Let’s Go Central Coast

Helping kids and families eat healthy,
be active, and make better choices every day.

For Kids

5

Aim for 5 fruits and vegetables every day.  Even 100 percent juice does not have the benefits of eating a single piece of fruit or vegetable. Juice does have much more sugar than a piece of fruit or vegetable.  Fruit is an easy snack.

Photo of fruits and vegetables

Try these healthy tips:

  • Add berries to sweeten cereal or oatmeal
  • Try carrots with hummus dip
  • Make fruit kabobs
  • Make celery sticks with almond butter and raisins
  • Use nonfat yogurt as a dip for fruit as dessert
  • Freeze grapes for a cool summer snack
  • Add vegetables like carrots or zucchini to pasta sauce

2

Keep recreational screen time to 2 hours or less every day. Toss the remote. Play catch instead. Americans between the ages of 2 and 17 spend an average of 19 hours and 40 minutes watching TV each week.  Although quiet time for reading and homework is fine, limit the time your children watch television, play video games, or surf the web to no more than two hours per day. Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not recommend television viewing for children age 2 or younger.

What is Screen Time?

  • TV
  • Computer
  • Video games
  • Hand-held devices such as Gameboys, Nabi's, iPads, etc.

Why Limit Screen Time?

Too much screen time can lead to problems! When you are spending time in front of a screen you are most likely not being physically active, and physical activity is important to maintain health. When you view more than just two hours each day, you are more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult.

Watching TV is also associated with increased snacking because you are more likely to pay attention to the screen than your body’s signals.

Limiting screen time helps to avoid the commercials and advertisements that too often influence you to make unhealthy choices. Often foods that are advertised during kids’ TV programs are high in fat or high in sugar.

Unfortunately, most of the media you are exposed to does not show what people are like in the real world. Characters on TV are often shown with unrealistic bodies. Girls are shown too thin and boys are shown with larger-than-life muscles. Images are also edited on the computer to erase flaws and imperfections.

How do I Do This?

Instead of spending time in front of a screen do something active.

Get going by trying one of these fun outdoor activities.

  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Walking a dog
  • Swimming
  • Rollerblading
  • Basketball
  • Cycling
  • Playing tag

There are many activities that you can do indoors too!

  • Dance to your favorite music
  • Stretch
  • Jump rope
  • Sit-ups
  • Push-ups

Drawing of kids jumping rope

1

Include at least 1 hour or more of active play every day.  Be a Healthy Hero! Give the TV a break, go outside and play!  Active play is fun and important for your child’s health. Active kids will likely become active adults and remember that children imitate adults. Start adding physical activity to your daily routine.

Activity helps our bodies in many ways.

  • It helps to build muscle
  • It helps build bone strength
  • It helps manage body weight
  • Lowers the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
  • It can reduce stress and put a smile on our faces

Activity helps our bodies in many ways.

  • Basketball
  • Bicycling
  • Dancing
  • Inline skating
  • Soccer
  • Swimming
  • Tennis
  • Walking a pet
  • Jogging
  • Jumping rope
  • Running
  • Hula hooping
  • Playing tag

0

Skip sugar sweetened beverages, drink more water every day.  Life is sweet enough without soda. Americans eat almost 100 pounds of sugar each year. To have that much sugar in your diet, you would have to have about 26 teaspoons of sugar each day. That may sound like a lot of sugar, but you’d be surprised at how much sugar is in some top-selling fruit drinks and sodas.  What does it take to reach 26 teaspoons of sugarz

Beverages with sugar content

A popular 20 ounce cola has 17 teaspoons of sugar. If there are 17 teaspoons in just one bottle it would not take very many of these drinks to reach 26 teaspoons. How many teaspoons are in your favorite drinks?

It is important to limit sugar to manage body weight, lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and maintain healthy teeth. Next time you’re looking for a fruity drink, try adding a slice of your favorite fruit to water to add some flavor without all the sugar.

Kids (aged two to 10) should drink water and 1 percent or fat-free white milk instead of sugar-sweetened drinks and whole milk.

  • Soda, sport drinks, chocolate milk and juice have a lot of sugar, which adds empty calories.
  • Sugary drinks lead to tooth decay and end up replacing milk in children's diets. Skim or 1 percent white milk is best for kids.

 

Plus

Sleep well!  Every living thing sleeps, from the smallest insect to the largest whale.  Some animals spend as many as 20 hours a day sleeping!  While kids and adults don't need to sleep quite so many hours, our sleep is just as important.  You need sleep to keep you healthy, happy, and doing your best.  Sleep helps your body and brain develop and grow.

When you get enought sleep you can:

  • Pay attention better in school
  • Be creative and think of new ideas
  • Fight sickness so you stay healthy
  • Be in a good mood
  • Get along with friends and family
  • Solve problems better

Without enough sleep you can:

  • Forget what you learned
  • Have trouble making good choices
  • Be grumpy and in a bad mood
  • Have trouble playing games and sports
  • Be less patient with brothers, sisters, and friends
  • Have trouble listening to parents and teachers

Activities