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Growing Strong and Healthy at Home

By Sarah Ransom

With busy schedules, it’s often a challenge to find time to plan meals, feed the family and still get our to-do lists completed.
The simplicity of fast-food and microwavable meals has grown because they are convenient.
Children are often the ones paying the greatest price by lacking nutrients their bodies need to grow and develop properly. A great way to help solve this challenge is to create a home environment that is full of healthy grab-n-go items. The question is how to make healthier food options available with limited time?
Below are some basic suggestions and ideas that may help create and maintain a better environment at home.

Organize your Food
The foods that are most

easily accessible are the ones that will be eaten. Place fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and milk, water or natural juices in easy to grab spots.
Place easy-to-grab items on the most viable shelves in the refrigerator and cabinets, store fruit in bowls on the table or counter, and use clear storage containers for leftovers.
At the same time, place less healthy options in less convenient locations! When we’re
looking for something convenient, whatever is on-hand and readily accessible will be what’s grabbed and eaten.
For more ways to make healthier items more readily accessible read the article, listed below, which talks about ways to stretch the dollar and remain healthy while on the go!

Start small
Only purchase healthy foods you know will be eaten. Gradually introduce more exotic foods or different textures and tastes. The lasting changes will happen over time, little by little. Slowly replace unhealthy snacks with more nutrient-rich snacks that fill those cravings. (Grode & Henderson, 2009) Lasting changes will happen in incremental steps and over a period of time.

Eat together
Eating together is a great way to not only build strong and healthy bodies, but it’s also a way of using role-modeling in a positive sense. If children see a parent, siblings or friends eating what has been prepared, they will be more inclined to try it. Make eating together fun, so everyone wants to get in on the action! For more information on home meal planning read the article below.

Hit the road
Take a family walk through the neighborhood or through a local park. Physical activity is a great way to boost a

healthy environment.
While many healthy changes can be made through our food choices, physical
activity should not be left out. Take 30 minutes a day to do some fun physical activity.
According to Harvard (2012), physical activity can be anything from relays in the yard, walking, stair climbing, swimming, sports, etc. find something the family will enjoy and get active together.
Be sure to provide positive encouragement for their efforts, which will help create lasting lifestyle changes.

Sources Used: Grode, G., & Henderson, K. (2009). Ten ways to create a healthy food environment at home.
http://www.yaleruddcenter.org/resources/upload/docs/press/ruddnews/GrodeHendersonWLS2.pdf

Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center. (2012).
Physical activity: Tips and information.
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/prc/files/2012/11/physical_activity_tip_sheet.pdf