Children in Pierce County are getting less than half of the nutrients needed to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as type two diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and more. According to the Department of Health, 36 percent of kids in Pierce County are getting less than one serving of vegetables.
Without the recommended 2-4 servings of fruit and vegetables each day, these children are at higher risk of developing chronic diseases later in life and stunted physical development.
To help engage your kids in eating healthy during National Nutrition Month (March), and every month, here are a few tips:
- Start a Small Garden – Kids can be picky eaters, but when they participate in growing fruits and vegetables, they are more likely to eat what they grow. Don’t have a yard? Try an indoor vertical garden or visit your local community garden.
- Include kids in grocery shopping – Let your kids help decide what to eat. Create a list of things you need for the week such as proteins, fruits, vegetables, and grains and let your kids choose what they want to eat.
- Talk about health and nutrition – Talk to your kids about why healthy habits are important and why you encourage eating healthy foods and physical activity.
Developing these and other healthy habits are critical to long-term health. What your kids learn about health in childhood will carry over to adulthood.
Don’t think you can afford healthy eating or don’t know where to start? Local resources are available to help. Just go online and check out a directory of local services in your area by visiting our local resource directory and searching your zip code.
Author: Julie Keeffe, RN, Community Health Plan of Washington