Feb 262012

We all know that recent studies have shown that the number of overweight (or even obese) children is growing at an alarming rate. The media is full of it and it really is a worry parents should take very seriously. It is important that parents realise there are lots of steps they can take to encourage their kids to be healthier and happier. Here are 7 ways to promote healthy habits for kids, put together by the ProPortion Foods team:

1. Sleep
Our kids need around 10 hours sleep per night to function, concentrate and be their most focused and productive. If your child struggles to go to bed early, why not try moving bedtime up by 10 minutes per night, so that they don’t even realise they are getting that extra shut-eye.

2. Balanced Diet
Even as adults, we feel the effects of a poor diet. Sometimes, life does get in the way and it is a real effort to ensure we are eating right. Our kids benefit from a balanced diet which includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, sufficient calcium and the right source of protein and carbohydrates. If you are time poor, a suggestion might be to prepare nutritious meals in bulk, grocery shop online and choose healthy canteen lunch options.

3. Involve the children with meal planning/cooking
Sometimes involving the children with nutritious meal planning or cooking makes them more interested in eating it because they played an active part in the preparation.

4. Play together
We all get a little pre-occupied with electronic gadgets. A great habit to get into is to turn off all electronic devices for an hour each day just to connect with each other as a family and really be present with one another. Use this time to play, be active and just talk to one another.

5. Socialise
There are benefits to forging and strengthening friendships. Friends uplift our moods and create pleasurable past-times. Children enjoy socialising just as much as adults. Strong social skills help increase confidence and self-esteem and those are attributes that we believe most parents would like their kids to develop.

6. Start an extra curriculum activity
It’s great if our children want to participate in a sport. It’s an opportunity for them to be more active as they interact with others that share the same interests. Other non-sport based activities benefit too as they all teach children new skills. Learning new skills develops our sense of mastery and self esteem. When children have a positive sense of self-worth it’s more likely they will feel more confident as well.

7. Spend more time outdoors
Encourage the kids to play outdoors for a set amount of time each day to enjoy the benefits of fresh air and a daily dose of vitamin D. It also a great break from the electronic gadgets that consume so much of our lives.

If you think this is an important message to get across you will love the That! Heroes program. The company behind the new That! Dairy Snack has teamed up with organisations such as the Victorian Institute of Sport to provide schools Australia-wide with free motivational talks. That! Heroes are a team of inspiring stars touring Australian schools with stories about the dreams they have been able to achieve with happy, healthy habits. To organise a visit from a That! Hero for your child’s school visit www.thatdairysnack.com.au.

In case you haven’t discovered That! Dairy Snack yet: These yummy dairy snacks ($1.95) are available at school canteens across Australia in Wild Chocolate and Cool Bananas flavour. That! Dairy Snack is developed to meet strict nutritional criteria and is a Healthy Kids Registered ‘Green’ Product. This means it has been identified as a healthier choice snack for children and includes important nutrients to assist in a child’s growth and development, in fact it provides 20% of the calcium your child needs each day. It contains no artificial flavours, colours or gluten, less than half the sugar of most fruit juices and less saturated fat and sugar than most yoghurts.

To find out more about That! Dairy Snack visit www.thatdairysnack.com.au and make sure you keep an eye on the That! Dairy Snack Facebook page for your regular dose of exciting news, special promotions and lots of great tips to get your kids happy and healthy.

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