Promote Healthiness to Your Children: How to Cut Down on Junk Food
Childhood obesity is on the rise. Not only can this compromise your children's health when they are young, it can also have repercussions as they grow into adulthood. To help your children achieve life-long good health, start with these easy ways to introduce healthy habits into their daily lives.
1. Start with a healthy breakfast. Studies show that a breakfast that is low in sugar and high in protein can give your child an energy boost that will last throughout the whole morning. Having breakfast has also been proven to enhance school performance.
2. Cut down on junk food and offer healthy snacks throughout the day. Have some cut up vegetables and fruit in your refrigerator instead of stocking your pantry with chips and candy. Other easy snack ideas include whole grain crackers with cheese or peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, light popcorn, baked chips and low-fat dip, nuts, granola bars, and raisins.
3. Watch out for high sugar beverages. Soda and fruit drinks are loaded with sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Instead offer water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juices. Children under the age of six should limit their juice intake to less than one cup a day. Older children should only have 1-1/2 to 2 cups of juice per day.
4. Limit screen time to less than two hours each day. This includes using the computer, playing video games, and watching television. Studies have shown that as screen time increases, so does the risk of obesity. Set a schedule for television and video game times. You may also want to use a timer, so your kids know how much time they are allowed each day.
5. Get moving. You can encourage your child to participate in organized sports, but this is not the only way to get enough exercise. Daily play outdoors, riding a bike, playing tag, or walking the dog are all ways to increase your child's activity level. Doing physical activity every day will help your child manage his or her weight easily and has been shown to help reduce stress levels. Researchers have found that adults who were more active as children have a lower risk of several metabolic diseases, including diabetes later in life.
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