Healthy At Home for Kids

communications intern FCE, Health

Across the country, measures are being taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The biggest of these changes involves the closure of schools and businesses. Such sudden and drastic changes to everyday life can become overwhelming, especially with the kids at home. Some ways to have fun while staying at home is by having your kids get involved in the kitchen, staying active (even if it means staying inside) and learning about healthy living! If you want to help your kids have a more enjoyable experience during what can be a challenging time, check out these tips!

Healthy Alternatives

Sometimes it’s hard to find healthy treats that your kids will like. Here are some healthy alternatives to kids’ favorite foods: 

  • Try replacing fruit juice with flavored water. Adding some frozen berries to your water is a tasty and refreshing treat. It will keep your kids hydrated and reduce their sugar intake.
  • If there’s anything kids love, it’s a good snack. Swap out chips and dip with some carrots and hummus.
  • If your kids love pancakes, try making banana oat pancakes as a healthier alternative.
  • When making burgers, swap out that red meat for leaner turkey meat and make turkey burgers.
  • Instead of milkshakes, have healthy fruit smoothies for dessert.

Staying Healthy While Staying Home

Take this extra time at home to motivate your kids, teach them new skills, and keep them active! Below, we have listed some activities that could be completed for each age group. As always, supervise and only do what is comfortable for you and your children!

Ages 3-6

  • Chalk in the driveway
  • Let your child read through directions for a recipe
  • Knead, mix, or mash ingredients when cooking or baking

Ages 6-9

  • Organize bedrooms and award who finishes first
  • Measure and count ingredients in the kitchen, practice cracking eggs, practice turning on a stove top 
  • Ride bikes as a family

Ages 9-12

  • Dance party with their favorite music
  • Order a difficult puzzle online, have them try to complete it in a week
  • Allow your child to follow a simple recipe on their own

Ages 13+

  • Encourage your teen with outside time while social distancing, riding a bike, walking a pet, or exercising
  • Allow a one hour break during school for your teen to choose what they want to do
  • Challenge your teen to cook a meal for the family

Healthy Q&A: Topics to talk about with your kids

Help your kids understand that nutritious food helps fuel their bodies properly. Here are some commonly asked kid questions and how you can answer them:

Q: Why is it important to eat a healthy breakfast?

A: It is important to eat a healthy breakfast because it is the first meal of the day! Skipping breakfast can make you feel tired. In the morning, your body needs fuel for the day ahead.

Q: Why should I eat more vegetables?

A: Vegetables are packed with vitamins. They help keep your body and mind strong. (Fun fact: It usually takes 10 to 15 tries for a child to accept new food. That may seem like a lot of time, but you can spread out the attempts over a few months and give a small serving each time.)

Q: Why is it important to drink water?

A: Water keeps you happy, healthy, and hydrated. It’s important to have water throughout the day to help keep you energized! (Tip: add your child’s favorite fruit to the water to flavor it! We enjoy adding strawberries, raspberries, or oranges.)

Q: Why can’t I stay inside and sit on the couch all day?

A: It’s important to take advantage of the nicer weather and having an able and active body. Spending time outside makes us happier and keeps your heart strong and healthy.