Steps to a Healthier Student
Below are steps to healthy eating and exercise for your children and family
Health & Trends Facing Children Today
Life Style Risk Factors
- The fast food industry spends $3 million per HOUR on advertising!
- Our children are overfed BUT undernourished. Kids can be thin, yet at risk for health issues now and later in life due to poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. It's not just about obesity.
- The average screen time (t.v., computers, I-pods, cell phones) for school age kids is 4 12 hours versus the recommended 1-2 hours daily.
- Health risks include:
- decreased academic achievement, diabetes (type 2), heat disease, high blood pressure, strokes, cancers, osteoporosis, asthma, dental problems, psychosocial problems, and increasing future health costs.
Remember to always stress that it is normal to have a variety of body types, and some obesity is complicated by heredity. We do not want to stress being thin or dieting, --- but instead model and promote healthy living!
- 14% of 2-5 year olds are overweight
- 19% of 6-11 year olds are overweight
- 17% of 11-17 year olds are overweight
What Can Families Do?
- 60% of overweight children have one risk factor for heat disease
- 25% of obese children have 2 risk factors for heart diseases
- 1 out of 3 six year olds will develop type 2 diabetes in their lifetime (not to be confused with type 1 diabetes that is not related to lifestyle)
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- Try to take small steps forward to provide nutritious foods at home. It is not about dieting, but eating the needed amounts of nutritious foods to promote good health for your family.
- Eat together as a family whenever possible. This can be a challenge!
- Eat 5 (or more) fresh fruits and vegetables daily - cut up raw veggies and fruit so that it is available for snacking instead of junk food.
- Try to get as a family out for simple activities like walking, playing ball, biking or anything that gets the body moving!
Parents Guide to Snacking
Snacking has become a way of life for both adults and children. A recent study reported that over 95 percent of the women and children in this country have at least one snack each day.
Many common snack foods are high in fat, sugar and sodium. If these foods are used for snacks frequently, they can affect our health.
Snacks can be good for us if we make good choices. Children especially may benefit from healthy snacks. They often cannot eat enough at three meals a day to satisfy their hunger and provide all of the nutrients they need. Snacks can provide the additional foods they need.
Simple Healthy Snack Ideas
- Plan snacks as a part of the day's food plan.
- When shopping, let children help pick out fruits, vegetables, and cheeses for snacks. They will be more interested in eating these foods if they have been involved in selecting them.
- Set aside a "snack spot" in the refrigerator and cupboard; keep it stocked with nutritious ready-to-eat snacks.
- Offer snacks at regular times, such as midmorning and mid-afternoon. Don't let children nibble constantly during the day.
- Avoid high sugar, fatty and salty snacks, such as candy and soda pop.
- Snacks are a good way to introduce new foods. Include a game or activity to learn about the new food and let the child help fix it.
- Plan snacks to help meet the suggested number of servings per day from the Food Guide Pyramid: 6 to 11 servings from the breads, cereal, rice and pasta group; 3 to 5 servings from the vegetable group; 2 to 4 servings from the fruit group; 2 to 3 servings from the milk, cheese and yogurt group; and 2 to 3 servings meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and dry beans group.
- Never offer food as a reward for good behavior.
Supplying School Snacks
- Raw vegetables, such as celery, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, green pepper, green beans, cucumbers, mushrooms or zucchini may be served with a low-fat dip.
- Fresh fruit in season, cut in slices or halves, such as apples, oranges, bananas, peaches, grapefruit, grapes, melons, pears, plums or strawberries.
- Low-fat quick breads and muffins, such as pumpkin, zucchini, banana or bran.
- Non-sugared cereals, snack mixes made with popcorn and whole grain cereal.
- Low-fat yogurt with fresh, frozen or canned fruit.
- Shakes with low-fat milk or yogurt and fruit.
- Unsweetened fruit juices.
Sending snacks and treats to school can be challenging. Items to consider include:
Examples of Nutritious Snacks Your Children can eat at School:
- Choose foods that will benefit the children nutritionally.
- Consider food safety. Foods that need to be kept cold should be stored in thermal containers with cooler packs.
- Remember time is precious in school so ease of serving, consuming and clean up of snack should be considered to assist the teacher.
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- String Cheese
- Hard-boiled Eggs
- Sunflower Seeds
- Cheese Cubes
- Unsweetened Dry Cereal
- Trail mix
- 100% Fruit Juice
- Fresh Fruit
- Fruit Cups
- Pita Bread
- Graham Crackers
- Low Fat Crackers
- Animal Crackers
- Vegetable Juice
- Fresh Vegetables
- Dried Fruit
Seven Ways to Size Up Your Servings
Nutritious Diet Daily Servings
- 3 oz. of meat = thickness of a deck of playing cards
- Medium apple = size of a tennis ball
- 1 oz. of cheese = size of 4 stacked dice
- 1/2 cup of ice cream = size of a tennis ball
- 1 cup mashed potatoes or broccoli = size of your fist
- 1 teaspoon of butter = size of the tip of your thumb
- 1 oz. of nuts = one handful
2-4 servings from the Milk Group for calcium
2-3 servings from the Meal Group for iron
3-5 servings from the Vegetable Group for vitamin A
2-4 servings from the Fruit Group for vitamin C
6-11 servings from the Grain Group for fiber
Variety and Moderation in your Diet
Too much of a good thing is not a good thing.
- Keep a variety of healthy foods on hand.
- Eat fruits, vegetables, whole-grain and low-fat dairy products, lean meats, and dry beans
- Limit the amount of high fat and high sugar foods
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- Use age appropriate servings sizes
- Pay close attention to portions when you eat out
- If eating for reasons other than hunger, distract yourself with another activity
Exercise Tips for School Age Children
Walk, dance, play...be active every day! Tips for you and your child:
Be Active EVERY DAY!
- Be a good example. If your kids see you being active and having fun, they will want to be active, too.
- Do active things together as a family. Play together outside, throw a ball, or just take a walk.
- Encourage your children to play actively at home, at school, and with friends. Suggest jumping rope, playing tag, playing ball, playing actively at recess, or riding a bike or scooter.
- Ask your child's teacher about after-school sports programs or community leagues. Prescott offers a variety of activities though PCR (Prescott Community Recreation). Offer to help out at practices. Walk around the field or gym instead of sitting in the bleachers while your child plays.
- Kids and adults should limit television watching, computer and video games, and other inactive forms of play.
Children and adults should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Try to be active for at least 10-20 minutes at a time.
Why be active with your child? Physical activity...
Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
Help manage weight
Lowers risk for certain diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.
Makes you fell good about yourself
Eat Well to be Active
Children and adults need energy to be physically active. See above nutritious daily diet servings.
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