While kids may not agree, parents usually know what they’re talking about. Sometimes, though, it helps to have reinforcement from outside sources.
When Shanna Corbett saw an ad in the Grand Forks Herald for Healthy ‘n Fit Kids, she decided to call the number listed and learn more. She spoke with Rachel Aure, a health and wellness coach at the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics and one of the facilitators of Healthy ‘n Fit Kids, to learn more about the program.
“I’m all about eating healthy and being fit,” she said. “Our daughter, McKenna, is at the age where even though mom and dad might make suggestions about healthy eating, it can be helpful to have outside influences suggest things, too.”
“Healthy ‘n Fit Kids is a 12-week weight management program designed to teach kids and their families healthy eating strategies and to promote physical activity,” said Rachel. “We cover everything from portion control and healthy snacking to how to make exercise fun. Our hope is that they will take what they learn, adapt it to their everyday lives and as a result, get on track, get fit and get healthy.”
“Rachel was just as excited about the program as we were,” said Shanna. “We talked with McKenna and decided to give it a try.”
In the spring of 2013, McKenna, now 11, and seven other kids ages 9-11 attended class one night a week for 12 weeks.
“We went into the class with an open mind in hopes to expose McKenna to healthy eating and exercise options, in addition to what we teach at home,” said Shanna. “What we found was that our whole family learned things. Parents even participated in some of the classes right alongside the kids.”
“The program was really fun,” said McKenna. “I liked the exercise balls the best. We also would do relay races with nutrition and exercise questions.”
While Rachel worked with the group on exercise, dietitian Danika Warner-Noreen taught about nutritious eating. The class talked about portion control and healthy substitutions that can be made in some of the kids’ favorite meals.
“Danika showed us how to make yogurt parfaits, pita pizzas and dips with healthy ingredients,” said McKenna. “She also talked with us about the importance of drinking water and to realize that when you feel full, you should stop eating.”
Since the class ended, Shanna said McKenna has been more conscious about what she eats.
“They emphasized that you don’t have to eliminate all treats from your diet, but to enjoy them truly as a treat, not an everyday item,” said Shanna. “When given choices, McKenna now tends to choose the healthier option.”
McKenna stays active throughout the year with figure skating and softball.
“We’ve talked that exercise and healthy eating isn’t something you do for just 12 weeks,” said Shanna. “You have to do it your whole life. Healthy ‘n Fit Kids helped McKenna, and really our whole family, refocus our food and exercise choices. If everyone participates as a family, we’ll all be healthier.”
What healthy food and exercise choices does your family make? Let us know.
For more information on Healthy ‘n Fit Kids, please call the Sanny and Jerry Ryan Center for Prevention and Genetics at 701.732.7620.