Big Thicket Messenger - Local News
Stories Added - September 2008
Copyright 2008 - Polk County Publishing Company

Encourage exercise
Big Thicket Messenger - September 2008

Going to school forces children off the couch and helps them set a regular eating schedule.

Parents should use the new school year as an opportunity to encourage extra exercise, whether through clubs or sports, and healthier eating. Here are some ways that parents can help their children enjoy a healthier new school year.

Get off to a good start. Breakfast helps fuel young bodies and minds.

Studies show that breakfast improves academic performance and energy levels and helps children receive adequate nutrition.

A balanced breakfast should include carbohydrates, like grain or fruit, and protein. If your child likes cereal, find a brand that contains 100% whole grains.

Other healthy choices include fruit smoothies, 100% whole grain toast with peanut butter and oatmeal.

Encourage your child to drink fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.

Teach your child to pack his own lunch. Children enjoy eating foods that they prepare themselves, so involve your child in planting and packing his own lunch.

Make healthy lunches fun. Use cookie-cutters to design cat-shaped sandwiches and include hummus, nut butters or yogurt for dipping sliced fruits and vegetables.

Make sure that your child’s lunch includes grain, protein and produce.

Think ahead for snack time. Have easy-to-prepare healthy snacks ready at home.

Clean and slice fresh fruits and vegetables early in the week, then store them in the fridge.

Keep whole-grain crackers, crisp breads or rice cakes on hand. Unsweetened applesauce, which comes in individual cups, provides a healthy option that most children can serve themselves.

Stay active after dinner. Instead of watching television in the evenings, plan a physical activity. Taking the dog for a walk, going to the park, playing ball in the backyard or holding bowling parties.

For more information, visit www.win.niddk..gov or call 1-877-946-4627.









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