By Eliz Greene
More and more schools are addressing the problem of childhood obesity with increased activity and better food choices, but here’s the problem. What happens when kids leave the structure of school for the summer?
They gain weight according to a recent study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Gone are the days of our childhood, when we were sent out of the house in the morning to play in the neighborhood and returned for meals. We live in a different world — yet, our kids need to be active.
Here are some tips to keep your kids healthy this summer:
Skip the soda. Kids need water, and lots of it. Soda, powdered drink mixes, and juices add calories your kids don’t need and have trouble burning off. If your kids don’t like water, try adding a splash of 100% juice or juice flavored ice cubes. If your kids are active outside on days warmer than 90 degrees you might consider giving them a sports drink — but they don’t need the added calories or sodium otherwise.
Structure when they eat. Eat at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Limit snacking to once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Snacks should be small and include fresh fruits and vegetables when possible.
Limit TV time. One or two hours of television or computer/video game time per day is plenty.
Plan something active. Everyday make sure your kids are moving for about an hour. This can be split into two 30 minute sessions or three 15 minute sessions. Walking the dog, mowing the lawn, cleaning up around the house are all good ways the kids can help and be active at the same time. Don’t forget about fun games like tag or even playing in the sprinkler. Simply playing at the playground or shooting baskets can get them moving.
Keep out the junk. If the chips aren’t in the house, the kids won’t eat them. Fill your cupboards and fridge with healthy snack choices.
Of course, all of these tricks will help parent stay healthy this summer too!
Eliz Greene is a heart attack survivor, author and nationally known speaker on a mission to encourage women to recognize heart disease as their most serious health threat and provide down-to-earth strategies for active and healthy lives. Learn more about Eliz and the Embrace Your Heart Wellness Initiative at www.EmbraceYourHeart.com
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