Thoughtful Parenting: 5 to thrive

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At a glance

Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0:

■ 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables

■ 2 or fewer hours of recreational screen time

■ 1 or more hours of physical activity

■ 0 sugary drinks

For more information, visit www.letsgo.org or www.facebook.com/LiveWellNWCO.

Source: LiveWell Northwest Colorado

The five in the Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 program reminds us to eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables provides vitamins and minerals, which are important for supporting growth and development as well as optimal immune function in children.

There are a few common reasons why people say they do not get enough servings of fruits and veggies each day. For instance, they don’t know how much is in a serving, they are not keeping track of how many servings they eat, they don’t eat at least one meal as a family each day, they have limited time to eat a healthy breakfast, they eat out during the week or family members like only a few kinds of fruits and vegetables and it gets boring eating the same ones.

A serving for a preschooler most easily is identified by the size of the palm of your child’s hand. Use that same general rule to understand the serving size for adults, so we all need about five palms full of fruits or vegetables each day.

Add one palm of fruits or vegetables each day by using the following tips:

■ Add one easy-to-prepare fruit to breakfast. Eat it on the way to school if time is limited.

■ Add one day each week when your family eats a meal together, and talk about the fruits and vegetables you are eating at that meal.

■ Add one fruit or vegetable to your child’s evening snack, and sit with your child while he or she eats it.

■ Choose one healthier option for you and your child if your family is eating fast food or at a restaurant.

■ Introduce one new fruit or vegetable to the family each week and share a fact about it (e.g., carrots come in many colors, not just orange).

■ Try one new way of preparing a vegetable for the family meal each week, and have everyone share how he or she liked it.

Having fresh fruits and vegetables that your family likes available year-round can be difficult and expensive. Try adding frozen or canned fruits and vegetables, which are just as good for you. Choose fruit packed in juice rather than syrup, and choose canned vegetables that are free of salt, and season them yourself.

One of the most effective ways to promote a healthy lifestyle for children is to adopt healthier habits as a family.

Barb Parnell is the LiveWell Northwest Colorado community coordinator. She can be reached at livewellbparnell@gmail.com. LiveWell partners with First Impressions of Routt County to ensure young children have access to healthy food and health education materials.

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