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With work, meetings and school activities, families have many distractions that keep them away from the family table. Eating together, however, has many benefi ts. Family meals promote communication skills, cooperation, cooking skills and table manners. Families who eat together also tend to eat more nutritiously. Further, children who help prepare a meal tend to eat the food prepared.
Have you ever gone into a room and forgotten what you went to retrieve? Don’t worry. That happens to most people at least sometimes. Have you fueled your brain lately? Just like your car, your brain needs fuel to operate effectively. Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes foods rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial for the brain and the rest of your body.
A child’s small tummy usually cannot hold enough at meals to keep him or her satisfied until the next meal. Kids younger than 6 may need to eat two to three snacks a day because they usually can’t meet their daily requirements in just three meals. Think of snacks as minimeals to help fi ll the gaps in their diets. Children should be getting the majority of their calories from a variety of grains (preferably whole grains), vegetables, fruits, milk products and lean protein sources.
Help people stay healthy by providing nourishing options. Many people shortchange themselves on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Eating a diet rich in these foods can promote good health by helping reduce our risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases. If you are bringing a dish to a potluck, consider providing the veggies, fruits or whole grains. Bring a large nutrient-rich salad with a variety of greens and sprinkle with dried fruit and nuts or seeds. Bring whole-grain bread or crackers.
Physical activity helps maintain good blood flow to the brain. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that most adults get 30 minutes of moderate activity most days, preferably every day. Short segments of physical activity (such as three 10-minute walks) count toward the goal. Stimulate your brain by adding variety to your activities. Try a new activity, alternate activities throughout the week or take a new route when you walk or jog. Routine activities don’t challenge your brain, so mix it up a little.