Why you should make some simple changes before heading back to school
As summer comes to a close, it’s important to get kids back on the right track as they head back to the classroom. In order to make sure your kids have the most successful and healthy school year possible, start getting them reintegrated in a scheduled lifestyle with healthy eating and exercise.
“It’s important to get your children back on a schedule at the beginning of the school year, so that their bodies and brains adjust for the year,” said Dr. Elizabeth Dang, Invasive Cardiologist, Midwest Cardiology Associates. “Their eating habits may have changed over the summer, and they may be used to snacking at the pool instead of eating three healthy meals.”
Over the summer, most children get their exercise from summer swim teams, golf, tennis and free time at the pool. Now that school is starting up again, it is crucial that kids maintain their exercise by playing outside with neighbors or taking a family bike ride on a regular basis.
Tips to Get Your Kids Back on Track
As schedules become busy and time becomes thin, healthy eating can become an afterthought rather than a priority. Follow these tips from the American Heart Association to get your kids back on the right track:
• Pack their lunch. The only way to ensure that your kids are getting all of the necessary vitamins and minerals in their diet is send them with a momapproved lunch! When packing, make sure to include all colors of the rainbow to get the best vitamin variety.
• Send a snack. If your kids jump from one activity to the next, send them with a healthy snack to enjoy before practice. This will drive them away from the unhealthy vending machines in most schools and keep them satisfied until dinner!
• Teach them early. Before your kids start making their own eating habits, teach them all about healthy eating. Make sure you are positive, realistic and following your own advice!
• Find out how they exercise. Most kids have a favorite activity or sport, and knowing your child’s could make getting them to exercise much easier!
• Eat as a family. During the school year, busier schedules make it harder to eat dinner as a family. Whenever possible, have dinner together at home to make sure your kids eat right – and enjoy the family time!
• Eat smart at restaurants. If your family schedule gets too busy and eating out is the only option, learn how to eat smart as a family. Try splitting entrée’s, stick with drinking water, be cautious of too much salad dressing and avoid buffets!
For more information, tips and recipes on healthier family eating, please visit www.heart.org/gettinghealthy and www.heart.org/gettinghealthy/healthierkids.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 4 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. To learn more or to get involved, contact the Kansas City office at 913-652-1913 or visit us at www.heart.org/KC. You can also follow us at American Heart Association – Kansas City on Facebook or @AHAKansasCity on Twitter.