A Fun, Healthful Approach To Summer Vacation

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By Kindall Aaron, Coordinator of ETCH’s Childhood Obesity Coalition

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Summer vacation from school can lead to some long days at home, and when there’s idle time, your children may turn toward the pantry to snack.

You can help keep your children healthy by providing fresh and nutritious foods to snack on and by encouraging physical activity as much as possible.

There are many creative and delicious ways to encourage healthy snacking.

  • To reduce cost, buy fruits and vegetables within the season. Some great summer choices are watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, blueberries, tomatoes and peppers.
  • Chop vegetables into small pieces for children when they’re trying something new.
  • Provide dips like hummus, peanut butter or yogurt for fruits and vegetables.
  • Pair low-fat cheese with cucumber slices, grape tomatoes, carrot sticks or pepper strips.
  • Freeze grapes or bananas for a sweet treat.
  • Encourage your children to play with their food. Build cars and faces out of fruits and vegetables or cut them into fun shapes.
  • Drink water instead of sugar-sweetened beverages. Add fresh oranges, lemons, limes, strawberries, cucumbers or herbs to your water.

Your child should get 60 minutes of physical activity every day. So rather than allowing them to turn on the television, suggest some activities like playing outside, running, walking, or biking. If they do watch television, encourage them to do exercises during commercial breaks like jumping jacks.

You can help keep your children healthy by providing fresh and nutritious foods to snack on and by encouraging physical activity as much as possible.

If you hear “I’m bored,” make these suggestions:

  • Play team sports like basketball, baseball, soccer, tennis, flag football or kickball.
  • Practice jump rope. Challenge friends to see how many times you can jump in a row or how many jumps you can do in a minute.
  • Go swimming.
  • Play in the sprinkler, blow bubbles or go on a nature scavenger hunt in your backyard.
  • Healthy habits can be fun. Make it a family affair this summer to encourage your children toward a healthy lifestyle for the future.

Visit www.etch.com for more information.

 

Kindall Aaron is coordinator of East Tennessee Children’s Hospital’s Childhood Obesity Coalition, which is tasked with improving the health of children by reducing the incidence of childhood oETCH-Web3besity.

 

 

 

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