The RD Parent Empowerment Program is a unique program that brings the expertise of Registered Dietitians (RDs) into school and community settings to educate and empower parents to improve their families’ eating and physical activity habits and to influence their peers to do the same – much like the Together CountsTM program. The program was developed by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation (formerly the American Dietetic Association Foundation) in collaboration with Healthy Children Healthy Futures and has been funded for the past two years by the MetLife Foundation.
Through interactive parent workshops and hands-on cooking activities with their children, parents have made important changes in their family’s eating and physical activity habits. A major focus of the parent workshops is on the 8 Habits of Healthy Children and Families™ based on what research shows to promote healthy body weight in children.
8 Habits of Healthy Children and Families
- Be physically active at least one hour a day
- Spend less than two hours a day on electronic equipment
- Eat a nutritious breakfast every day
- Eat vegetables and fruits with meals and snacks
- Make time for nutritious family meals at home
- Be wise about portion size
- Drink more liquids, such as low-fat or fat-free milk
- Ensure regular bed time for your kids to include at least nine hours of sleep every night
(See also Teaching Kids Life Balance)
As parents learn practical tips for making healthful eating and physical activity changes, they start to form new family habits. These habits may start at home, for example, parents offering more fruits and vegetables at dinner, or outside of the home, too. Families can order smaller portions when dining out, and children can be smart about the choices they make at school. And, with the many changes that have occurred this year with the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, it makes it easier than ever for kids to adopt healthful eating habits every day!
For more helpful tips to help families shop smart, cook healthy, and eat right, go to www.kidseatright.org.
What changes have your family made recently to improve your family’s eating and exercise habits? Share in the comments below!
This article was written by Katie Brown, Ed.D., RD, LD, the National Education Director for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, the world’s largest organization of Registered Dietitians and nutrition professionals. Kids Eat Right is a one-stop site by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and its Foundation to help busy families shop smart, cook healthy and eat right.
Check out Together Counts’ resources for more tips on forming healthy habits for your family: