At the Childhood-HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) Center, we work with children, adolescents, and their families to establish healthy lifestyle habits they can maintain for a lifetime. By guiding the patient and their family to make changes together, the impact can affect the health of everyone in the home and make it easier to establish healthy lifestyle habits. Here are a few changes you can make as a family:
- Be active together. After school or dinner or on weekends, take a walk, go for a bike ride, visit a local park, play Frisbee or soccer in the yard, go for a hike, walk the dog, put on music and dance, play volleyball with a balloon (indoors or out), play GoNoodle.com.
- Try new foods together…healthy ones. Try a new fruit or vegetable, a food from another country, a healthier way to prepare a family favorite.
- Create a healthy environment. Keep healthy snack choices readily accessible, give gifts that promote healthy lifestyles, limit less healthy food and beverage choices (don’t keep them around all the time), have a “who takes the most steps in a day” challenge, turn off electronic distractions during mealtime and eat at the table together.
- Don’t reward with food. Reward good behavior or accomplishments with non-food rewards, such as privileges, outings, stickers, activity-based toys.
- Include fruits and non-starchy vegetables at every meal. Add fruit to whole grain cereal or pancakes for breakfast, include vegetables in a sandwich or wrap at lunch, choose fruit for snacking, and make ½ your plate vegetables or fruits and vegetables at dinner.
- Limit screen time. Instead of watching TV or playing video games, play outside, do a craft, play a board game, create an obstacle course, play hide and seek.
- Choose water. Keep water readily accessible, give each family member their own water bottle to refill, buy fewer sweetened beverages, try infusing water with fruit (fresh or frozen) and keep a pitcher of it in the refrigerator.
If you have a child with the diagnosis of overweight or obesity (or are concerned they might be) and would like to schedule an appointment at the Childhood-HEAL Center, please call 778-KIDS. Our team would love to meet you!