Make it Fun to Set Good Habits

The start of the new year! Many people take this time to get healthier. Great idea! Why not make it a fun time for the whole family. Check out these tips:

1.  Enjoy good foods more often

Eat vegetables, fruits, and whole grains with meals or as snacks. Try a new yogurt dip. Make food art with colorful veggies and fruit. Get some ideas from this site: http://www.mykidsadventures.com/food-art-projects/

2.  Go food shopping together

Grocery shopping can teach your child about many things: colors, math, healthy choices, and more. Talk about where food comes from. Pick out a new veggie to try.

3.  Have fun in the kitchen

Cut food into fun and easy shapes with cookie cutters. Name a food your child helps make. Serve “Janie’s Salad” or “Jackie’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner. Invent a new snack. Make up your own trail mix from dry whole-grain, low-sugar cereal and dried fruit.

4.  Offer the same foods at meal time

Stop being a “short-order cook” by making different dishes to keep kids happy. As a family, on weekends pick the meals for the week. Pick fun themes, like Finger Food Night.

5.  Plan for great table talk

Talk about fun and happy things at mealtime. Turn off the television. Take phone calls later. Take turns thinking of questions to ask at the meal. Write out some questions ahead.

6.  Limit screen time

Allow no more than 2 hours a day of screen time like TV and computer games. Have a puzzle out on a table. Play a game after dinner. Get up and move during commercials to get some physical activity.

7.  Make activity fun

Have your child be part of the planning. Walk, run, and play with your child—instead of sitting on the sidelines. Set an example by being active and using safety gear, like bike helmets.

8.  Inspire your family in good habits

Try new foods yourself. Describe its taste, how it feels, and how it smells. Talk at dinner about new good choices you are making. Celebrate as a family when you reach small steps in your goals. Use your phones to challenge each other. Check out this app: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/

Adapted from USDA, www.ChooseMyPlate.gov “Be a Healthy Role Model for Children”.

Take small steps and make it fun to live healthier. For more ideas, contact Four Corners Health Department at 877-337-3573; www.fourcorners.ne.gov; info@fourcorners.ne.gov. Have a safe and healthy year!