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Tips and Resources For Healthy Families

Artwork showing a plate of several healthy food choices

Eating healthy and staying active are two important things you can do for your health. Using community resources can make it easier to find ways to eat healthy and be physically active.

How Can I Keep My Family Eating Healthy?

Making healthy food choices can be simple! Here are some healthy eating tips:

  • Enjoy your food, but stop when you are full.
  • Watch out for large portion sizes. Use a smaller plate when eating at home and plan to take some of your food home when eating out.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Switch to whole grains like 100% whole wheat bread, brown rice, corn or whole wheat tortillas, and whole grain cereals.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Eat less sugary, salty and fatty foods like cakes, cookies, ice cream, candy, chips and fatty meats.
  • Don’t give up – it can take many tries to like new foods and change to healthier habits.
  • Enjoy family meals together – with the TV off.
  • Involve the whole family with food shopping and cooking meals.

For more ideas on how to help your family eat healthy visit these websites:

American Heart Association Nutrition Centerexternal disclaimer. The American Heart Association has information about heart-smart shopping, healthy cooking and recipes, and tips for how to eat healthy when eating out: disclaimer

ChooseMyPlateexternal disclaimer. This website includes recipes, menus, and tips, and provides a way to track the foods you eat. Visit disclaimer.

Nutrition.govexternal disclaimer. This website includes information about shopping, cooking, keeping a healthy weight, and nutrition for everyone from babies to senior citizens. Visit disclaimergr.

How Can I Keep My Family Active?

Adding physical activity to your day can be easy! Here are a few ideas:

  • Start with small changes – take the stairs instead of the elevator or take a brisk 10-minute walk during lunch.
  • Pick fun activities that you can do regularly.
  • Make play time more active by using toys like balls and jump ropes.
  • Spend time each week being active:
    • Adults should do 2.5 hours or more of moderate activity each week.
    • Children should do 60 minutes of moderate activity each day.
    • Examples of moderate activities are walking fast, biking or raking leaves.
  • Keep it interesting by trying new and different activities – take a dance or yoga class, go swimming, or join a local softball team or walking group.
  • Spend less time on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games.

Here are some other resources you can use to help your family stay active:

American Heart Association Physical Activityexternal disclaimer. The American Heart Association has physical activity guidelines, as well as tips and resources to help you be more active. Visit disclaimer.

CDC – Take Action for Me and My Familyexternal disclaimer. This website from the CDC has information about what you can do to help your family be more active. It includes information on how much activity adults and children need, as well as success stories and tips for getting started. Visit disclaimer.

Be Active Your Wayexternal disclaimer. In 2008, the U.S. Government put out Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. They describe the types and amounts of physical activity that provide health benefits. Be Active Your Way helps you learn how to use the guidelines in your everyday life. Visit disclaimer.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Physical Activity Resourcesexternal disclaimer. This website includes a list of resources parents can use to help their children be more active. Visit disclaimer.

How Can I Use My Community’s Resources?

Your community probably has resources (some of them free!) to help families be more healthy. Here are some possibilities:

  • Local parks and recreation departments may have classes and activities for all ages, often for free.
  • Look for parks and playgrounds in your area that you can safely use for activities and playing.
  • Check out farmers markets for local and in-season fruits and vegetables.
  • Shop close to home so that you can walk instead of driving.

Here are some other resources to help you find out what’s available in your community:

National Farmers Market Directoryexternal disclaimer. The USDA National Farmers Market Directory helps you search for a farmers market near where you live. Visit disclaimer.

Let’s Move Outsideexternal disclaimer. This website lets you search for places, like parks and playgrounds, where you can go outside and be active. Visit disclaimer.

What Are Other Resources I Can Use To Keep My Family Healthy?

Let’s Move!external disclaimer The White House began the Let’s Move! program in 2010 to help children stay healthy. Visit disclaimer.

We Can!external disclaimer (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition)® We Can! is a program developed by the National Institutes of Health to help children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight by eating right, moving more, and reducing screen time. Visit disclaimer.

Last Updated September 2013

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