Ways to Support Healthy Habits at Home

  • You turn off the TV and send them out to play. You discourage risky behaviors in your teen. What else can you do to support healthy habits at home? Try these tips from GCPS nutritionists, health and PE teachers, and school nurses…

    Make the computer work for you to improve wellness: Check out some of the great websites out there on fitness and nutrition. Start with these:

    • In Web resources gathered by Atlanta nonprofit HealthMPowers, you’ll find links for parents and students on general health topics, prevention of substance abuse, nutrition, physical activity, “taming the tube,” special needs, and more.
    • The U.S. Department of Agriculture revisits the oldschool food pyramid with My Pyramid, a bounty of resources (for adults and kids) on making food choices that are right for you.
    • Go through the serving line at the Nutri-Café, GCPS’ virtual cafeteria, where you can assess nutritional information on school menu items.

    Model a healthy lifestyle: Kids listen to what we say and watch what we do. To support healthy habits in your child, look for ways to improve your own health. Keep restaurant dining to a minimum. When you do eat out, look for healthier options. (Many restaurants designate the most healthy items on their menus.) Plan family trips that include movement activities, such as hiking, biking, or swimming. Take care of yourself by taking a walk in one of Gwinnett’s many parks, attending an aerobics class, going to the gym, or participating in some other physical activity you enjoy. Invite your child to go along! Your own heart-healthy habits will help your child develop the same.

    Keep your child moving: Limit “stationary” leisure time— television, video games, etc.— and substitute physical activity. Give your child chores requiring physical exertion. Keep in mind his strength, coordination, and maturity. Encourage your child to sign-up for lessons or a sport to ensure physical activity during non-school hours.

    Eat a ‘rainbow’ of food: School nutritionists say eating 5 to 9 servings of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables each day will help keep you and your family healthy. Fruits and vegetables in each of five “color groups” have distinct healthful properties: Red for heart health, yellow and orange for reduced risk for some cancers, white for healthy cholesterol levels, green for vision, and blue and purple for memory. So, grab your tomatoes, carrots, bananas, green beans, and blueberries… and eat a rainbow!