Start the day right. Research has shown that children who eat breakfast perform better in school and have better concentration and more energy than their breakfast-skipping peers. In fact, children who eat breakfast are generally in better health overall. The morning meal is a great opportunity to focus on nutrients that may fall by the wayside the rest of the day, like fiber, calcium, and vitamin D. Building well-balanced breakfasts does not have to be time-consuming; for example, try offering a slice of whole grain toast with peanut butter, half a banana, and a glass of milk.
Be a role model at mealtime. Eat together when possible, and try to set a good example for kids by filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choosing lower-sodium options, making at least half your grains whole grains, and choosing water or low-fat milk over sugary drinks or juices. If after-school hours are busy and there is no time to cook, try to prepare larger batches of nutritious meals on the weekend and reheat during the week.
Don’t give up. Try not to be discouraged by children’s picky eating or reluctance to try new foods. It often takes 8 to 15 tastes of a new food before a child will willingly eat it. Rather than forcing healthy foods, simply continue to offer them and keep food conversations as positive as possible. Teach kids about the foods their bodies need to grow. Also, try preparing foods differently. For example, if a child once refused steamed broccoli, he or she may like it raw with a little veggie dip. Finally, encourage children to help with the planning, washing, cutting, mixing, and/or preparation of meals. Kids who are involved in preparing foods may be more willing to try them.
As the annual fundraising event for the San Marcos Runners Club, the proceeds from the Country Roads 10K & Kids Run support SMRC projects and activities promoting exercise, fitness and healthy lifestyles in our community.
Try these twists on classics (courtesy of Parenting.com):
Gather a few stuffed animals, crank up some tunes, and boogie until one observer (Mom or Dad) pauses the music. Dancers must freeze, and if anyone budges before you start the music again, he must pick a stuffed "dance partner." Keep dancing (and pausing) until all the animals are in play. Then, when someone moves, he must take an animal from an opponent. Dance until one person has all the animals or you're wiped out!
Catch with a catch
Have each player toss a beach ball into the air and try to touch his nose or high-five the other players before the balls drop. Make the challenges harder as you go along.
Throw a dance party! Crank up the radio, or for a a younger crowd check out a free Pandora kids' station. You can even youtube KidzBop channels for continuous play. Take turns leading! Kids will love coming up with silly new moves for you to mirror.
Check out GoNoodle, a free website where teachers and parents can find short, fun "movement break" videos for students and children. Categories include stretching, free movement, coordination, kinesthetic learning, sports and exercise, and guided dancing (including Zumba® Kids!) It's easy to sign up, easy to navigate, and perfect for small spaces. Kids' can "favorite" the video activities they like best to do them again and again.