FitUnited Mobilizing Communities to Motivate Kids Healthy Habits
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As adults we aspire to be positive role models for our children and our families. There are wonderful resources available to help you start to make a big impact with small changes that are relatively easy to implement. Let’s Move and We Can are both great for parents to use, and others such as FitWits and Crunch Color have great games to engage children.

Just Getting Started?

Why not take a look at Let’s Move, they have easy to navigate resources for parents, including the 5 simple steps to success (click here) as follows:
  1. Healthy Snacks
  2. Make Physical Activity a Part of Your Family’s Routine
  3. Plan a Healthy Menu
  4. Reduce Screen Time and Get Active
  5. Organize a School Health Team

Another great resource is We Can® – (Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity and Nutrition), a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers and entire communities a way to help children to stay at a healthy weight. Some great resources to print out and use at home include:

  • The Go, Slow and Whoa foods chart which gives simple guidelines on which foods you should be eating more of, and which foods you should eat only once in a while (click here) 
  • Share the child-friendly version, the You are what you eat chart with the family at home – why not stick this on your refrigerator as a gentle reminder!
  • Research shows that it's best not to go shopping when we are hungry, and to plan in advance (resisting impulse purchases at the store!). Why not use the We Can® Grocery List template to help you plan your shopping? Don’t forget to use the Go, Slow and Whoa foods chart to guide you.
  • You can make healthy choices when eating out as well! (click here for some tips)

Engage Children

Ultimately our goal is to impact the children. We have looked at a number of tools that really engage kids and make the learning experience fun and hands-on.
  • Fitwits is an imaginative and engaging hands-on tool for kids (and best of all developed at CMU) and a fun way to learn about healthy eating and activities through an entertaining cast of characters. It provides parents with the tools to address healthy eating at home, and introduce it in a non-threatening manner.
    • Try the ‘Use your wits’ game with your children, and test your knowledge, the results might surprise you! Even better, why not try it once now (and make a note of your score) and then try it again a few months down the line, after you have been following our fitUnited hints and tips! Watch your score improve. (click here)
  • Crunch a Color
    • It might be ambitious, but why not follow their 52 New Foods recipes? Or if you don’t think you can manage it every week, maybe try at least once a month. Trying a new fruit or vegetable with your children is a wonderful way to incorporate healthy foods into their diets, and can become a fun family challenge! What healthy new food will you try next week? Click here to see recipes for the 52 New Foods
    • Try the Crunch a Color™ reward chart with your children. Post it on your refrigerator, agree on a prize that your kids will earn (going on a family bike ride or hike) download the chart here, and the points system here.

Additional Resources

  • Stuck for ideas? Our Partner The Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank has a very comprehensive resource for recipes where you can search by ingredient. Maybe you have decided you’re going to try eggplant for the first time, but need some ideas. Click here to access the GPCB’s Recipe Rainbow, it’s really easy and full of great recipes.
  • The Highmark Foundation has over the past decade had a significant impact in the fight against childhood obesity, in particular with their Healthy High 5 program. The Foundation continues to lead efforts in this area, and their website includes helpful resources for families and caring adults on the subject of nutrition and physical activity. Click here for more information.

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