September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as children and families (re)start their school-year routines, it’s the perfect time to reflect and refresh your family’s habits. As we've mentioned before, total well-being is about balancing nutrition and physical activity. For kids and adults alike, the best way to get and stay healthy is to eat food that's good for you and to ensure you're getting enough exercise! The Y is offering more tips to help families in our Central Florida communities incorporate healthier activities into your daily life, and we encourage you to share these tips with everyone in your household.
Eat and Drink Healthy
Be sure everyone is getting enough water, especially kids. Keep in mind that the more active your child is, the more water they should drink on a daily basis. Living in the hot Florida climate is another reason to ensure your child has enough water throughout the day. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and keep make sure your child has a water bottle in their backpack whenever they're on the go. If you need a break from drinking water, check out Chef Gary's recent blog with foods your family can eat to stay hydrated! While "eating" your water won't replace drinking it, it can be a great way for kids to get replenished.
Along with getting enough water, make sure each entrée has one or two healthier sides. Everyone should be encouraged to fill at least half their plates with fruits and vegetables. Offering two or three colorful choices can help make eating fruits and veggies more fun for the kids. Your family can also make it more of a game to get children involved by choosing a new fruit and veggie to try together each week. Chef Gary, our Director of Healthy Eating, has also published a variety of healthy recipes with options for breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, snacks, and more!
Play Every Day/Go Outside
Children should have at least one hour a day of unstructured play outside if possible. This means your child should break a sweat at least three times a week with 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. At the Y, we offer a variety of exciting options for kids to stay active! Our Youth Sports program provides opportunities for kids to enjoy sports year-round. Your child can also splash around and stay fit by participating in one of our recreational swim teams. For physical activity your family can enjoy together, you can also participate in group exercise classes!
Reduce Recreational Screen Time
Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone, or videogame should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e. turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10–12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.