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Raising Fit Kids: Healthy Nurtition, Exercise, and Weight

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Food: Plan Ahead continued...

Plan for your habits.  If you tend to grab something at the drive-through when you're in a rush, try carrying healthier fast food.

Now’s the time for that trail mix or those snack bars to come to the rescue. Fruits and vegetables are also portable and fast. They’re fast and high-fiber, so they will fill you up longer than a lot of processed snacks like chips, says Crandall. When you get home from the store, wash veggies like snap peas or cherry tomatoes and pack them in to-go baggies. Have them instead of fries when you’re craving crunch to avoid unhealthy saturated fats.

Make family favorites healthier. At the store, look for lean meat. When buying ground beef, look for more than 93% lean. Brown that for your spaghetti sauce and serve it on whole wheat pasta. There are lots of ways to slim down family favorites.

Have some non-dinner dinners. Do your children have a late practice or rehearsal? Plan quick dinners for those days, like a wrap, salad, or meatless burrito with beans, a whole wheat tortilla, and low-fat cheese.

Or let lean chili or soup simmer during the day in a slow cooker, so it will be ready when you come home. "You don't have to always eat dinner food for dinner," Crandall says. "An omelet with bell peppers, mushrooms, onion, and low-fat cheese and whole wheat toast is a healthy quick fix."

Make meals your kids can help with. Whether they're setting the table, dicing vegetables for dinner, or helping you make snack bars or trail mix, kids can share the workload. And they'll be more interested in eating foods they help prepare. When you get the whole family involved in your new healthy eating habits, you’re benefiting their fitness, too.

Exercise: Think Small

"Finding time to exercise is one of the biggest challenges for parents," says Kerri Boutelle PhD, professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.

Remember: There are small things you can incorporate in your day and get your kids involved. Help them learn that exercise doesn’t have to be a chore. Moving and being active should be a normal, fun part of life.

 

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