Simple Ways to Live a Healthy Lifestyle…and to make sure your kids are too!
Did you know that in 1970 less than 5% of kids in the US were obese? By 2010 that number has increased to approximately 17%. While that statistic is alarming the good news is that there are resources available for concerned parents to improve their child’s health. To avoid serious health risks parents should focus on prevention.
- 5-2-1-0 – Easy to remember tips on how to keep kids eating healthy and staying active.
- Eating Out – How to eat a healthy meal when dining out.
- My Plate – The Food Guide Pyramid Becomes a Plate
A very simple prevention message is called 5-2-1-0. This stands for 5 fruits and veggies a day; 2 hours or less of screen time a day; 1 hour or more of activity a day and 0 sugar sweetened beverages a day (such as soda or excessive fruit drinks).
There are also a few other healthy tips with regards to prevention- ensure that your child gets a good night sleep; eat dinner as a family without the TV on and ensure that your child eats regular meals though the day- including a healthy breakfast!
Keep kids active! Encourage them to play outside. This can include any activity, like biking or hiking with the family, but can also include simple outdoor exploration. The important thing is that children get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. For children more than adults, this is usually divided into many short bursts of activity.
For more tips visit ChildrensColorado.org
Making healthy choices when eating out can be challenging for a lot of reasons…restaurant food often tastes very good, portion sizes are generally much larger than what you would prepare at home and you don’t have control or knowledge of how your foods are being prepared. When you eat out it’s important to remember the following:
1. Restaurant foods are frequently prepared using higher fat/calorie cooking methods. It might be hard to modify the way that a restaurant cooked their food, but you can always ask how food is prepared, then order it how you want it prepared. Choose baked, broiled, grilled or steamed foods. Limit foods that are fried, sautéed, or creamy.
2. Look at restaurants in two categories: sit down meals and fast food. Here are some general tips to choosing a meal at either:
o At a sit down restaurant, the portion size, even of a child’s meal, tends to be at least 2 portions if not more. So just split it, or ask for a box when the meal comes and immediately put half of the meal in the box. Second, skip the fries and choose a salad, steamed veggies or fruit instead. Third, skip the drink. This ads huge amount of calories (especially a bottomless drink.) Either choose water with lemon, or the diet options.
3. At a fast food restaurant, keep it simple. Most fast food restaurants have their nutrition information available online or at the point of purchase. Choose your meal to be less than 500 calories. This often means, no supersizing, no calorie containing drink and little or no fried/creamy options.This does often require that you are prepared for what you might order, so do your homework ahead of time!
Remember, there are ways to enjoy your favorite foods when you eat out while still making healthy choices. If pizza is your favorite order it with just cheese or veggies or choose thin crust over deep dish. And remember, always control those portions, limit yourself to 1 slice with a salad on the side.
My Plate– The Food Guide Pyramid Becomes a Plate
In an effort to make it easier for parents to figure out how to feed their kids nutritious, balanced meals, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced an easy-to-follow food guide.
MyPlate's user-friendly, interactive website provides simple messages that are easy for kids and parents to follow together.
The colorful plate is divided into three sections, including space for fruits and veggies, grains, and foods high in protein. This is a really easy way to ensure that your child is getting appropriate serving sizes and a balanced meal.
• Half of your child’s plate should be fruits and veggies- the more color the better
• 1/3 should be grains, and aim for these to be whole grains
• 1/3 of the plate should be a lean protein
• serve fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk and water rather than sugary drinks
• when buying pre-packaged foods, choose ones low in sodium
• don't serve oversized portions and a rule of thumb should be that if your child wants seconds, they should be allowed fruits or veggies.
My Plate should be seen as a guide for healthy eating, and not a one-size-fits-all solution for everybody. Depending on a child's need, some food groups will need to be increased and others decreased.
To find out more visit ChildrenColorado.org.