Since 2010, the month of September is dedicated to National Childhood Obesity Awareness. The aim is to spread the word by promoting healthy eating and the importance of physical activity all month long (and of course beyond). Offering guidance on the types of foods kids are eating and balancing their diet with enough physical activity expenditure is key to this childhood obesity fight. Energy balance is what it is all about!
So, we challenge you and your family to join the fight against childhood obesity during the month of September. Here are some ways your family can be involved if you choose to accept the challenge:
Family Fitness Challenge – Set a physical activity goal for each member of your family. Whether it be 5 situps or 10 pushups a day, create a chart that holds everyone accountable. Let each family member select a reward (non-food!) ahead of time and the family can motivate and compete for top of the chart at the end of the month. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!
Food Taste Tests – Commit to introducing your kids to a new fruit or veggie each day or week of the month. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick them out. You never know which tasty fruit or veggie may jump to the top of their favorites list!
Post-Dinner Family Outings – Incorporate a family walk or bike ride into your nightly routine, even if it’s just a quick 10-15 minutes. These short increments can add up over time and it is a great way to catch up with each other amidst our busy schedules.
Weekend (Active)ities – Plan a fun family outing such as a hike or day at the park where you bring a healthy picnic and a soccer ball or football to play with. This is another great way to get in some bonding time while also being healthy!
Fruit for Dessert? – Each night this month, instead of that ice cream for dessert, offer the kids fruit or some variation. Eventually their taste buds may opt for this sweet treat over the ice cream (we can hope, right?). Try this tasty berry smoothie recipe for a healthy dessert alternative.
Turn off technology– Implement a nightly “no technology” rule for the month. In the evenings, put on some of the kids’ favorite tunes and have a dance party instead! We are sure that you can survive!
Spread the Word – Share your ideas and find out what others are doing this month by using #ChildObesity across social media. Also, challenge another family to commit to a month of healthy eating and physical activity promotion!
Click here for more information, ideas or resources to promote National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
Tired of packing lunches for your kids every night/morning? We have the solution for you! Enlist your eager little helpers to get involved in school lunch prep to save you time (and sanity). When kids are involved in the lunch-making process, they’re more likely to take ownership in their food choices, resulting in a higher success rate of eating it all!
Here are five helpful ways that kids can help with school lunch prep:
Plan weekly meals – To ensure success, take 15-20 minutes to plan the weeks’ meals (including lunch and snacks), create a shopping list, hit the grocery store and you’re set.
Shop with a mission – Get supplies to make 5 main lunches so the kids have options. For example, get ingredients for turkey and low-fat cheese, peanut butter & jelly on whole wheat, etc. plus fruit/veggies and other healthy snacks.
Prep and Portion Foods – Wash, cut and ration fruits and veggies into small containers ahead of time. Put other healthy snacks such as pretzels, peanuts, whole wheat crackers, etc. into baggies and store together in pantry. This will save time and offer healthy selections for the kids.
Schedule lunch prep times – Set an evening time slot for each child, where they can quickly put their lunch together. This will eliminate any potential kitchen bickering sessions between kids.
Follow up – Check the lunches to ensure they are in fact creating healthy and balanced meals. When you see that they are doing a good job, you can feel good knowing they are making healthy choices for themselves!
Giving kids the chance to decide what they feel like having for lunch AND the opportunity to pull it all together, they learn to make smart decisions and be self-sufficient. Win-win, for sure!
This time of year especially, families are on-the-go and constantly busy. Quality time spent together as a family can be challenging to find. Between homework, afterschool activities, prepping lunches, making dinner and bedtime, time is hard to come by. This is why it is so important to make time for that all-important family meal as often as possible. The time spent together becomes invaluable!
Here are 5 benefits of family mealtime:
This is a time where the kids will be minimally distracted and willing to chat. Ask them about their school day; What did they eat for lunch? Who did they play with? What activities did they partake in? This may be the only time you can get a daily recap. Here are 10 mealtime conversation starters to help you initiate that important dialogue.
Talk about some exciting things your kids would like to do and discuss what fun things everyone has coming up on the calendar, such as sporting events or birthday parties. Give them things to look forward to.
If you have little ones, start a contest to see who can eat the most veggies on their plate. Talk about the importance of eating these healthy foods. This creates a little bit of fun, friendly competition within the family and promotes healthy eating. Win-win!
This is a good time to encourage helping out around the house. If you incorporate chores into the kids routines, helping to set the table and clean up the dishes and kitchen are great ones to add to the list.
Mealtime, whether it be breakfast or dinner, offers a unique opportunity to connect in a relaxed environment while emphasizing that family time is important and valued. The table becomes a routine place where kids can expect togetherness and fun.
So, during this busy time of year, make sure to fit in some of that precious family time when you can!
What mealtime traditions does your household follow?
It’s challenging to juggle the day-to-day tasks of running a household. As the summer winds down and back to school is here, family schedules are bound to grow even busier. So, between work, school and extra-curricular activities, the best way to keep up is to maintain a structured routine when it comes to the daily grind. One of the most important things you can do to ultimately make your week less crazy, is to plan out meals for the week ahead of time. It’s tough to ensure that you’re providing healthy meals while also factoring in the time constraints during the week. So, all of this is taken into consideration when planning.
Here are some meal planning tips to organize your weekly meals to ensure less stress and even save you money:
Cut coupons – It’s worth it to look through coupons you have to help make decisions each week. If certain meats/fish or other items are on sale during a specific week, that can help you determine meals while cutting costs.
Plan your meals – Figure out what obligations or activities you have each night and plan accordingly. Select less time-consuming options such as salads, sandwiches, homemade healthy pizzas, crockpot concoctions, or even breakfast for dinner, on the busier nights.
Create your grocery list – As you set your weekly menu, jot down the items you will need to purchase at the store. Make sure to include your breakfast, snack, and lunch needs on your list.
Shop and don’t stray – Typically there will be days and times during the week where the grocery shelves are freshly stocked. This is the best time to shop! Figure out which time works best for you and don’t stray from your list!
Prepare meals ahead – Take some time during the weekend to go ahead and prep the meals (whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner) ahead of time. This makes it even easier to stick to your menu and avoid chaos at meal time.
Get some help – If your spouse has some tasty recipes, try swapping off nights so that you are not stuck cooking dinner every night. You can also recruit your little helpers to assist with meal prep as well! They love to be involved and they may be more likely to eat it.
If you stray from meal planning, you are likely to end up eating out more frequently and spending more money! So, in the end, the system is a win-win. We found a site offering some great meal planning templates. Thanks Tip Junkie for sharing these great resources! If you prefer to do everything digital, we also found these ten meal planning apps for you to try.
If you need some simple, healthy meal ideas, we offer recipes every Monday on our blog or on our Facebook and Pinterest pages.
Are you an avid meal planner? What techniques and strategies do you have to share?
It’s back to school time and rather than throwing yourself into the ensuing chaos, try these simple tips to make your back to school time a little easier.
First, here are three simple back to school tips for success:
Tip 1: Don’t wait until the last minute.
After buying school supplies, don’t wait until the night before school starts to label everything for your children. Plan ahead and pack their bags so all you need to do is grab and go on the first day of school.
Tip 2: Create a “masterpiece” wall.
Hang up your children’s favorite art and other school work. After awhile, rotate in new pieces and store the old in a file box.
Tip 3: Try on first day of school outfits ahead of time.
You don’t want clothing disagreements slowing down this busy morning!
Next, watch as Sir Rebrum talks about the importance of doing homework:
Now, make sure and download this back to school-themed coloring sheet for the kids: