Kids’ Health: Fitness & Nutrition Resource Guide
Good health is important at any age, including for kids. Although kids often have energy and strength due to their youth, they need to safeguard this vitality to ensure that it remains. Instilling positive fitness and nutrition habits during childhood may be the key to a lifetime of good health. Teach kids valuable lessons about nutrition and fitness to show them the many benefits associated with this lifestyle.
Good nutrition doesn’t always happen without an effort. It can be easy to choose processed and prepared foods to satisfy hunger. While these foods usually taste delicious and appeal to kids, they usually lack the nutrients people need for optimal health. By focusing a family’s diet on whole foods and home-cooked meals, nutrition usually improves for everyone. Instill these healthy habits during childhood and they may last a lifetime.
- Cook More Often at Home: Making the effort to prepare meals at home can be an effective way to encourage the family to eat healthier. Meals cooked at home are usually less expensive and more nutritious.
- Happy, Healthy Eating for Kids: Teach kids to “eat the rainbow,” adding plentiful fruits and vegetables of many beautiful colors to their diets.
- Nutrition for the School-Aged Child (PDF): Kids need to have snacks between meals to keep them energized. Choose healthy snack items such as homemade popcorn, baked tortilla chips, low-fat yogurt with fruit, or apple slices with peanut butter.
- Is Dieting OK for Kids? Kids usually don’t have the need for dieting the way adults might because they are still growing. If a child is overweight, consult a physician for help making dietary and lifestyle adjustments.
- Breakfast Every Day (PDF): Kids who eat breakfast often have the preparation they need to approach school with a positive attitude and abundant energy.
- Kids Get Cooking (PDF): Invite kids into the kitchen to involve them in healthy meal preparation. Choose simple recipes to give children experience making meals.
- Child Nutrition: Strive to make half of a child’s plate of food fruits or vegetables. Offer milk or water to drink instead of beverages that contain sugar.
- Nutrition Facts: Read the Label (PDF): Nutrition labels on foods can be confusing, but begin teaching children how to decipher them. Show kids how to look for calorie counts, serving sizes, and the types of fats present in foods.
- Snacks That Count (PDF): Snacks can be both healthy and filling to keep kids satisfied between meals. A chili bean dip for vegetable-dipping would provide good protein.
- Five Simple Steps to Success: Try keeping a bowl of fresh fruit on a table or counter so kids can help themselves to fruit when they are hungry.
- The Food Guide Pyramid: Snacks with whole grains can be both healthful and filling. Serve cereal, graham crackers, or air-popped popcorn when kids are hungry.
- Nutrition and the Health of Young People: Serving children a nutritious diet may help them avoid chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes later in life.
- Child Nutrition: As you serve healthy foods and model good nutrition, you train your child to follow this type of lifestyle.
- Choose Healthy Fats: Healthy fats can be beneficial in moderation. Look for omega-3 fats and monounsaturated fats to add healthy fats to the diet.
Everyone needs daily exercise to maintain good health, including both children and adults. While adults often choose fitness activities such as running or cycling, kids can get the exercise they need just by actively having fun. A simple excursion to the park for an hour of running, jumping, and climbing on playground equipment will satisfy children’s exercise needs for the day. Teach kids that fitness equals fun by incorporating active play into every day.
- Physical Activity: Most people, including both adults and kids, do not get the recommended amount of physical activity every day. Instituting a healthy lifestyle during childhood might help it carry through into adulthood.
- Developing Healthy Habits in Young Athletes Is a WIN! Show kids that a healthy diet can help give them the energy they need to be strong and successful in sports.
- Active Children and Adolescents: Kids who engage in regular exercise are usually stronger and healthier.
- Prevent Childhood Obesity: Get Your Kids Moving! More kids are experiencing weight issues, but regular exercise can help eliminate this national epidemic.
- Fit and Active Facts (PDF): Just running and jumping on a playground can give children the exercise they need to stay fit and healthy.
- Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight: Adults and kids can incorporate exercise into a daily routine by walking instead of driving to run errands or making sure that the dog gets a walk every day.
- Physical Activity May Prevent Substance Abuse: Daily exercise helps stimulate the brain, which can enhance the mood. This stimulation may even help people battle depression, which could reduce the incidence of addiction.
- Healthy Habits for Life (PDF): Make exercise and physical activity fun so kids will naturally want to keep moving every day.
- Move More for Schoolchildren: Kids who exercise for at least one hour everyday might perform better at school and sleep better at night.
- Why Physical Activity Is Important: Kids who engage in regular physical activity might feel better about themselves, and they can feel proud of their accomplishments.
- Let’s Get Moving! Physical Activity for Young Children: Limit television and electronics time to encourage kids to choose active play outdoors instead.
- Exercise Before School May Reduce ADHD Symptoms in Kids: Sitting still and paying attention in school can be challenging for any child. A little physical activity at the start of the day may help improve attentiveness, especially for kids with ADHD.
- Exercise for a Healthier Life: Encouraging Physical Activity in Children With Down Syndrome: Children with intellectual disabilities can benefit from regular physical activity, which may help eliminate obesity.
- How Much Physical Activity and Sleep Do Children and Teens Need? Experts recommend a minimum of one hour of physical activity every day for kids. Kids between the ages of 5 and 12 need between 10 and 11 hours of sleep each night.
- Physical Activity for Children: The recommended 60 minutes of daily exercise need not occur all at one time. It’s also beneficial to break exercise up into smaller increments.
- The Kids’ Activity Pyramid (PDF): Active play outdoors can include games like tag or chase. Jumping rope and dancing to music are also effective ways for kids to exercise.
- Physical Activity Guidelines for Children (PDF): Involve the whole family in regular exercise to combine family togetherness with physical activity.
Activities, Worksheets, and Additional Resources
Build on health and fitness lessons by turning to the Internet. The Web is an excellent resource for information about healthful living. You can find suggestions for fun ways to exercise as a family. Plentiful worksheets, lesson plans, and coloring pages are also available to help you teach your children about healthy living.
- Indoor Physical Activity Ideas for Kids! (PDF): When the weather is bad, stay indoors and exercise instead. Dancing to music, playing hide and seek, or playing charades are just a few examples of active indoor play.
- Get 60 Minutes: Walking to and from school will help get a child’s 60 minutes of physical activity in each day.
- Spinach Worksheets (PDF): Introduce kids to the benefits of spinach with engaging worksheets and coloring pages.
- Wintertime Food and Fitness (PDF): Just because it’s cold outside does not mean you cannot venture outdoors for fun and exercise. Unscramble words to discover suggestions for winter outdoor activities.
- Empowering Kids to Choose (PDF): Give kids a “My Plate” coloring page to help them learn how to incorporate fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and protein into every meal.
- Breakfast for Frances (PDF): Use this lesson plan to teach kids about the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast every day.
- Vegetables Worksheets (PDF): Kids may shy away from vegetables, but you may be able to entice children to eat them if you help them learn about various vegetables.
- Learning About Nutrition (PDF): Use worksheets to help teach children about nutrition and making healthy food choices.
- Healthy and Unhealthy Fats Go for the Good! (PDF): This lesson plan includes a variety of ideas for incorporating fun exercise into daily routines.
- Nutrition Label Worksheet (PDF): Teach about nutrition labels with a worksheet that asks specific questions about information presented in a sample label.
- Food Power (PDF): A balanced plate with foods from all of the food groups is the optimal way to ensure adequate nutrition.
- Fairfax Dentists: Dentists in Fairfax can provide comprehensive care for patients of all ages.
- Fairfax Dentistry: General dentistry includes preventative care to help patients maintain healthy teeth.
- Cosmetic Dentistry: Cosmetic dentistry can be the solution for various dental imperfections.