Jennifer Bateman, Ph.D.
National Vice President, Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Every day after school, and especially throughout the summer months, children and teens need an environment that helps encourage and maintain healthy eating habits, engagement in sports and fitness activities, and opportunities for positive relationship building — all fueling their mind, body and soul.
Check out these five proven tips to craft a game plan for your family’s healthy lifestyle this summer and throughout the year.
1. Eat meals at home
Learn about the food you eat. Make smart food choices, understand appropriate portion sizes, and create fun and healthy meals your entire family will enjoy. While it’s easy and convenient to eat at a diner or fast food restaurant, most food they offer comes in larger portions than the recommended serving size and don’t support a healthy diet. Search the internet for beginner recipes and take it one dish at a time.
2. Tackle a team sport
Step away from traditional activities like treadmill running or jogging on the elliptical. Instead, get friends and family together for some group fitness. Join a softball league, play a game of “capture the flag” or do anything to get active.
3. Surround yourself with positivity
A positive environment will help make the most positive impact for your family. Let friends and family know about the changes you’re making and ask for their support. By creating a positive peer culture and supportive environment, you’ll be taking steps to stay on a track to help keep your family healthy.
4. Stay hydrated
Our bodies are about two-thirds water. Never let yourself or your kids become dehydrated. You need plenty of fluids so your body can function properly. It’s recommended that you consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day.
5. Create a daily challenge
Jump rope, jumping jacks or pushups — challenge your kids and yourself to a new fitness goal each day and stick to it. Add 5 or 10 more minutes to each activity and see how much you can accomplish together.