Tips, Tools and Activities
Families on a tight budget cite the cost of healthy groceries as their biggest barrier to making healthy meals at home. With the right skills, shopping for and preparing healthy food doesn't have to break the bank. Cooking Matters is a free program that helps families learn to shop and cook healthy meals on a budget. More than 80 percent of adult Cooking Matters graduates say they learned to use key food budgeting strategies, such as planning meals ahead of time, comparing prices at the store, or shopping with a list. Find more resources at cookingmatters.org.
As summer vacation comes to an end and children head back to school, parents should be thinking about how to pack healthy lunches their child will actually want to eat! With different (and often unhealthy) options at school, it's critical that grown-ups play a role in what their child eats throughout the day. Make sure to involve your children in the meal planning process. Sit down with them, review the school lunch menu and decide if and when they will be bringing or purchasing lunch. For the most part, bringing food from home is the healthiest option, but for some this may be difficult to do every day. If a child buys lunch, make sure to encourage the healthier options. The sooner your family starts planning the better. Check out more tips for healthy back-to-school lunches.
Play Every Day
Play time and physical activity shouldn't be limited to recess or the gym. Try incorporating games and activities into different parts of the day to ensure you and your family are getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. Take a family bike ride before dinner or a walk together after a meal. During long periods of sitting, such as a car ride, encourage frequent stops for a few minutes of play time. Remember grown-ups, our children mimic our actions and choices, so get out there and move more as a family.
Q: It's difficult to get my son to eat breakfast before going to school. Is it okay for him to skip? Are there ways to get him to eat breakfast?
A:Breakfast is an extremely important meal. A healthy breakfast fuels the body and gets you ready for the day. It's proven that children and teens that eat breakfast tend to have more energy, do better in school and eat healthier throughout the day. Definitely make sure your child eats something in the mornings. A good way to encourage a healthy breakfast is to involve the entire family in planning the meal. Provide several healthy options to choose from as opposed to just putting food down and hoping it will be eaten. Try getting your morning routines started earlier so you all have extra time to eat breakfast without feeling rushed. Also, sit down and eat breakfast with your child. You'll not only set a good example, but also make it a fun, shared experience.
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