AS SCHOOL YEAR STARTS, REFRESH HEALTHY HABITS
September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as children and families start their new school-year routines, it’s a perfect time to reflect and refresh your family’s healthy habits. As families settle into new school-year routines this month, the YMCA of Greater Houston is offering tips to help families incorporate healthy eating and physical activity into their lives.
- Eat & Drink Healthy: Make water the drink of choice and encourage everyone to fill half their plates with fruits and vegetables by offering two or three colorful options at every meal. As a family, choose a new fruit and veggie every week to taste together. Place a full pitcher of water on the table during meals and allow children to pour their own water. Keep full water bottles available in the car and backpacks.
- Play Every Day/Go Outside: Children should have at least an hour a day of unstructured play outside (when possible) and break a sweat at least three times a week by getting 20 minutes or more of vigorous physical activity. Join your children in games that get your hearts pumping and bodies moving. You can also check out our year-round swimming lessons and youth sports leagues.
- Get Together: Eat as a family as frequently as possible. Involve kids in meal planning, preparation and clean-up. In addition, adults should take a break from electronics and spend one-to-one time each day with their kids, enjoying one another’s company.
- Reduce Recreational Screen Time: Time spent in front of a television, computer, tablet, cell phone or video games should be limited to two hours or less per day. Make a family plan to reduce screen time at home (i.e., turn off screens during meals, charge electronics/screens in the kitchen overnight, go for a walk after a meal, and set a timer to remind you to power down the screen).
- Sleep Well: Kids and adults need to keep a regular sleep schedule; unwind together in the evenings by reading a book or listening to soft music to ensure the body is preparing for sleep. Kids are growing and need 10-12 hours of healthy sleep per night and seven to eight hours for adults.
The YMCA offers programs to keep kids active and engaged, including swimming classes for kids, after-school programs, soccer, basketball, volleyball, flag football, pickleball and more. For more information on how your family can live a healthy, active life, with the support of the YMCA visit our website.