Our pediatricians, nurse practitioners, and staff at 24/7 Pediatric Care Center are excited to be promoting 24/7 Healthy Habits, our activity-based program for the whole family. The goal of the program is the prevention of obesity. We focus on teaching our young families to become more active and helping kids learn to make healthy choices.
We know you’re often busy and pressed for time. That’s why we suggest small changes that can make a big difference.
Tips for Healthier Eating Choices
1. Teach your children that, like a car, our bodies need the right kind of fuel. If they are hungry they should choose healthy foods for fuel, not unhealthy ones like cookies and chips.
2. Use good portion control habits:
- Your kids should listen to their bodies’ cues on feeling full rather than cleaning their plate.
- Start with a small serving; offer seconds if asked.
- Use small plates and glasses. This really works!
- Encourage eating slowly so that the body has time to register fullness.
- Put portions on a separate plate; avoid eating out of a bag or box.
- Share dishes while eating out. This saves money and calories!
- Eat half; take half home in a go-box when eating out.
3. Pack a family snack bag:
- Make a family snack bag part of your daily routine. Use a fun portable container and pack it with healthy snacks like low-fat cheese sticks, grapes and air-popped popcorn. When the kids are hungry, they should know their snacks will come from the family snack bag.
- Make sure to fill each family member’s refillable water bottle when on the go.
Fun Ways to Be Active
Children love to play! Here are some tips to take advantage of the kids’ gift for play to encourage more exercise. Join in and bring out your “inner child!”
- Plan on weekly family bike rides to a favored neighborhood destination – the Red Box movie machine, breakfast spot or local park.
- Dance! Play the music on your phone or radio and let loose with the kids while cooking a meal. Or instead of watching TV, use your hairbrush as a “microphone”; dance and sing along with their favorites.
- Walk the dog together with the kids. Every member of the family, both human and canine, will enjoy it.
- Count steps. Have the kids use their pedometer from the 24/7 Health Habits program. Reward those with the most steps with small, non-food prizes.
Medical Experts Agree: Small Changes Can Make a Difference
The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Sandra G. Hassink, M.D., suggests making one or two of these changes part of your regular routine to start, and then adding more over time. Kids are more likely to stick to these new habits if the whole family is involved, so make it a team effort. “This is not just about your one child,” Dr. Hassink said. “This is about the whole family moving toward a healthier lifestyle.”