By April D. Davis, MS, RDN, CD, ACSM CEP
Did you know parents have the greatest influence on shaping their children’s lifestyle and eating habits? Healthy nutrition and activity levels begin at home and are the root of lifelong health. Try these simple tips to help your family eat well and enjoy an active lifestyle throughout the fall season.
Tips for Home
Go on a walk together as part of family time each week – Take turns being the “tour guide” and pointing out all of the beautiful fall scenery to each other as you walk. Use this time to become closer as a family, while demonstrating the importance of an active lifestyle.
Focus on foods kids should eat instead of what not to eat – Pack the kitchen with foods that are nutritious and ready to eat, such as:
- Boldly colored fruits and vegetables. Deep, dark colors provide more disease-fighting nutrients.
- Whole grains rich in fiber.
- Low fat and fat-free milk, cheese and yogurt.
- Fish, eggs, beans, nuts, lean meats and skinless poultry.
Use positive messages – Let kids, co-workers, friends and family know that all foods can fit into a healthful meal plan; there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Try to eliminate associations between guilt and food. The key is moderation.
Introduce a new activity or food every week – This encourages all of us to be open to new things and adds variety to meals and life. Allow kids to help choose the food or activity and make it a positive, fun experience.
Set expectations – For example: Everyone in the family starts the day with breakfast; After-school snacks must include a serving of fruit or vegetables and one whole grain food; Soda is reserved for special, rare occasions; TV commercials are used to get up and be active, such as going up and down stairs, hoola hooping, laughing or marching in place.
Guide but don’t steer – Allow your kids to be in the driver’s seat once they know the basic rules for developing healthy habits. Empower children to make the right choices on their own, even when you’re not around!
Tips for Work
- The NEP Health & Fitness Clinic begins the week of October 26th
- We’re looking for faculty, staff, students, family, and friends to participate in our wellness clinic, working one-on-one with a NEP Student Wellness Coach for FREE on Wednesdays, beginning Oct. 28.
- Click here to sign up for one-on-one wellness coaching and learn more details.
- Group exercise classes will be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays, during the noon hour and after work, beginning on Oct. 26.
- Click here to sign up for these classes and learn more details.