Eat Healthy, Live Healthy!
by Sam Glyn Nava, B.S.Ed, M.S.CCC-SLP, Alphabet Kids Director of Education
 
When the New Year comes around, many adults choose to make resolutions involving a better diet, more exercise, and an all around healthier lifestyle.  Why not include your kids in resolutions such as these?  Most people are familiar with the statistics, but according to the Center for Disease Control, an astounding almost 20% of children 6-11 years old were classified as obese in 2008.  Children should be given the same fresh start that adults get in the New Year. 
 
Here are 6 simple ideas to help your family have a healthier way of life for the long term.
  1. Set a good example - This goes for most things, and if you didn't have the motivation live healthy before, consider the well-being of your family.  Show your kids that you are eating right, drinking lots of water and being physically active. They will be more likely to follow your good example.
  2. Walk whenever possible - To the store, school, visiting friends. For example, many people live close enough to school but choose to drive because it's faster and easier.  Leave a little bit earlier, enjoy the fresh air and some extra time with your child.
  3. Eat 3 Balanced Meals a Day - Breakfast is especially important. Studies show that children who eat breakfast are more alert and do better in school.Try to have plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well. Introduce new and healthy foods from different cultures. Experiment!
  4. Cut down or Eliminate Sodas - Consider drinking club soda or water with a slice of fresh lemon, lime or orange instead of sugary or diet sodas. 
  5. Weekend Activities Can Be Special - Weekends are usually thought of as a time to relax, but relax does not have to mean sitting on the couch eating snacks and watching TV.  As a family, try to do a least one physical activity each weekend; even a 20 minute walk or bike ride around your neighborhood can make a big difference.
  6. Cut Out Late Night Snacking - Although children typically have faster metabolisms than adults, late night snacking is not good for anyone, particularly if the snack is sugary.  Eating late at night could affect children's desire to eat breakfast and change their sleep pattern.  If a late night snack must be consumed, try a low-calorie high protein option like yogurt, nuts or fruit.  Also, thirst sometimes masks itself as hunger, so try a glass of water.