Healthy Kids Day is April 18

Put play in your day and enjoy some fun and relaxing active family time by visiting your local Y for YMCA Healthy Kids Day. Along with more than 1,700 YMCAs across the country, the Magdalena Ecke Family YMCA will be celebrating Healthy Kid’s Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 18. The event is free to the community and open to everyone. It offers children and their families an opportunity to learn how they can “put play in their day” and make healthy lifestyle choices while having fun. 
The Magdalena Ecke YMCA will have a rock climbing wall, an inflatable obstacle course, balloon animals, face painting and fun fitness challenges. There will also be health and fitness information available. Healthy Kids Day is the nation’s largest health day celebration for children and families, with an annual attendance of more than 700,000 participants. 
In the spirit of good health, balanced nutrition and well-being, some easy daily routines can be implemented into your family’s life that will net you long-term benefits.
Eating a diet rich in whole grain, lean proteins and plenty of fruits and vegetables will support growth and keep kids healthy. Also drink plenty of fluids. Water is the best choice. Juices and soft drinks can add calories and simple sugars. Milk not only adds fluids but is an important source of calcium, vitamin D and riboflavin; nutrients that help build strong bones. Research shows that kids and teens who eat calcium-rich diets have fewer fractures over time. Kids need three to five servings per day of milk, calcium enriched soy milk or other calcium fortified foods to meet their calcium needs.
Fresh fruit is the best first response to a craving for something sweet and provides an extra boost of fiber and vitamin C. Eating fruits and vegetables at every meal, while sometimes challenging with children, is one of five “musts” according to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. To make it more fun and rewarding, develop a contest to see who in the family can sample the most different kinds of fruits and vegetables. The person who tries the most varieties in one week wins a favorite meal of their choice. Adding fruits and vegetables to foods that are cooked or baked, like vegetables into pasta sauce, casseroles, soups and omelets, or berries into pancakes, or muffins is a good way to add a daily serving or two.
Getting an hour or more each day of exercise, and an hour less of “screen time” will also boost well-being. If you intend to get more than two hours per day of TV time, do exercises while you are enjoying your favorite program, or better yet, do a workout video. A combination of the two will add exercise to your day and allow you to embrace your favorite TV programs, guilt free.
What about the notion of getting more sleep? Getting at least nine hours of sleep each night is best, both for adults and children. To add more sleep time, simply hit the hay 15 minutes earlier each night until the desired amount of hours is reached. Keeping a journal or place to write down your thoughts before bedtime is also a great way to clear your mind and prepare for tomorrow.
Other ways of infusing a healthier lifestyle could include reading the school menu with your children, and choosing the healthiest options together, or eating smarter snacks, such as baked chips or pretzels with salsa. Dessert can even be tasty without all the extra fat and calories. Low-fat or reduced-fat ice cream served in a cup, not on a cone, or whole fruit smoothies are a tasty way to complete a nice family dinner.
For more ideas and tips for creating a health diet for your family, visit www.mypyramid.gov.
Check with your local YMCA for the activities they host in celebration of Healthy Kids Day. If you are planning to get active, see your doctor first for a complete health evaluation, and then get out there and “put play in your day!”

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