Families and Health FAQs
What are some healthy and low-cost lunch alternatives to eating fast food?
There are many healthy and low-cost foods to take to work for lunch. The list below has some ideas to get you started:
- pasta with marinara sauce (can be prepared the night before)
- leftovers from home that can be heated in a microwave
- small hamburger or veggie burger on a whole-grain bun
- tomato-based vegetable soups
- brown rice or whole-grain pasta with stir-fried veggies (can be prepared the night before)
- baked potato with broccoli and a sprinkle of low-fat cheese or salsa
- leafy, green salads with fresh veggies and black beans
- sandwich with whole-grain breads or tortillas, low-fat deli meats and mustard or low-fat mayo
- frozen entrees that are low in fat and calories
- frozen steamer vegetable combos (without sauce)
- whole-grain rice with black beans and sautéed vegetables of your choice
- leftover refried beans, a bit of salad, and a whole-wheat wrap
- veggies and low-fat dip
- fruit cups or fresh fruit
- low-fat puddings
- low-fat yogurt with granola and/or fruit
- whole-grain chips or crackers with low-fat cheese
What are some ways my family can be more active?
Families have an important role in shaping children’s physical activity attitudes and behaviors. Here are some tips to encourage families to be more physically active.
- Set a positive example by leading an active lifestyle yourself, and make physical activity part of your family’s daily routine such as designating time for family walks or playing active games together.
- Provide opportunities for children to be active by playing with them. Give them active toys and equipment, and take them to places where they can be active.
- Offer positive reinforcement for the physical activities in which your child participates, and encourage them as they express interest in new activities.
- Make physical activity fun. Fun activities can be anything the child enjoys, either structured or non-structured. They may range from team sports, individual sports, and/or recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities, and free-time play.
- Ensure that the activity is age appropriate and, to ensure safety, provide protective equipment such as helmets, wrist pads, and knee pads.
- Find a convenient place to be active regularly.
- Limit the time your children watch television or play video games to no more than two hours per day. Instead, encourage your children to find fun activities to do with family members or on their own that simply involve more activity (walking, playing chase, dancing).
- Plan family outings and vacations that involve vigorous activities such as hiking, bicycling, skiing, swimming, etc.
- Give your children some household chores that require physical exertion, keeping in mind their levels of strength, coordination, and maturity. Mowing lawns, raking leaves, scrubbing floors, and taking out the garbage not only teach responsibility but can be good exercise.
- Observe sports and activities your children like, then find out about lessons and clubs. Some children thrive on team sports; others prefer individual activities. Some activities, like tennis and swimming, can be enjoyed for a lifetime and are much easier to learn during childhood.
- If it’s safe to walk or bike rather than drive, do so. Use stairs instead of elevators and escalators. Increase the distances you and your children walk.
- Choose fitness-oriented giftsa jump rope, mini-trampoline, tennis racket, baseball bat, a youth membership at the local YMCA or YWCA. Select the gift with your child’s skills and interests in mind.
- Take advantage of your city’s recreation opportunitiesfrom soccer leagues to fun runs. Check out the various camps or organizations like the Sierra Club that sponsor outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and bird watching.
- When your children are bored, suggest something that gets them moving, like playing catch or building a snowman in the yard.