Tips, Tools and Activities
What is special about the month of February? It is unique because it is the shortest month of the year! Continue to have weekly family huddles to discuss your health goals. Remember that every day is another opportunity to try something new. Keep creating, sharing and discussing healthy goals for the entire home! Write down your goals and post in a common area of the home to serve as a daily reminder and celebrate your successes.
Eating fruits and vegetables that are in season may come easier during the summer and early fall months, but as temperatures drop in the winter, it may be more difficult. For most of the United States, the growing season stretches from spring through fall, and we can see what foods are in season by looking for sales at the grocery store or shopping at the farmer’s market. Eating seasonally is a way to save money! We can choose fruits and vegetables that are in season all year long, even in the winter. Though maybe not locally grown, foods in season during the winter include bananas, oranges, grapefruit, brussels sprouts, carrots, kale, beets, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash and more!
Quality sleep can help keep families healthier, especially this month! Cold and flu season is at it’s highest in February, and sleep keeps immune systems strong and ready to fight off illness. What does getting enough sleep look like? The National Sleep Foundation recommends these ranges based on different age groups:
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
- School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
Play Every Day
Keep finding new ways to exercise your bodies and your imaginations. Try building a family fort this month! This is an activity that can be done inside or out and allows family members to use their creative and physical attributes to build and play. If your fort is indoors, you can use blankets, pillows, chairs, etc. If youâ€™re outdoors, you may use additional building materials or perhaps there is snow on the ground! You can draw up family fort plans first or jump right into the work. Whether your family plays inside or outside this month, make it a fun, physical activity, and learning experience for the whole family.
Q: We find it difficult to try new foods in our home. What can we do?
A: Introducing new, healthier foods to the family table can be hard, especially when kids are young. Eating meals together can make a big difference, so try to have family meals as often as possible. Place1-2 familiar foods on the plates along with 1 new â€œfoodâ€ for everyone to taste. That way the new food isnâ€™t overwhelming and the family can have a relaxed meal time. Start a conversation at the table, and discuss the new foodâ€”how it feels, the way it smells and what it looks like! Using all the senses when experiencing different foods will help get everyone more comfortable with tasting new foods that eventually can become a regular component of meals.