Not only is exercise essential for a child’s good health, but what they put in their body can also have lasting effects. As parents, we can give them the push they need to start eating healthy by purchasing quality foods instead of the sugar-laden processed foods that are too readily available every time our children turn around. Encourage your child to eat healthy by providing delicious snacks like these:
* Fruit Dip: Mix one cup low-fat sour cream and two tablespoons each brown sugar and lime juice; sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Thread fruit onto skewers; serve with the dip.
* Cheesy Chex Mix: Toss 3 cups Chex cereal, two cups mini pretzels and one cup cheese crackers with 3/4 cup grated Parmesan, 1/2 stick melted butter and a pinch of garlic powder. Spread on a baking sheet and bake 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Toss and allow to cool.
* Caramel Popcorn: Melt 1/3 cup butter with 1 tablespoon honey and a pinch of salt. Toss with twelve cups popcorn and one cup pecans. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes at 325 degrees. Toss and allow to cool. My mother always had tins of caramel popcorn in the garage when I grew up. I find caramel popcorn highly addictive: sugar plus crunch. What’s not to love?
* Pita Nachos: Split a whole-wheat pita into two rounds, then cut into wedges. Broil until golden, then sprinkle with grated cheddar and salsa and broil until the cheese melts.
The alarming statistics of childhood obesity are continually on the rise, which makes it more important than ever to talk to your children about exercise and good health. Too many kids stay indoors with their eyes glued to the television screen and a video game controller in their hands. The outdoor activities you can participate in with your child are endless, including…
1.Baseball. What boy doesn’t like baseball? (Girls too!) Then why not buy your child a ball and bat and head outdoors for a little one-on-one batting practice? Children as young as five can learn to play T-ball, and the benefits to this sport are plentiful, including hand-eye coordination, balance, teamwork, and leadership.
2.Bicycling. In addition to being lots of fun, bicycle riding is also a great form of exercise. Kids can start on a three-wheel tricycle as young as two years of age. For safety reasons, it’s recommended that kids not ride multi-speed bikes, mountain bikes, or bikes with hand brakes until the age of nine. A few of the numerous physical advantages to bicycling include strength, balance, cardiovascular fitness, and weight management.
3. Walking. Yes, as simple as it sounds, walking is one of the best forms of exercise for both kids and adults, and the benefits are endless – balance, leg strength, weight control, coordination, and not to mention it makes for wonderful family bonding time.
4. Other- we have one friend who rents bounce houses just so her kids can exercise on the weekends…. she says the bounce house doubles as a babysitter while she weeds her garden. Get creative!