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Growing up in the 21st century often seems to be more about iPads, junk food and computer games than the great outdoors and being active, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
As parents we all want the best for our children and getting them off the sofa, eating well and actually moving is key to this.
As there is less time, and resources, at school for PE and games, this is falling more at the feet of families but that is no bad thing. As well as being great fun it is also the chance to spend quality time together and bond.
We have put together some easy steps so you and your family can get fit and healthy.
Eat a Variety of Foods
We hear it all the time but it is vital that you and your family eat a well balanced diet so you body has the nutrients it needs to work well. Cut down and processed foods, take-aways and try to cook from scratch when you can. If you prepare meals together and eat together, this can really help promote healthy attitudes and patterns. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, this can include:
At breakfast chop four large strawberries on porridge or have a vitamin rich green smoothie
Include six baby carrots, slices of red pepper and a banana in lunch boxes
Snack on an apple, some nuts or blueberries
At dinner include broccoli (about 2 big spears), a cup of salad, or a serving of peas and sweet corn.
Drink the healthy way
Try to limit fizzy drinks, juices and squashes as they adds calories and no real or important nutrients.
When you’re really thirsty, water is the best option. Not only does it stop you feeling thirty, it prevents you from feeling light headed and keeps your organs, including your brain, healthily
Children also need calcium to build strong bones, and milk, cheese and yogurt are good diary options and leafy greens, seafood and legumes are also calcium sources.
Listen to your body
Some parents might think about this but it is key to talk to children about what it feels like to be full. Don’t make it an issue but do point out how your tummy feels when it is comfortably full and when it is too full. Sometimes, children and adults don’t know when to stop eating and over time this can lead to health problems including weight gain.
Limit screen time
This term that is banded around a lot, but does it actually mean? Quite simply screen time is the amount of time spent watching TV or DVDs, playing video games and using a smart phone, tablet or a computer. The more time you spend sitting-down doing these activities, the less time you are being active doing things basketball, bike riding and swimming. Try to reduced screen time, not counting computer use related to school and educational activities, and look at other ways to spend time together.
Whilst getting your offspring out of the house might feel like a struggle, it is well worth the battle. We all know how hard to can be to go back to the gym after a break, and it can be just the same for children. Find something that is relatively easy to pick up, that is fun and where you can offer encouragement. Go to the park for a run around, join a local football team, try a trampoline park or go for a bike ride together? The more you do it, the more they will enjoy it and want to take part.
Active family holidays where you are walking, cycling or boating are not only good for all of you but also create fun memories that will last forever.
Being a fit, healthy family opens up many choices for all of you and will hopefully lead to a long, healthy and happy life together.