Food Services tip: Play your way to better health
From the November Wellness newsletter from the district’s Food Services department
This it’s tough to get that 30 minutes of exercise most days that experts recommend for good health? We hear you. But how about we substitute “play” for “exercise”? Sound easier now? Of course, you can play alone, but it’s easier (and a lot more fun) to play with a partner, and it’s easier still with an entire family. YOURS! And the perfect time to start is Thanksgiving weekend! Anyone for all-hands-on-desk touch football? Send everybody deep and toss it up for grabs! Or soccer, if you prefer – 30 minutes of exercise? GOOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLLLL! Kite-flying works, too. Or hopscotch. Raking a big old leaf pile and jumping in. There’s no shortage of ways to use play to jumpstart an exercise habit. And on Thanksgiving there’s no shortage of playmates either!
Other tips for playing your way to better health:
Try lots of different fruits, veggies and whole grains for a healthy diet. You’re bound to find a few you really like.
- Whole grains: Foods that are rich in fiber, like whole wheat bread and other whole grain foods, help you eat slower because we tend to chew those foods longer. Fiber-rich foods helps you feel full longer, too.
When physical activity feels more like play and less like a difficult and boring chore, it’s easier to start and stick with an exercise habit. What do you and your family enjoy? Riding bikes on a trail? Hiking? Building a snowman? Dancing? Playing hide and seek? It’s all exercise – but it’s also fun!
Playing isn’t just important for how it helps our bodies. Play builds brainpower, too, by honing problem-solving, cooperation and self-reliance skills. Small wonder that schools with unstructured recess have fewer behavioral problems and register higher standardized test scores!
Family play time helps build stronger families, too. Playing together strengthens communication and creates opportunities to share both laughter and intimacy, all the while making priceless, lifelong family memories.