It's a weighty issue. One out of every three kids
in America is overweight. A lack of healthy eating habits combined
with lower activity levels has left many of our kids with extra
pounds. How can we make a difference in our kids' health when we
only see them a few times a week? Nutritional consultant Cassi
Freed shared some tips and tricks to getting and keeping kids
active and healthy.
Snack-Time Switches-Eating well is a major part
of healthy living, but when it comes to snack time, it's far too
easy to grab some soda and cheap, sugary munchies and have it
quickly all ready to go. Check what kind of snacks you're giving
the kids, and see if they contain any fruits or veggies. Freed
suggests "sneaking" the good stuff in. A side salad might not
excite kids, but you could consider adding a vegetable or two in a
sauce that you're preparing.
Lose the Labels-Another trick is to stop
calling healthy food "good" and junk food "bad." Freed explains
that many kids enter a rebellious phase, and during that time, they
may turn to "bad" foods. Instead of saying what's good or bad,
explain to kids the benefits of eating certain types of food. By
explaining why what they eat is good instead of just saying it,
you'll help keep kids on the right track.
Table Talk-Freed explains that one of the most
important things to do to help kids get active and healthy is to
reach their parents. If the parents demonstrate healthy habits,
kids are more likely to do so as well. One major, but simple, way
to equip your parents is to give them something to talk about at
dinner. Supply a list of discussion questions that will help build
conversations, and ask parents to use them during dinner with their
kids.. Not only will families be eating healthier, but they will be
growing closer together.
Participate in Play-What better way to get kids
active than playtime? Consider joining or starting a church league
sport for your kids to participate in. If you have unstructured
playtime before or after class, make sure to join in. Not only will
you be a role model, but you can help get kids sitting on the wall
up and active. Here are
10 active indoor games to get you started.
New Class-Freed also suggests that those
leaders who have time consider starting a new class on healthy
habits or integrating it into their current curriculum. One program
Freed recommends is The Food Friends. With fun characters that
teach kids about new foods and ways to get active, this material
helps kids make changes that will impact their health for life.
Let us know what you think! Should children's leaders and
volunteers be worried about kids' health, or are we stepping into
the parents' territory? What are some ways you encourage a healthy
and active lifestyle for kids? Do any of your kids worry about body
image? We want to hear from you-leave us a comment below.