Many kids spend a fair amount of time on tablets, computers, phones, or watching TV each day. During this time, they may be exposed to several advertisements promoting foods and beverages that are often high in calories, saturated fat, added sugars, high sodium, and lack vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Not to mention, the more time children spend in front of screens, the less time they spend engaging in physical activity. It is recommended that children are exposed to no more than 2 hours of screen time and aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.
Here are some ways to reduce the influence of screen time temptations and promote healthier eating:
- Avoid watching TV or using phones while eating. Eating together regularly without distractions also offers the opportunity to promote healthful eating and family bonding.
- Watch children’s programs without advertisements or on platforms where the advertisements can be skipped.
- Spend time together learning about foods. Take your children to the farmer’s market or introduce them to different fruits and vegetables in the produce section of your grocery store.
- Let kids help in the kitchen. Children will be more likely to try new foods if they helped prepare the meal, even if it’s as simple as washing the produce off.
- Set limits around screen time. No screen time for children under 2 years of age, up to one hour for children ages 2-5, and 2 hours or less for kids 6+.
- Be a good role model. Kids learn so much of what they do by watching. In order for your children to build healthy habits, they should see their parents also limiting screen time and choosing healthier food and beverage options too.
Written by Victoria Luera, Lone Star Circle of Care Registered Dietitian. Submitted by Ashley Wild