This year, fill your resolution list with “good-for-you” goals that are easy to sustain. Let’s make 2021 a healthier year for you.
- Ring in the New Year with a healthier diet. Focus on eating more antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains. Emphasize on high-quality protein sources (seafood, lean meats, eggs, low-fat dairy). Consider more plant-based meals and snacks such as bean casseroles, walnut burger, hummus dip with veggies, etc.
- February is all about love. Bonding with your kids and teaching by example is the best way to educate your kids on the importance of good nutrition to grow strong and healthy. As a parent or caregiver, you can raise healthy eaters by sharing a love for healthy foods and a passion for cooking. Even if cooking is not your thing, food that is prepared at home with love is healthier and always tastes better than boxed or processed foods.
- March marks the beginning of spring. Elevate the power of family meal times! Parenting and health experts recommend eating and talking together to improve nutrition, promote healthy weight for kids, improve behavior, enhance academic performance, and unify the family.
- April is spring break and that means spending more time at home. Make meal time free from interruptions by reducing electronic distractions such as television and mobile devices.
- In May, we pamper moms. Involve your kids in grocery shopping, meal planning and meal preparations. Ask them to choose a new fruit or a vegetable to try every time you go grocery shopping. Little ones can learn to categorize foods into food groups while older kids can try new recipes, or make their own. Visit Recipes | MyPlate for healthy recipe ideas.
- In June, we celebrate dads and the great outdoors. Gardening is a fun way to increase physical activity and a great opportunity to show children the value of foods, including the time, labor and effort it takes to grow fruits and vegetables. Children are more likely to eat what they grow.
- In July, we celebrate our independence with outdoor activities. Food safety and sanitation should remain at the top of the list. Washing hands frequently is a habit that is here to stay and with good reason. Proper personal hygiene and cleaning of all food contact surfaces and utensils is essential for a healthy microbiome.
- August is vacation time! Diversify your food choices! Try foods from different cultures and ethnicities. It can expand your repertoire of favorite foods and broaden your sensitivity to other cuisines and cultures.
- September is back to school time. “Strong is the new healthy.” Studies have shown that muscle strength equals mental (cognitive) strength and emotional strength. Starting your day with a high protein breakfast is associated with physical and mental strength. Increased physical activity in childhood is associated with better health outcomes later in life.
- October is the sweet month. Moderation is key. We are born with internal signals that tell us what to eat and how much to eat. Allow children to eat to their appetite. Indulging in the occasional treat or favorite rich-meal is part of building a healthy relationship with food.
- November is the month of gratitude. Be aware of your brain-gut connection. Any external stressors (traffic jam, concerns, stress) can cause an internal chain reaction that can affect digestion, immune system, mood and emotions. Probiotics have proven beneficial to improve gastrointestinal symptoms associated with stress. Practice relaxation techniques like breathing, meditation, yoga, walking, and getting better sleep!
- December is a busy month, so be sure to establish a healthy routine. Schedule your meal and snack times as you would everything else. Approach snacking as an opportunity to do something healthy for your body. Create a snack pantry with healthy choices such as fruits, vegetables, almonds, walnuts and pistachios, or test your skills and try making your own grab-n-go snack bars!
There are many benefits to eating well, from disease prevention to overall health and wellness. That’s why Nicklaus Children’s Hospital and Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation
have partnered with Kohl’s Cares on a program called #GiveMe5 to encourage children and families throughout the community to stay active and eat their five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Our partnership brings healthy eating tips and recipes to kids in local schools and to families at various community events throughout the year. For more information, please visit our #GiveMe5 page
About Leyanee Perez
Leyanee Perez is a Registered / Licensed Dietitian specializing in Community Programs and Health Communications who has worked with Nicklaus Children's Health System since 2018. She has impacted the lives of many children and families throughout Miami-Dade County through the nutrition outreach program called #GiveMe5, a partnership between Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Foundation and Kohl’s Cares. She works in collaboration with government agencies, faith-based organizations and schools to host a farmer’s market and deliver educational workshops focused on the importance of eating five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.