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New Year’s resolutions for kids!

New Year’s resolutions for kids!
By Alyssa Rolnick, RD

Alyssa RolnickEverybody’s talking about how kids these days are more inactive and overweight than ever. This year, it might be a good idea to set out a few healthy New Year's Resolutions for the whole family. Consider making this a tradition and have your kids come up with some resolutions of their own. This way everyone in the family can hold each other accountable. Here are some resolutions you may suggest to your children to think about for the new year.

I will try one new food a month It is important for children to have a healthy relationship with food, so encourage them to enjoy a variety of foods. My boys love coming to the grocery store with me and having a chance to choose a new food (mostly vegetables and fruit) they would like to try. On one trip to the store, my eldest son chose little red potatoes like the ones he tried at a restaurant one time, while my younger son is on a quest to try every kind of pear there is. One dinner, try lightly steamed sugar snap peas – they’re fun to eat – and at another meal try brown rice instead of white rice along with our delicious baked turkey meatballs.

I will eat more of my favourite vegetables and fruit Most people, especially children, don’t eat enough vegetables and fruit. This usually suggests that they are eating less nutritious food choices. With the high-fibre content and amount of vitamins and minerals that they provide, vegetables should be apart of every meal, and fresh fruit should be eaten as snacks and desserts. Trying adding avocado slices to deli or cheese sandwiches. Or pile on the cooked broccoli, peppers or spinach on pizza. Enjoy our baked cinnamon pears with oat topping recipe for a family treat or try our kids’ green salad recipe for a school lunch surprise. Instead of lettuce, there are green grapes and celery and other green goodies that your kids will enjoy.

I will switch pop for more milk and water Cutting back or eliminating soda pop, fruity drinks, and even fruit juices, can be a good way to get rid of a lot of extra calories and leave room for your kids to eat more nutritious foods. I serve only milk or water with meals and save 100% fruit juices just for snacks in moderation. Keep in mind that one serving of juice for a 1 to 6 year old is 4 to 6 ounces (125 mL to 200 mL) each day and for children over 7 years is 8 to 12 ounces (250 mL to 325 mL). Because soda pop has no nutritional value, try to persuade your children (as well as your whole family) to only drink it occasionally.

I will jump and play outside more often Try putting maximum 2-hour limits on the amount of screen time (from TV, computers and video games) and encourage your children to get up and move more often. A recent study showed that for every hour watching TV, children consumed 167 extra calories – usually foods advertised on TV. As my boys are early risers, they love helping their Dad shovel the driveway on a snowy morning before sitting down to breakfast. If your kids are more indoorsy, have the whole family work on household chores together or turn on some music and dance or play the game of “freeze.”

Health Check™ 

Look for the Heart&Stroke Health Check™ symbol on food products when shopping and on menus when dining out. It is the only food information program in Canada based on Canada’s Food Guide and approved by the Foundation’s dietitians. It’s one important way the Foundation is helping Canadians eat well.

Posted December 2008

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