Getting kids to eat healthy, nutritious food and be more active doesn't have to be "mission impossible."
“Changing your child’s eating habits and making a game of kickball outside sound more fun than an online video game doesn’t have to be an uphill battle,” said Amy Medley, health educator, Children’s Hospital FoundationOffice of Child AdvocacyNorton Children’s Hospital
Several tools and resources are available to help. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently changed its national model for healthy eating from a pyramid to a dinner plate, called “My Plate.” My Plate is an easy and fun way to visualize how much and what to eat by picturing your meal on a plate.
One-half of the plate should be filled with vegetables and fruit, because they are full of vitamins and minerals. One-quarter of the plate should be filled with protein, like baked chicken, low-fat grilled beef or an egg. The other one-quarter should be filled with a starch, like yams, sweet potatoes or a serving of whole wheat bread.
Another way to make healthy food fun for your family is to prepare meals together. Also, learning fun facts about fruits and vegetables is a great way of getting kids’ attention. For example, here are just a few interesting facts about the food you eat:
- Strawberries can make your teeth whiter. They have an enzyme that helps get rid of stains on your teeth.
- Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite.
- Apples are made of 25 percent air, which is why they float.
“Kicking the couch to the curb and encouraging your kids to be more active can be as easy as ‘5-2-1-0,’” Medley said. “These four numbers help kids remember to eat 5 fruits and vegetables, watch 2 hours or less of TV, get 1 hour of physical activity and drink 0 sugary drinks.”