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Parent Tips

Helpful Hints for Parents

Help your child develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits. Start by encouraging him/her to think about food choices and physical activity habits with these tips.

  • Make healthy food choices for yourself, remember; children model their eating habits after yours.
  • Encourage children to try a variety of foods.
  • Remember children have a right not to like a food.
  • Children need food often. It is normal for children to eat 3 meals and 3 snacks a day.
  • Let children help with preparing simple foods for snacks and meals.
  • Allow them to help measure ingredients for a recipe.
  • Plan times for family meals with everyone at the table.
  • Involve each child in the conversation during the meal.
  • Never bribe or threaten children with food.
  • Encourage healthy snacks by keeping a supply of healthy choices on hand.
  • Choose activities that involve moving rather than sitting.

Work together as a family to follow 5, 2, 1, 0

5 Fruits and vegetables

  • Wash and pre-cut vegetables, bag them up so that they are ready for use when a quick snack is needed.
  • Try using peanut or almond butter and bananas as a breakfast pita pocket option. Add fresh berries when available.
  • Buy vegetables and fruits that are in season, or on sale.

2 Hours or less of screen time (TV, video games, mobile devices)

Your support is very important. As a parent or caregiver, you too can join us by reducing your time in front of the screen in support of your child's effort.

  • Talk to your family about a plan to cut down screen time and agree on a time frame that is reasonable for all of you.
  • Turn on the radio or play your favorite music and dance.
  • Get together with family and friends and develop a fun dance routine to some of your favorite songs.
  • Use your un-plugged time to vacuum, rake leaves or clean a room in your house.

Use this Screen Time Log PDF to track your family's screen time.

1 Hour or more of physical activity

Start by identifying at least three 30- minute time slots this week for activities like taking a walk, playing % or doing active chores, this will help you stick to a regular schedule.

  • Take a walk after breakfast on the weekends or after dinner each night.
  • Play tag, swim, toss a ball, jump rope, hula-hoop, dance to music or even play a dancing video game. It doesn't have to be sports – just get your family moving!
  • Walk the dog, go for a jog, go on a bike ride, take the stairs or head to the park and let kids run around for a while.
  • Train as a family for a charity walk or run.

Remember to be flexible, if a conflict comes up during physical activity time, reschedule instead of canceling. Find a new time for the activity to replace what you missed.

0 Sugar-added beverages

A 12-oz can of soda has 10 teaspoons of sugar! Do you know how many teaspoons of sugar have been added to your child's favorite beverages? Use the formula below to find out.

  1. Find the number of grams of added sugar.
  2. Divide that number by 4.
  3. This is the number of teaspoons of sugar in the drink.
    • Limit your purchase of sugary drinks.
    • Drink 100% juice without added sugar – fruit juice is sweet and tastes great on its own!
    • Choose 1% or skim milk.
    • Make water exciting! Add a slice of lemon, lime, cucumber or watermelon.
    • Try sparkling water; add a splash of 100% juice to water or sparkling water.
    • If you're having soda or juice for a treat, choose the small size.

Use this Sweetened Beverage Tracker PDF to track the number of sweetened beverages your family members are drinking.

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