Kids Are Why
How to Be a Healthy Kid
Being a healthy kid is all about eating right, getting plenty of exercise and looking after yourself. Your health is very important in your development and growth. Try to incorporate healthy choices into your daily routine, but still have plenty of fun, as well as giving yourself time to relax and wind-down.
Having a Healthy Balanced Diet
Eat plenty of fruit.It’s very important to have a healthy diet to help you grow and develop. Fruit should be a major part of your diet, as it will provide you with lots of the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay strong and healthy.
- The recommended amount of fruit varies a little by age and gender, but you should generally aim to eat one or two cups of fruit a day.
- A large banana, an apple, and a large orange, would each count as one cup of fruit.
- Try to have fresh fruit available around the house for an easy snack.
Get lots of vegetables.Vegetables are an essential part of your diet. Try to be aware of how much you eat, and ensure you are getting enough. The recommended amount of vegetables varies a little by age and gender, but in general you should be aiming to eat between 2 and 3 cups of vegetables each day.Vegetables come in many different types, and so you should try to get a good balance of the different sorts. This includes dark green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas, and starchy vegetables.
- Try combining fruits and vegetables with other ingredients to make delicious snacks.
- Combine apples with peanut butter or honey.
- Dip some carrot or celery sticks into a pot of hummus.
Avoid too much sugar.Sugary snacks and drinks are a major factor in unhealthy diets for those of all ages. Kids might be especially susceptible to sweets and sugary drinks, so it’s important that you control your sugar intake to help you stay healthy. Snacks that are high in sugar and saturated fats can cause children to put on a lot of weight relatively quickly.
- Limit the amount of sweets, chocolate, chips and other unhealthy snacks you eat.
- Try to opt for healthier snack alternatives, such as fruit.
Drink lots of water.Water is a major part of staying healthy. Drinking plenty of water provides you with lots of valuable minerals. It also quenches your thirst without all the extra sugars that most other drinks contain. Soda drinks, and even fruit juice, contain a lot of sugar which can have a detrimental effect on your health.
- If you're feeling thirsty, try to choose water as much as possible. Aim to drink 8 glasses a day.
- Choose low fat or non-fat milk if you can.
- Try to avoid having sugary drinks in the house as a rule.
Have variation in your diet.The key to a good balanced diet is variation and moderation. Don’t think you can only ever eat green vegetables to stay healthy, instead try and have a mixed, but healthy diet. The building blocks of your diet are fruits, vegetables, grain, proteins, and dairy foods. Try to think about all of these different groups and how you balance them out.
- The US Department of Agriculture’s “myplate” website helps you to understand in what proportion you should be eating each of the different groups.
- Visit the website here:
Eat with friends and family.You should try to eat healthily, but you should also enjoy your food and your mealtimes. Don't eat too quickly, and make meals into a big event. Try to eat meals at a table with friends or family so you can combine eating with talking, relaxing and having fun. Research suggests that families who eat a table, and not in front of the TV or computer, are less likely to be overweight.
Try some team sports.Getting lots of physical activity is very important for healthy growth and development in young people. Taking part in team sports can be a great way to get lots of exercise as well as being a fun way to spend time with your friends. Playing soccer, basketball, rugby, or any other intensive sport will get your blood pumping, and make you sweat and breathe hard.
- Playing team sports can also be a great way to relax, hang out with friends, and meet new people.
- You will learn great skills in team work and communication, all whilst playing your favourite sport.
Exercise on your own.Not everyone enjoys team sports, but that’s no reason not to get plenty of exercise. There are all sorts of exercise options that you can do on your own, or with other people, but not in a team. You could go for a run or bike ride, go swimming, or try some dancing.
- Activities such as martial arts are not typically team sports, but you will train with a group of people.
- Rock climbing is a great way to exercise with other people, but not in a competitive team environment.
- Doing muscle-building exercises like crunches and push-ups will also help you to grow strong and stay healthy.
Get an hour of exercise a day.You should try to include an hour of physical activity in your schedule every day. Incorporating exercise into your everyday life will really help you to stay healthy and strong. An hour seems like a lot, but you can break it down into smaller chunks and it will seem much easier.
- Playing soccer for half an hour at lunch is enough to get you halfway there.
- Find activities that you enjoy and you'll discover that an hour of exercise a day isn’t so difficult.
Cut down on TV and internet time.Being active means spending less time sat in front of TV and computer screens. Research shows that kids who spend more time sat in front of screens tend to be more likely to be overweight. Try to limit the amount of time that you are sitting around, and find active and physical things to do instead.A good target is to aim not spend more than two hours a day staring at a screen.
Looking After Yourself
Get into good hygiene habits.An important part of staying healthy is getting into good hygiene habits. That means you should wash properly and wear clean clothes. Take the time to wash thoroughly every day, including washing your feet. As you reach puberty you might find you start to produce more smelly sweat, or body odour, and daily showers will be important.
- Brush your teeth thoroughly twice and day, floss regularly, and make regular visits to your dentist.
- Don’t wear dirty, smelly or and stained clothes. Put them in the wash.
Get plenty of sleep.Getting enough sleep is a very important part of your natural development. Research has shown that sleep is just as important as a healthy diet and exercise for avoiding childhood obesity. Kids who don’t get enough sleep tend to crave sugary and starchy foods for energy during the day, which they wouldn’t if they had slept more. The amount of sleep you need will vary a little according to your age:
- 7 years old: 10 ½ hours a night.
- 8 years old: 10 ¼ hours a night.
- 9 years old: 10 hours a night.
- 10 years old: 9 ¾ hours a night.
- 11 years old: 9 ½ hours a night.
- 12-13 years old: 9 ¼ hours a night.
- 14-16 years old: 9 hours a night.
Visit the doctor if you are ill.If you have a healthy diet, and do plenty of physical activity, you will be giving yourself the best chance of staying healthy and avoiding illness. We can only lower our chances of getting ill, and we will all be ill at some point. If you do feel unwell, you should be sure to talk to your parents about it and go to see your doctor.
- If you have an infection or a virus, your doctor will be able to give you medicine to tackle it.
- Be sure to listen carefully to your doctor, as well as answering all the questions asked of you completely honestly.
Having Fun and Building Relationships
Have fun with friends and family.Staying healthy shouldn’t be just about monitoring what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how many hours of sleep you manage. Try to incorporate all of these elements into your life, but remember that being healthy and happy is also having fun with friends and family.
- Having great friends to play and learn with will really help you to be happy and healthy.
- Take care of these relationships and value them.
- If you begin to worry too much about your health, or be completely strict with how you live, you may end up becoming stressed and anxious.
- Your health is very important, and you should protect it by finding a good balance and still allowing yourself to have plenty of fun.
Look for role models.As a kid you will be spending a lot of time at school, so you should try to build strong relationships with the teachers you like and look up to. Having a good connection with a teacher can make a big difference if you are going through a tricky period at school. It's important to have role models in your life that you respect and admire.
- As well as teachers, older brothers or sisters and other family members can be great role models.
- A role model will help mentor you and give you some useful advice.
- You don't have to agree with everything you're role model does or says. Nobody is perfect or right all the time.
Make time to just relax.It’s important to be physically active, but it’s also important to give yourself a little time to just relax and take it easy. You can even combine relaxation with exercise if you try out some yoga. Reading, taking a warm bath, or just chatting with friends and family gives you time to forget about everything else for a while. It's important not to sweat the small stuff, and to give yourself a break when you need it.
- Relaxation doesn’t necessarily means using the computer or playing video games, which while not physically active, do make your brain work.
- Try to make time to be away from electronic screens and really relax.
- Learning to relax may also help you sleep better and fit more stuff into the rest of the day.
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