January is Family Fit Lifestyle month, and at Children’s Aid we take pride in our history of supporting the health and wellness of children and families. Across our community centers and community schools, we encourage healthy eating, regular physical activity, and strong parental involvement. Through Go!Healthy, our fitness and nutrition program, we also provide quality nutrition education and cooking skills for children of all ages that encourages youth and their families to be leaders in health. Here are a few of our tips on how you can help your family make healthy choices all year long:
Make all foods look festive.
Don’t wait until a celebration comes around to make your dishes stand out. You can make your foods extra scrumptious by adding a few nuts or seeds, or by cutting your vegetables into fun shapes. A little splash of color goes a long way, so try jazzing up a dish with some slices of seasonal fruit or a sprinkle of green onions or herbs. Also, kids can make excellent sous-chefs, so invite them to help you prep your meals.
Toast your good health.
Quench your thirst with water or seltzer. Add some flavor by adding slices of lemon, lime, citrus, or other juicy fruits to your glass. Add 100% fruit juice for a celebratory twist.
Keep meals simple.
Eating a homemade meal doesn’t have to be complicated! Make your family meals quick, simple, and healthy by looking for opportunities to use leftovers and food you already have at home. Have some leftover rice? Add fresh or frozen veggies to it to make a fun stir-fry.
Eat together, without the television.
Pay attention to your meal and your family while you eat! Children learn so much from sitting around the table and spending quality time with friends and family. It’s a great chance to talk about what a healthy meal looks like and to help children identify the ingredients that were used to make their favorite dishes. Children are spending more time in front of a screen due to remote learning, and dinnertime can be a great opportunity to step away and bond. These strategies will not only teach your kids about their food, but will also help build their vocabulary! Plus, research suggests that children eat less soda and chips when they do not take their family meals in front of the television..
Make exercise part of your family fun.
Being physically active makes everyone feel good. Your child may not have a daily commute or play time at the park to keep them moving. Dancing, playing active games, and going for a walk after dinner are great ways to help everyone stay active!
For more healthy tips and recipes, join the Go!Healthy Facebook group at www.facebook.com/groups/CASGoHealthy. For more information about Go!Healthy programming, reach out to Food and Nutrition Director Whitney Reuling.