A healthy start starts here.

Spring’s Here! Get Active and Eat Healthy.

Now that spring has arrived, take advantage of the warmer weather by getting outside and diving into healthy fitness and eating habits. A few small changes in your family’s diet and physical activity can have a huge impact on your children.

You can find excellent suggestions for improving your family’s health with the Small Starts for Families tool from Healthier Tennessee. See more details and signup information at the bottom of this article.

Practicing healthy habits every day at home will help your children live a healthier life, as well as help them achieve more in school and in life. Here are some tips to consider from kidcentral tn and HealthierTN.com:

  • Consider extending the amount of time you and your child spend being active each day. Fitness experts say children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day.
    • Walking or riding bikes together is great for fitness and your relationship. If you try this, consider changing up your route and the time of day you go. This helps keep your child’s interest.
    • Trying simple games such as jumping rope, skipping, tag or hide-and-seek will get you and your kids moving together, and remind yourself how much fun playing can be.
  • Visit parks and community centers.
    • Introducing your kids to sports they haven't tried—for example, soccer, swimming or tennis—can lead to a new favorite activity.
  • Having children help with dinner or make a healthy menu that you prepare is a great way to get them actively involved.
    • Eating dinner together as a family is proven to reduce obesity rates. Consider aiming for at least three sit-down, screen-free meals a week.
    • Cooking options such as roasting or steaming are healthier than frying.
    • Think about adding one new vegetable each week.
    • After dinner, strolling around the neighborhood with your kids will aid digestion, help control blood sugar and add exercise to your day.
  • If you’re looking to avoid eating fast food, try bringing healthy snacks for those times when you’re eating away from home.
  • Limiting foods and drinks high in calories and sugar can help you and your family maintain a healthy weight.
  • Consider rewarding your kids for making healthy choices by giving them treats such as stickers, badges, or a picture book or coloring book instead of sweets.
  • Limit TV and computer time. Consider monitoring screen time (including TV, video games and computers) so that it doesn’t exceed more than two hours per day. Experts recommend against allowing children to have a TV or computer in their bedroom. Click here to learn more about limiting screen time.

Small Starts

Small Starts are simple, healthy actions you can turn into routine habits in as little as 10 minutes a day. The state of Tennessee has more than 60 Small Starts tips that you can browse, save and come back to as ideas for helping your family members lead healthier lives. To set up a customized Small Starts plan for your family, sign up at HealthierTN.com.

Win a Free Night’s Stay at a State Park

Not only do Tennessee State Parks offer an abundance of outstanding fitness options for families, but the park system’s free app—Healthy Parks, Healthy Person TN—gives Tennessee citizens the opportunity to earn rewards for being physically active. Rewards can be used toward things such as a free night’s stay at a cabin at a Tennessee State Park. The app was created for all ages and abilities. Sign up at HealthyParksTN.com and start earning points.

Additional Resources

Join GetFit.TN.gov to track personal health and fitness goals. GetFitTN Kids & Teens features additional resources geared toward young people.

You can create a personalized daily food plan for healthier eating choices through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ChooseMyPlate.gov program.

Track your nutrition and physical activity to maintain a healthy body weight using the USDA’s SuperTracker.