Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids in 2021

Start your children on the path to well-being

Parents can help their children develop healthy habits early in life that will bring lifelong benefits.


Keep it positive

“Helping your children develop a positive attitude can greatly contribute to their well-being throughout their lives and help them build resilience,” says Dr. Leek. “Tell kids what they can do, not what they can’t, and celebrate successes.”

2. Read with your child every day
It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. The AAP recommends starting parent-child reading at birth and continuing at least through kindergarten.

“Reading with babies and toddlers helps connections form in their young brains,” says Dr. Leek. “These connections build language, literacy and social-emotional skills that are important in a young child’s development.”
Teach your child about nutrition by looking at the food labels for their favorite packaged snacks. You can focus on a few important parts of the label, such as the amount of sugar, saturated fat, calories and serving size. If there is more than one ingredient in a food, it must have the ingredients listed in descending order by amount. If sugar is the first ingredient listed, that snack is made up of more sugar than any other ingredient.

“Healthy Happy Kids” through a six-week childhood obesity prevention program of the same name. The hands-on curriculum, developed by the MHRC and taught by UAB nutritionists and exercise experts, provides practical lessons for children on what their bodies need to stay healthy. Children learn which foods are healthy, how much they should eat and how to make healthy snacks at home. They also enjoy fun and energetic games that promote daily physical activity.

“We are grateful to the Housing Authority of Birmingham District and the Kingston Coalition for working with us to help the children of Kingston and Marks Village learn to be healthy, happy kids,” said MHRC Community Engagement Director Tiffany Osborne.

Healthy Happy Kids is an evidence-based program that has impacted more than 1,500 children in 22 Birmingham City schools and locations since 2008. This is the first time the program has been presented at the Campus of Hope.

“By educating the next generation on healthier food and physical activity choices, we can help change the trajectory of Alabama’s obesity statistics,” Osborne said.

Healthy Happy Kids was selected by UAB as one of UAB’s 50 Acts of Service to the Community to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the university.

Heathy Kids Day

Given continued health concerns around COVID-19, we have decided to postpone Healthy Kids Day 2020 in order to ensure the safety of everyone in all communities.

If you Google “eating healthy” you will get four hundred and eighty-five million hits. There is no limit to how much you can learn about nutrition and the foods that build strong bodies. You may decide to add flaxseed to your kid’s waffles or avocados to their smoothies. You may go Paleo or gluten-free. You may make it easy for kids to choose healthy snacks by keeping yogurt, peanut butter and cheese in the fridge. You may serve good sources of protein such as lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, and nuts.

Now your kid may not care that fruits and veggies provide essential vitamins, minerals, and fiber and lower their risk of cancer and other chronic diseases, but if you prepare a fresh fruit salad, they’re going to eat it up. If you really want to keep it simple, simply cut out the junk food, the processed food, and the high-sugar food.

Get them moving! Help kids and teens be active for at least one hour a day every day of the week. Playing Minecraft does not raise their breathing and heart rates and therefore does not count. American Ninja Warrior does not count (unless they are out training for it). Physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints, controls weight, builds lean muscle, lower fat, and prevents or delays the development of high blood pressure. Research shows that girls who play sports have higher levels of self-esteem, lower levels of depression, more positive body image, and higher states of psychological well being than girls and women who do not play sports.

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