Good food habits and daily physical activity are a way to a healthy life. Our busy lifestyles can be hard on our health. Rushing to and from school and work can make it hard to find time to be physically active. We can also slip into the habit of choosing unhealthy snacks and take-away foods or spending our free time watching TV or in front of the computer.
However, these choices can be dangerous for our health and our children’s health, now and in the long-term. That’s why it’s important to stop, take stock and make a conscious decision to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Follow these simple ways for your family to lead a healthy lifestyle and get back on track:
Get active each day: Regular physical activity is important for the healthy growth, development and well-being of kids and teens. They should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day, including vigorous activities that make them ‘huff and puff.’ Parents should be good role models and have a positive attitude to being active.
Choose water as a drink: Water is the best way to quench your thirst and it doesn’t come with the added sugar found in soft drinks, fruit juice drinks and other sweetened drinks. Reduced fat milk for children over two years of age is a nutritious drink and a great source of calcium. Give kids and teens whole fruit to eat, rather than offering fruit juices, which contain less fibre.
Eat more fruit and vegetables: Eating fruit and vegetables every day helps kids and teens grow and develop, boost their vitality and can reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. Aim to eat two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. (This varies for boys and girls at different ages). Have fresh fruit available as a convenient snack and try to include fruit and veggies in every meal.
Switch off the TV or computer and get active: Sedentary or ‘still’ time spent watching TV, surfing online or playing computer games is linked to kids becoming overweight or obese. Kids and teens should spend no more than two hours a day on ‘small screen’ entertainment. Plan a range of active indoor and outdoor games or activities for your children, as alternatives to watching TV or playing on the computer.
Eat fewer snacks and select healthier alternatives: Healthy snacks help kids and teens meet their daily nutritional needs. Snacks based on fruit and vegetables, reduced fat dairy products and whole grains are the healthiest choices. Avoid snacks that are high in sugar or saturated fats such as chips, cakes and chocolate, which can cause children to put on excess weight.