At Nutrition Healthworks, we believe it’s never too late to get back on track and re-establish healthy habits! Perhaps diet and exercise routines faltered in 2020 with the onset of remote work and school. Here are 3 pieces of pediatric advice to kick start family-based change within the home for 2021:
Rethink your drinks.
Did you know that a 12 oz can of soda contains 25 grams of sugar or about 6 teaspoons? Excessive sugar is stored as body fat. Added sugars should be limited to less than 25 grams per day. Avoid buying sugary beverages such as chocolate milk, sweetened coffees, energy drinks, and juices. Offer skim/1% or unsweetened soy milk, up to 2 cups per day, as these contain calcium and protein which help build strong bones and muscles. Water is the best hydration! Make it a family goal to drink at least 6-8, 8 oz cups per day. Add flavor by slicing up fresh fruit in water. Having kids get in a habit of drinking water and not sugary drinks will help their overall nutrition!
Make veggies fun!
At 25 calories per serving, vegetables are the lowest calorie food group. Packed with vitamins and fiber, vegetables can provide nutrition and fullness. Dietitians recommend that A healthy plate should be ½ vegetables, however many parents struggle with getting their children to eat them. Remember, set the example to your children by having vegetables available and consuming them at meals and snacks. Make it fun for your kids by asking them to pick 1-2 veggies to try raw, steamed, or cooked. Include kids in the grocery shopping and preparation of vegetables. Make a salad together or alter favorite meals, like spaghetti, by adding fresh zucchini or bell peppers to the sauce for something delicious! Keep snack size baggies of fresh veggies in your fridge for on-the-go.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends less than 2 hours of screen time per day, however many kids are well above this and aren’t getting enough exercise. Activity improves brain development and makes the heart and lungs stronger. Parents can encourage movement by incorporating 60 minutes minimum of activity per day into kids’ schedules. Studies show even 10-minute bursts of activity towards an hour a day is healthy! At lunch, encourage older kids/teens to take the dog for a walk or set up an indoor obstacle course for younger children. Free play without iPads or phones is important. Be active as a family! Clean the house together, go for a bike ride, or simply turn on the music and dance with your children!