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Project EAT aims to provide parents and caretakers with information and tools to facilitate behavior change in their homes, so that they can create environments that support fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.
To involve the entire family, Harvest of the Month parent newsletters are delivered to the school site for distribution during the week of produce delivery. The newsletter, printed in Spanish and English, takes Harvest of the Month from school to the home, allowing students and their families to share the experience. Each newsletter contains general nutrition information and tips for selecting, storing and serving the featured produce item to encourage healthy food choices and increase fruit and vegetable consumption. A Harvest of the Month recipe and ideas for engaging in physical activity are also included to provide families with tools to engage in celebrating the season.
So what else can families do at home to create healthy and active home environments? Here are some things you can start doing right away!
Eat More Fruits and Veggies
All color of fruits and vegetables help you maintain a healthy weight instead of empty calories. Kids and adults need 4 to 5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day. Be sure to eat a vegetable at each meal and go for fresh fruit or veggie sticks for snacks. Try incorporating more fruits and veggies into new healthy recipes for meals for your family.
Snack More on Healthy Foods and Less on Junk Foods
Keep junk food out of the house so kids and adults aren’t tempted to eat too much of them. Plan ahead – stock the refrigerator with healthy snacks.
Eating breakfast is essential to your whole family’s health! A healthy breakfast helps adults think better at work and helps students learn better in school. Breakfast also helps keep people from overeating later on in the day. Make your breakfast count!
Cut Down Consumption of Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages
Sugar-sweetened beverages should be limited to rare occasions. Drinking milk with meals and water with snacks is a healthy habit for your whole family. . 100% fruit juice is okay, but because it’s high in calories, limit intake to 6 ounces a day.
Eating together gives parents the opportunity to role model healthy eating; ensure their kids are eating nutritious foods and introduce new foods to kids. Make a commitment to eat at least one meal together each day.
Be a Mindful Eater
The key to being a mindful eater is listening to your body. Eat when you are hungry, but stop when you begin to feel full.
Turn off the TV and get moving, play with your kids, ride a bike, go for a walk, or hike. The entire family can toss a softball, jump rope, hula hoop, toss a Frisbee or play in the park.
Start a Family Garden
Starting a family garden is a wonderful way to provide healthy, fresh food for your table. Your entire family can be involved in designing, planting and maintaining your garden. Don't let a lack of gardening knowledge stand in your way — check out these tips for beginners from UC Davis on Growing Your Own Food and start digging!
Adapted from the Healthy Students At Home Guide, produced by CanDo - The Coalition of Activity and Nutrition to Defeat Obesity /University of Colorado Health