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10 Tips to Healthy Eating and Physical Activity for Kids

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport

  1. Start your day with breakfast.
    Breakfast fills your "empty tank" to get you going after a long night without food. And it can help you do better in school. Easy to prepare breakfasts include cold cereal with fruit and low-fat milk, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter, yogurt with fruit, whole-grain waffles or even last night's pizza!

  2. Get Moving!
    It's easy to fit physical activities into your daily routine. Walk, bike or jog to see friends. Take a 10-minute activity break every hour while you read, do homework or watch TV. Climb stairs instead of taking an escalator or elevator. Try to do these things for a total of 30 minutes every day.

  3. Snack smart.
    Snacks are a great way to refuel. Choose snacks from different food groups - a glass of low-fat milk and a few graham crackers, an apple or celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins, or some dry cereal. If you eat smart at other meals, cookies, chips and candy are OK for occasional snacking.

  4. Work up a sweat.
    Vigorous work-outs - when you're breathing hard and sweating - help your heart pump better, give you more energy and help you look and feel best. Start with a warm-up that stretches your muscles. Include 20 minutes of aerobic activity, such as running, jogging, or dancing. Follow-up with activities that help make you stronger such as push-ups or lifting weights. Then cool-down with more stretching and deep breathing.

  5. Balance your food choices - don't eat too much of any one thing.
    You don't have to give up foods like hamburgers, french fries and ice cream to eat healthy. You just have to be smart about how often and how much of them you eat. Your body needs nutrients like protein, carbohydrates, fat and many different vitamins and minerals such as vitamins C and A, iron and calcium from a variety of foods. Balancing food choices from the Food Guide Pyramid and checking out the Nutrition Facts Panel on food labels will help you get all these nutrients.

  6. Get fit with friends or family.
    Being active is much more fun with friends or family. Encourage others to join you and plan one special physical activity event, like a bike ride or hiking, with a group each week.

  7. Eat more grains, fruits and vegetables.
    These foods give you carbohydrates for energy, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber. Besides, they taste good! Try breads such as whole-wheat, bagels and pita. Spaghetti and oatmeal are also in the grain group.

    Bananas, strawberries and melons are some great tasting fruits. Try vegetables raw, on a sandwich or salad.

  8. Join in physical activities at school.
    Whether you take a physical education class or do other physical activities at school, such as intramural sports, structures activities are a sure way to feel good, look good and stay physically fit.

  9. Foods aren't good or bad.
    A healthy eating style is like a puzzle with many parts. Each part -- or food -- is different. Some foods may have more fat, sugar or salt while others may have more vitamins or fiber. There is a place for all these foods. What makes a diet good or bad is how foods fit together. Balancing your choices is important. Fit in a higher-fat food, like pepperoni pizza, at dinner by choosing lower-fat foods at other meals. And don't forget about moderation. If two pieces of pizza fill you up, you don't need a third.

  10. Make healthy eating and physical activities fun!
    Take advantage of physical activities you and your friends enjoy doing together and eat the foods you like. Be adventurous - try new sports, games and other activities as well as new foods. You'll grow stronger, play longer, and look and feel better! Set realistic goals - don't try changing too much at once.

The Food Guide Pyramid

Kid's Food Pyramid

Food Guide Pyramid is a practical tool to help you make food choices that are consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Using the Pyramid enables you to eat a variety of foods daily so that you can get the nutrients you need.

To make the most of the Pyramid, you need to know what counts as a serving.

Food Group Serving Size
Vegetable 1 cup raw, leafy vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked or chopped raw vegetables or 3/4 cup vegetable juice
Bread 1 slice bread, 1/2 bagel or English muffin, 1 ounce ready-to-eat cereal, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice or pasta, or 5-6 small crackers
Fruit 1 medium piece of fruit, 1/2 cup mixed fruit or 3/4 cup fruit juice
Milk 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1-1/2 ounces natural cheese or 2 ounces process cheese
Meat 2-3 ounces cooked lean meat, poultry or fish (about the size of a deck of cards.) Other foods which count as 1 ounce meat; 1/2 cup cooked dry beans, 1 egg, 2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1/2 cup nuts

The Kids Activity Pyramid

The Kid's Activity Pyramid

Each week you can have fun and be active by trying the following things...

With Friends: -Dance to music
-Play games like tag and hopscotch
-Join a sports team at school or the park

With Family: -Go on a walk together
-Play at the park
-Turn off the TV for a day

By Yourself: -Fly a kite
-Do cartwheels, somersaults, or jumping jacks
-Practice sports skills

What's Your Nutrition and Physical Activity I.Q.?

Can you fill in the blanks to find these secrets to healthy eating and physical activity?

1. Eat from the five food groups every day. These include a) ??, cereals and grains, b) fruits, c) vegetables, d) milk, yogurt and cheese and e) ?? And proteins.
2. Do moderate physical activities for ?? minutes daily.
3. Eat ?? to get going in the morning.
4. Vigorous activities make you ?? and breathe hard.
5. Eat a ?? of foods every day.
6. Take a 10 minute ?? break every hour while you read, ?? or do homework.
7. Smart ?? are just what you need if you get hungry between meals.
8. Be sure to ?? your muscles before and after work-outs.
9. Use the ?? Facts Panel and the Food ?? Pyramid to help you balance food choices.
10. Keep ?? to stay in shape.

1. a) breads e) meats
2. 30
3. Breakfast
4. Sweat
5. Variety
6. Activity, watch tv
7. Snacks
8. Stretch
9. Nutrition, Guide
10. Moving

If you Want to Know More:

For additional information about food and nutrition, or a reference to a registered dietitian (R.D.) In your area, call the ADA's National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics (NCND) Consumer Nutrition Hot Line (800/366-1655).

For more information about improving your physical activity level, write the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport at the address below.

The American Dietetic Association
National Center for Nutrition and Dietetics
216 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60606-6995

International Food Information Council Foundation
1100 Connecticut Avenue, N.W.
Suite 430
Washington, DC 20036

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
HHH Building, Room 738 H
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201

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