Healthy Choices for Kids.

Do you know why there’s so much talk these days about obesity in children?

Children who are overweight when they are young have a much harder time losing weight when they are older than adults who were not overweight as kids. If you make improvements in your child’s diet and increase the amount of physical activity he gets now, you will have a much better chance of keeping him healthy as an adult.

Here are a few ideas to make changes in your family’s diet:

  •   Drink water!  (no juice, no soda)
  •   Eat at home!  (don’t eat out more than once or twice a week)
  •   Keep cut up fruits or vegetables around so your kids will snack on them instead of chips
  •   Eat together! Keep the TV off!
  •   Make sure you have 20-30 minutes to eat together (eating too fast makes it easy to over- do it)
  •   Eat 3 meals a day! (skipping leads to overeating )
  •   Keep junk food out of your house!
  •   Make salads with vegetables, not eggs, meat or cheese
  •   Toss your salad to use less dressing
  •   Treat yourselves sometimes!

Here’s some suggestions to increase physical activity in your family:

bike-helmet-child

  •   Ride a bike
  •   Go for a walk after dinner
  •   Dance
  •   Swim
  •   Play sports
  •   Walk when you talk on the phone
  •   Take a martial arts class
  •   Limit TV and video games to 1-2 hours per day

 

Good luck and enjoy the rest of your summer.

Wildfires and Children’s Lungs

With recent wildfires in the area you may be wondering what this means for your children. The smoke from wildfires contains a mixture of gasses as well as fine particles of burnt material. These can irritate your eyes, nasal passage, as well as your lungs.

Children’s airways are still developing and are much smaller than adults, and therefore are at a higher risk to be affected by poor air quality. Children breathe in more air per pound of body weight and they also tend to be more active which also leads them to breath in more air.

via Krem

via Krem

When the air quality is poor it is important to avoid going outside. If this is not possible, limit the amount of activity that is done outside. Anytime your child runs and plays, they begin to breathe faster, leading to more exposure of the dirty air to their sensitive developing airways.

Keep windows and doors shut. Make sure to run the air conditioner on the recirculate setting to prevent the dirty air from coming inside. A simple mask is not helpful. The small particulates that are present in the smoke are small enough to be allowed through a paper mask. It is also important to keep track of the air quality index where you live. You can check this out at www.spokanecleanair.org to find out the current air quality.

Symptoms of exposure to wildfire smoke can include runny nose, burning eyes, cough, shortness of breath, and nausea. If your child has asthma make sure to have their rescue inhaler available at all times since the smoke can trigger an asthma exacerbation. If any of these symptoms persist or don’t improve after going inside and resting, please seek medical care.

by Ashlee Mickelson, Physician

Your guide to a happy and healthy summer!

Make the most of summer by eating well and participating in physical activity every day. Here are some simple ideas to help you make this summer fun, fit and fantastic!

 

-Have regular family meals: Knowing that dinner will be served around the same time every night and that the whole family will be sitting down together is comforting and enhances appetite. Kids will be more excited to eat healthful dinners and you’ll have the opportunity to grow as a family.

 

-Get the kids involved: Include the kids in grocery shopping, lunch box packing and preparing dinner. Not only are kids more likely to consume the foods they helped prepare but this is also a chance for you teach your kids about the nutritive value of foods or how to read food labels.

 

-Make a family outing to the farmer’s market: Farmer’s markets are an excellent way to buy fresh, local fruits and veggies. Some booths offer samples your kids can try and the live music and atmosphere is a positive food experience your kids are sure to enjoy.

blueberries_and_strawberries

 

-Make sure there are plenty of healthy snacks available in the house: Stock the cupboards and refrigerator with plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy and healthy beverages like water, 100% juice, and milk. When there is an abundance of healthy options kids will become used to reaching for those items instead of empty calorie snacks like chips, soda, cookies or candy.

 

-Have fun with food! Top whole grain pancakes with a banana slice smiley face, make forest out of broccoli florets and celery sticks or create fun fruit kabobs with pineapple, strawberries and grapes. Kids like to play and when they get to play with their food it’s so much more fun to eat!

 

-Limit foods high in sugar: You don’t need to cut out sugary foods entirely but rather make them “special occasion” foods. Make a habit of eating watermelon slices or 100% fruit popsicles for a sweet treat. Once in a while indulge in an ice cream sundae bar or homemade cookies. The treat will be even more special and kids will learn to eat these foods in moderation.

 

-Limit foods high in salt: Cut down on packaged, processed and fast food. Instead buy fresh or frozen foods and choose low sodium or low salt options. Replace salty snacks like potato chips and pretzels with nuts, seeds and fresh veggies.

 

-Get movin’! Encourage your kids to be physically active by reducing screen time and encouraging them to play outside. You can also encourage them to dance to their favorite music or walk to the nearest park to play.

-Have them help out: Get kids active by having them help carry groceries, rake leaves or walk the dog.

 

-Seize summer: Summer is the perfect time to be active. There are so many fun opportunities that great weather has to offer. Swimming, canoeing, biking, hiking, camping, roller blading, running, or playing sports, the sky is the limit!

kids-swimming