We're spending more time at home to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus
that causes COVID-19. But
that's made it easy for families to fall out of normal routines. Relaxed schedules,
more screen time, changes in access to food, and no regular recess or gym class can
add up to unhealthy weight gain and reduced fitness.
So, what can you do to help your family stay healthy? Here are some tips to keep
everyone active and eating well.
Is Snacking OK?
Healthy snacks can help manage
hunger and boost nutrition. An occasional treat is fine, but serve good-for-you snacks
most of the time.
Set regular meal and snack times to avoid all-day grazing. Serve 3 meals and 1
to 2 scheduled snacks each day. When it's time to eat, have kids sit at the table
and not in front of a screen. This way, kids are focused on the food in front of them
and less likely to overeat.
What Should I Serve?
Make your home a healthy food zone. Put the focus on:
fruits and vegetables. Fresh is great, but frozen or canned fruit
and veggies are good options, especially when you want to limit trips to the grocery
store. Just choose ones with no added salt, sugar, syrups, or sauces.
whole grains, such as whole-grain bread, brown rice, quinoa,
and whole-wheat pasta
foods high in protein, such as lean meats, dried or canned beans,
eggs, and peanut butter
What Kinds of Food Should We Avoid?
Chips, cookies, and ice cream are OK once in a while, but not every day. Keep junk
food and treats out of the house so your kids are not tempted.
Save sugary drinks, like soda, juice, sports
drinks, and sweet teas for special times. Offer water and milk instead.
Packaged foods and prepared meals are convenient, but can be high in fat, sugar,
and calories. Check food labels and choose the healthier options.
How Active Should Kids Be?
Encourage your kids to be
active for least 30 minutes each day. Whenever possible, let them go outside and
play. Go for a walk, run, bike
ride, or play sports like soccer, basketball, or whiffle ball together as a family.
Remember to keep at least 6
feet from people you don't live with when you are out. Kids over 2 years old and
adults should wear a mask
or cloth face covering if they can't stay apart from others. Children
under 2 years old should not wear a mask.
On cold or rainy days, look for ways for kids to be active inside. Try dancing,
yoga, exercise videos, apps, or online classes.
How Much Sleep Do Kids Need?
Getting enough sleep has many health benefits, and helps kids keep a healthy weight.
Help your kids get to bed on time and wake up at the same time every day. Skip daytime
naps for older kids, and turn off all screens at least 1 hour before bed.
Sleep needs vary from child
to child. But try for: