Newswise — CHICAGO – Tests are over, grades are in and, for millions of kids the freedom of summer has begun. But don’t let your family’s healthy eating habits take a vacation this summer. The summer break is great for spending time with your kids in the home, helping them understand the importance of healthy eating and showing them how they can make their own healthy and tasty meals every day.
Kids Eat Right, a joint effort of the American Dietetic Association and its Foundation designed to help end childhood obesity, provides you and your family with valuable tools to learn the basics of shopping smart, cooking healthy and eating right.
“For many families, the summer break can lead to a disruption of the normal routine and a diversion from the eating habits established during the school year. It is important to maintain regularity with your family over the summer months, ensuring everyone is eating the foods they need when they need them,” says registered dietitian, Katie Brown, ADA Foundation’s national education director. “Kids Eat Right provides families with the tools they need to maintain a healthy eating plan all year long.”
Centered on a “SHOP, COOK, EAT” principle, Kids Eat Right is designed to bring families together for nutritious meals each day by providing simple, easily accomplished tasks. With age-specific content developed by registered dietitians—the nation’s food and nutrition experts—the Kids Eat Right website gives parents a one-stop-shop for finding the most nutritious foods, preparing them in a way your kids will love, and helping the whole family understand the fundamentals of eating right.
Parents are encouraged to visit the Kids Eat Right website (www.KidsEatRight.org) to find practical tips, articles, videos and recipes from registered dietitians, posted each week to help families enjoy summer break without breaking their healthy eating plan. The campaign also features social media outreach through Facebook and Twitter encouraging healthy eating and healthy lives.
“One of the best ways to teach your kids about eating healthfully is to involve them in every step of the process, and Kids Eat Right is your tool for learning how to do this,” says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association Spokesperson Amy Jamieson-Petonic. She offers tips to involve the entire family:
• Bring your kids shopping with you, and let them pick out the healthy foods they like, especially the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables available during summer months. • Have them help in the kitchen when preparing meals with age-appropriate tasks, letting the older kids chop and cook foods and the younger kids mix ingredients and set the table. • And most importantly, sit down as a family and eat together. According to a recent study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, eating together as a family during adolescence is associated with lasting positive effects on nutritional quality in young adulthood.
“And don’t forget about one of the most important parts of living a healthy lifestyle—physical activity,” says Jamieson-Petonic. “Your kids should be getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. So, don't let them spend the summer sitting on the couch.”
Jamieson-Petonic says you should encourage them to get out and enjoy the benefits of being physically active with these tips:
• Sign kids up for local sports leagues or camps.• Participate in family activities like swimming, tennis or biking.• Organize neighborhood events like kickball or softball games.
In conjunction with Kids Eat Right, and with support from MetLife Foundation, the ADA Foundation launched the RD-Parent Empowerment Program in select schools in the Chicago, New York and Houston areas. The RD-Parent Empowerment Program brings registered dietitians into the schools and communities to provide the knowledge and skills that will empower families to make positive, sustainable changes in eating and activity patterns of their children.
For more information, visit KidsEatRight.org. To schedule an interview with a registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson, contact ADA’s media relations department at firstname.lastname@example.org or (800) 877-1600 x4769.
The American Dietetic Association Foundation is a 501(c)3 charity devoted exclusively to nutrition and dietetics. It funds scholarships and awards, public awareness and research projects and ADA strategic initiatives, and is the largest provider of scholarships and awards in the field of dietetics. The Foundation’s mission is funding the future of the dietetics profession through research and education. Visit the ADA Foundation at www.eatright.org/foundation.
The American Dietetic Association is the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation’s health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the American Dietetic Association at www.eatright.org.