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National Nutrition Month: Simple ways to encourage families to be healthier

Happy National Nutrition Month! We know that navigating family life and managing busy schedules while trying to be healthy can seem easier said than done. However, it is possible to make big shifts in family health by creating healthy habits through small daily actions.

In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are five habits to help improve your nutrition this month:

  1. Include a fruit or a veggie in every snack. Snacking on fruits and veggies makes it easy to meet the “5 a day” guideline. Try combinations like carrots and hummus, apples with peanut butter, or grapes with cheese as a way to incorporate protein into snack time as well. This ensures that snacks will keep you full until the next meal.
  2. Practice mindful eating at home and on the go. This can be done by noticing the taste, texture, and smell of foods, and by taking breaths or sips of water between bites in order to slow down. Keep screens off during meal time and avoid eating when feeling emotional or bored.
  3. Create a home environment that makes it easy to be healthy by keeping processed foods out of the house, and plenty of fresh and healthy food in the house and ready to eat.
  4. Involve the family in meal planning. Planning ahead makes it easier to be healthy on busy days, and having kids participate in meal planning means they are more likely to eat the food prepared for them. Ask your kids their favorite meals or snacks, or ask them if they have a favorite fruit or veggie they’d like to have in their lunch box.
  5. Use MyPlate as a template for meals at home and on the go. Most people eat plenty of protein and grains, but not enough fruits and veggies. Make a habit of including more fruits and veggies at most meals!

Another effective way to live a healthy life is to be active.  Are you interested in a fun way to be active or learning about ways to become a healthier family?

You can also join us at Walk with a Doc!

CPCMG started the first chapter of Walk with a Doc in San Diego County. Every Tuesday at 4pm at Stagecoach Park in La Costa, local kids and families are invited to a free walk in the park followed by a short lesson about strategies for becoming a healthier family and an interesting fruit or vegetable snack. Dr. Muth, myself, and a group of enthusiastic kids and their families are always there.

For example, Ryan Howard, age 6, from Carlsbad has been attending Walk with a Doc for almost a year. Ryan said, “I just like walking and getting exercise and getting more healthy. And I want everybody to get more healthy so they can live longer.”

If you would like extra support to help your child and family increase health and nutrition, come check out the CPCMG W.E.L.L. clinic at our La Costa office. CPCMG pediatrician and registered dietitian Dr. Natalie Muth and myself as the WELL clinic health coach can help you and your family meet nutrition and activity goals. Ask your CPCMG pediatrician or call our La Costa office at 760-633-3640 for more information.

Remember, small daily actions turn into long lasting habits which affect your health for the long run. Try incorporating one habit at a time (or focus on one per week) in order to create lasting healthy habits.