A healthy, active lifestyle can help maintain weight. It also can prevent health issues, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and high blood pressure.
It is important to create healthy habits early on. These will help you make smart choices for your family.
Children imitate their parents, so it’s important to set a good example. The tips below can help your family be healthy and happy.
Eating better (for children and families)
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast. It refuels the body and provides energy for the day.
- Let kids help plan and prepare 1 meal each week.
- Eat together as a family as often as possible.
- Take time eating, and chew slowly. It takes 20 minutes for the brain to tell the body that you are full.
- Eat more vegetables and fresh fruits. Aim for a total of 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day.
- Eat more whole grains. Examples include oats, brown rice, rye, and whole-wheat pasta. Try to eat at least 3 ounces of whole grains each day.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Choose water, low-fat or nonfat milk, and low-calorie beverages.
- Serve a variety of foods.
- Serve food in small portions.
Eating better (for parents)
- Reward children with praise, not food.
- Do not demand or reward “a clean plate.” Let your children ask for more if they are still hungry.
- Read nutrition labels for serving size. This information can help you select foods that fit your family’s needs.
- Bake, broil, or grill foods.
- Avoid cooking with butter or vegetable oil. Use healthier versions like olive, canola, or sunflower oil.
- Choose snacks that provide nutrients and energy. These are essential for active, growing children.
- Ask your doctor about vitamin supplements for you and your children.