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Mom and daughter shop for healthy foodsHealthy Habits Start at Home!

Resources for Parents
Start health at home with tools for family physical activity, good nutrition and eating meals together from Together Counts.

Take steps such as eating healthy meals and snacks, limiting screen-time, and playing together as a family to help build healthy habits for life! Make a commitment as a family to be active and have fun! Here are some ideas that will get families up and running towards a healthier lifestyle.

Adult and kids run in VFHY exercise event

Eat Together as a Family

Did you know? Children that share meals with their families are more likely to maintain a healthy weight. When families sit and eat together, children are more likely to eat more fruits and vegetables and choose fewer unhealthy foods. Eating together gives families time to focus on enjoying food and gives everyone a chance to talk and reflect on their day. Check out these ideas for keeping dinner healthy and meaningful!

Plan Screen-Free Days

Screen-time is any time spent in front of a screen, mostly television, computer, and smart device screens. Too much screen-time is linked to obesity as well as behavior and sleep issues, so it is important to limit screen-time at home. Set school night rules, such as only using screen-time for 30 minutes. Trade screen time for other activities such as gardening, playing board games, or playing outside. Keep TVs and computers out of the bedroom to help control screen time and ensure a good night of sleep.

Stock the kitchen with fresh fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables contain essential vitamins and nutrients that help keep families healthy. Each family member should try to get the recommended 6-9 servings each day. Try these tips for getting more fruits and vegetables:

  • Before putting away just-bought vegetables, chop them up into bite-size portions or strips. On-the-go kids want something they can grab and eat!
  • Freeze small fruits such as grapes, pomegranate seeds, orange slices or berries for a different approach to fruit that cools kids off
  • Have a household fruit or vegetable of the day and incorporate it into meals and snacks.
  • Replace unhealthy snacks with sliced fruit or veggie to be used as dippers and have dips such as low-fat dressing on-hand.
  • Purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from a farmers’ market to emphasize the importance of fresh, local foods.

Start your day with breakfast

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Did you know? 

Each morning, 40% of children skip or do not eat enough breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast gives the body the fuel needed to start the day and skipping breakfast can interfere with learning. Kids who do not eat breakfast are more likely to overeat throughout the day and make less healthy choices, which can lead to weight gain and obesity. Let kids be creative at breakfast: Offer options such as low-fat yogurt, whole-grain cereal with low-fat or fat-free milk, oatmeal or fruit to start the day off right!

Be a role model

Parents and caregivers are powerful role models for children. Be an enthusiastic participant in family activities and keep physical activities fun! Encourage children to try new physical activities and introduce them to the importance of working as a team member. One great way to do this would be to establish a Family Pledge, tailored to the family’s needs. For example, a family prone to watching hours of television can come up with a pledge to limit television time to 30 minutes in the evenings. Parents and caregivers can be the first to take the pledge and lead by example.