As the school year picks up in Palm Beach County, help your kids eat healthy and get active at school and home with First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign.
In the last three decades, the rate of childhood obesity in America has tripled. Today, nearly one in three children is overweight or obese. Since becoming first lady in 2009, Obama has committed herself to the Let’s Move! campaign’s ultimate goal of ending childhood obesity within a generation.
|First Lady Michelle Obama in The White House Garden. Her Let's Move! campaign promotoes healthy eating and exercise to end childhood obesity within a generation.|
Implementing Let’s Move! this school year is easy. Begin with food. In 2012, the U.S. Department of Agriculture released new guidelines for school lunches, the first major revision in 15 years. The changes boost the nutritional quality of the meals, requiring more whole grains, fruits and vegetables as well as less fat and sodium. Portion size is also a key amendment, with menus planned for grades K-5, 6-8 and 9-12 to ensure and demonstrate proper portions.
Healthy choices can also be made at home. To promote better nutrition, the USDA introduced MyPlate, a new food icon that serves as a visual reminder to make fruits and vegetables half of every meal, filling the rest of your plate with whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. The Let’s Move! website also has sample 2,000-calories-per-day menus with recipes for everything from breakfast burritos to spinach lasagna roll-ups and Hawaiian pizza. When it comes to eating healthy as a family, always remember the three P’s: Plan meals and snacks for the week, purchase when you aren’t hungry and stick to your grocery list, and prepare meals in advance on days when you have free time.
The final component to the Let’s Move! campaign is physical activity. The initiative recommends students between the ages of 6 and 17 be active for 60 minutes a day at least five days a week, while adults should be active for 30 minutes five times a week. There are many ways to meet these quotas and spend time together as a family: Schedule a pre-dinner jog, participate in a weekend relay race or take a cue from the White House and plant a garden.