Optimal health begins with nutrition, fitness and active living. From guidelines on developing healthy eating habits and ideas on how to stay fit to strategies for giving your child a happy, healthy start, Military OneSource provides practical and fresh content as well as initiatives and programs that will motivate you to maintain healthy living and manage your health in creative ways. Now, more than ever, it is important to incorporate healthy daily practices into your complex schedules to help promote physical, mental and emotional wellness for all.
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Practice good nutrition
Healthy eating requires developing new diet habits like limiting sugar, snacking on fruits and vegetables, and choosing whole grains. Get your child’s day off to a good start with a breakfast high in protein and whole grains and keep healthy snacks available throughout the day. Aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Your local farmers market and military commissary are two great places to buy fresh produce at reasonable prices. The military commissary sells groceries and household goods at an average of 30% less than other markets and stores.
Help your child create a balanced, healthy day from start to finish
It’s important to teach children as early as possible actions and choices that promote health and happiness. Start by encouraging good nutrition and feeding them a hearty breakfast every morning, ensure healthy snacks are available throughout the day — at home and school — and be sure to take breaks to keep the body moving, whether it’s a family walk around the block or a quick game to get the blood pumping. Encourage physical activity at the end of the day as much as possible to lessen additional screen time. Promote good sleep habits and teach them how to communicate and express their feelings.
Improve family fitness
Make fitness and active living an important part of your family life. Swap some of your daily screen time for a stroll around the neighborhood with your children, a short bike ride, a game of kickball, a Frisbee toss in the backyard or hopscotch. Start the day with morning stretches or beginner yoga and sprinkle in movement breaks throughout the day. Get creative and have fun! Plant or weed a garden, wash the car, walk the dog, play freeze tag, rake leaves or pick up sticks.
Your installation MWR program is a great resource to get the entire family moving — with fitness classes, sports teams, golf courses, outdoor recreation programs and more.
Access fitness and nutrition resources
Military OneSource provides health and wellness coaching sessions to help you eat better, get in shape, manage stress and tackle transitions. We highlight a wide range of nutrition and fitness resources, tools and programs that will motivate you on the path to healthy living. This service is free for service members and their immediate family members.
Healthy habits for remote learning and work
Some families continue to access education and work remotely. At the forefront of parental concern is how to focus on good nutrition and activity habits in a world of remote learning and remote socializing. As parents, it’s important to focus on the key principles of setting your child up for mental, physical and emotional well-being. Model the behavior you’d like to see in your child and set a daily schedule that’s healthy and balanced for all.Activities to promote healthy habits
- Start your day off with a healthy, balanced breakfast.
- Stay active during the day. Encourage your children to get their bodies moving in the morning with stretching or yoga and intersperse active breaks throughout the day. Run around outside on short school breaks. Stuck inside? Toss beanbags into laundry baskets, build a fort with blankets and pillows, grab a hula hoop, play Duck, Duck, Goose or schedule a 10-minute virtual dance party with your child’s friends after classes end and before homework begins.
- Model healthy screen use. While increased screen time is inevitable in a world of virtual learning and social distancing, there are several ways parents can model healthy screen use and reclaim control of screen time.
- Practice the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes in front of your screen, look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds before returning to your screen.
- Blink! Studies show that eye strain increases because we don’t blink as often while we’re concentrating on our screens. Remind your child to blink often.
- Keep your screen at arm’s length. Keeping your screen approximately 25 inches away from your eyes reduces eye strain from blue light exposure.
- Be sure to put all of your devices to bed two hours before sleep as blue light has been shown to disrupt sleep patterns.
- Enjoy a media-free meal each day for all family members.
- Try instituting a device-free day each month for all family members.
- Engage in non-screen family activities. Play board games or work on a family puzzle instead of watching TV. Take a bike ride or family walk. Have a picnic in the yard.
Whatever your schedules and challenges, Military OneSource is here to help you and your family practice good nutrition, physical fitness and emotional well-being.
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