose activities that you want to do. Play tag, kickball or go ride a bike. Make time to do fun activities that the whole family can enjoy too. Are you looking for new and exciting ideas to get active? Check out these resources on FoodInsight.org.
Eat a Variety of Food! Food is more than just great taste; it’s also nourishment for the mind and body. There is not one food that is the “perfect food.” We have to eat a variety of foods to get all of the vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to perform at their peak. Here are a few food ideas to focus on.
• Aim to get three servings of dairy a day for good health. We triple dog dare you to!
• Find Cool Ways to Fruit and Veg Out. Fruits and veggies bring texture, color, and flavor to your meal. Don’t be afraid to try a new type of fruit every day, or add a new vegetable to a meal.
• Go Inside MyPyramid for Kids to get more healthful eating information about what your body needs to be healthy. Protein and whole grains are both part of healthy diet.
Find Time for Family and Loved Ones. When school starts, so do classes, homework, and tests. It can also be exciting to see old friends and build new friendships, and after school activities can mean that you have less time to spend at home. Make it a point to spend time being active with your family and share meals and stories with each other. Check out other characteristics of strong families.
Find Time for the Pillow. While we sleep our bodies are getting the much needed rest that is necessary for us to remain healthy. During the day you participate in tons of activity, getting some good ZZZZs at night helps you be prepared to take the world by storm in the morning. Check out this article to find out how much sleep you need each night.
Here are some other helpful resources to help you and your family make this the most successful school year yet.
• IFIC Foundation: Healthy Kids and Families
• United States Department of Agriculture: MyPyramid for Kids
• American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org/advocacy/releases/augschool.cfm
• United States Department of Education: http://www2.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/succeed/index.html
• United States Extension Agents: http://www.extension.org/families%20food%20fitness
What changes will you make this school year?