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Creating a Healthier Home in the New Year

Did you know that kids who eat healthy and are active do better in school?

The National PTA says, “Studies have shown that children's physical well-being has a significant effect on their learning and long-term success. When children are well-nourished and physically fit, they are more ready to learn.” (source)

So what can you do at home to make sure your child’s ready to learn?

Healthy Eating at Home
Healthy eating means understanding your child’s nutrition needs and planning accordingly. It’s not easy, but you can do it. Here are a few tips:

  • ChooseMyPlate.gov will help you learn about fruits, grains, vegetables, proteins, and dairy, and the role each plays in well-rounded meals.
  • Learn about empty calories, and try to steer your family towards foods that aren’t filled with them.
  • Plan meals in advance to resist the need to hit the drive-thru midweek.
  • Save high calorie (high temptation) foods for special occasions; don’t keep them in the house all the time.
  • Choose healthy snacks like fruit, veggies, pita, yogurt, nuts or trail mix. Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Invite your child to plan meals with you.
  • Include your child in grocery shopping trips.
  • Invite your child to cook with you.

Active Living as a Family
Living an active lifestyle makes your body — and your child’s — stronger by building strong bones, muscles, and joints. (source) And researches have even linked physical fitness with better school attendance and fewer disciplinary problems. (source)

“Active living” might sound like something that’s far from your family’s reach, but every little bit helps. Here are some ideas:

  • Take family walks or bike rides after dinner or on the weekends.
  • Play Frisbee, catch, or soccer together.
  • Enjoy the trails at one of Missouri’s amazing State Parks.
  • Invest in a family membership at a community or civic center, health club, or the YMCA.
  • Limit screen time (TV, computer, video games, etc.) to 1-2 hours per day — for your kids and for yourself.
  • Say “yes” the next time your son or daughter asks you to play a game, visit a local park, or do another physical activity.
  • Plan (and then plant) a spring garden together. 
  • Encourage your child to try a youth sport or other organized physical activity. If team sports don’t interest your child, try dance, martial arts, or yoga.

“Youth are 65% more likely to join organized physical activities when encouraged by their parents,” according to health.gov. (source)

Active lifestyle and a healthy diet can help your child succeed in school in 2014. Do you have healthy resources you’d like to share with other Missouri parents? Leave a comment and a link today!








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