Do you wish you could help your family eat healthier but feel overwhelmed by all the advice and information out there? Each seemingly contradicts the other. Do you worry about your children’s health, but are too busy with taking care of them, school, activities, work, etc., to be able to figure out and commit to the best way to make some changes? If so, there is a very easy way to help. It’s called 5210.
5-Five or more fruits and vegetables per day.
A diet rich in fruits and vegetables nourishes the body with vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber to keep the body healthy. There are easy ways to incorporate extra fruits and vegetables into your families diet. My favorite way is a smoothie. I like to make home made smoothies, and add any variety of fruits, as well as vegetables, berries, bananas, spinach, kale. For even your fussiest eaters, you can disguise those oh so healthy leafy greens in a smoothie. Add some unsweetened Greek yogurt for your protein, crushed ice and blend, it is like a milk shake, without added sugar.
2-Limit recreational screen time to two hours or less per day
Screen time, not just TV, but smart phone, tablet, computer and video games should be limited to less than 2 hours per day. Did you know the average child has 5 hours of screen time per day? This is sedentary time, and is associated with more snacking, less activity, as well as lower reading scores and attention problems. If watched in the hour before bed, it can also lead to sleep disturbances.
1-One hour or more of physical activity every day
What better way to spend all your newfound time, now that you are not watching TV? Take a walk or bike ride with your children. Turn on the music and dance, play, walk the dog. Even adding small amounts of activity over the day helps, such as parking at the farthest spot and taking stairs instead of the elevator.
0-Zero Sweetened beverages
Drink less sweetened beverages. Soda is full of sugar, and many contain caffeine, (who really wants to give their child any extra energy?). Even the seemingly innocent juice, which “contains 100% vitamin C” is full of sugar. Many juices have just as much or even more sugar than soda. (12 oz average cola has 39 grams sugar, and 24 grams sugar in 8 oz orange juice). Sports drinks contain approximately 35 grams sugar per 20 oz.
5210-Easy to remember (add it to your password list). You have 4 easy ways to help your family eat a little healthier and be a little more active.
Amy Haverty is a UTMB Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Pediatric and Adult Primary Care, Friendswood