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5 Ways to Keep Kids Active and Healthy

Blog 8.15fixedIt'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.

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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.

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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. 

Posted at 13:22

2 Comments:

Cathy Bodell said...
In the children's church class I teach, I have many children with learning disabilities due to poor health and diet, a couple of them have autism, and one is even under a doctor's care because he is overweight and his whole family has heart disease. So, yes, I absolutely think church leaders and teachers should do all they can to set the example of healthy eating and taking care of our bodies, God's temple. I try to do it to support what some of the parents are trying to do at home, but sometimes they have expressed that they feel sabotaged when their children are given an unhealthy lunch at school, and also when they come to a church meal and there are no healthy choices. We have started encouraging our families to bring juice and soy milk for church potlucks and, whenever I use a video during children's church, our snack is low salt, whole grain popcorn and unsweetened apple juice.
August 15, 2012 04:01
David (author) said...
Cathy- Thanks for your comments! It sounds like your kids have some great parents. Helmut- Thank you too. I'll try to skip the canned fruit next time!
August 16, 2012 08:49

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