Get Active at Least 60 Minutes per Day

by Brittany Lightsey, M.S., R.D., L.D.

May 2014

May Kids SwimmingPhysical fitness supports a long, healthy life – a parent’s ultimate goal for their child. Georgia’s children may not be able to achieve this goal if our current habits continue. In the 2011-2012 school year, 20 percent of Georgia’s schoolchildren could not pass any of five basic fitness tests, including a flexibility test where you sit on your bottom and reach for your toes. This May, challenge your family to celebrate National Physical Fitness and Sport Month by being active for 60 minutes per day, everyday. Try these tips to keep your family active this month and all summer long.

  • Take a family bike ride or walk after dinner. Summer brings longer hours of sunlight. Take advantage.
  • Go to the park. Spending time in the fresh air can do wonders for your body and your mood.
  • Break it up. Do activities for 10-15 minutes at a time. Being active for 15 minutes 3 times per day can have nearly the same benefits as doing your activity all at once.
  • Turn TV time into active time. Have competitions during commercial breaks – who can do the most sit-ups or push-ups? Try yoga or playing with your dog.
  • Be a good role model. I cannot say this one enough. If your children don’t see you exercising or moving your body, they will follow your footsteps. Make physical activity a priority in your life and your children will likely follow suit.

Don’t forget the little things count! One of the most common things I hear is “I don’t have time to exercise.” Exercise certainly can be daunting! Don’t let it intimidate you. Incorporate little spurts of activity into your everyday activities. Try these tips:

  • Cook dinner together as a family several times per week.
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park your car a little farther away.
  • Involve the whole family in yard work and house cleaning.

However, we need to remember that the more vigorous the activity, the more we are doing our bodies a favor. Kick your daily activities up a notch!

Did you know? Physical activity also helps you sleep better. Are your children getting the recommended 9 hours of sleep every night? If not, think about adding more physical activity to your child’s day and taking the TV out of his or her bedroom.

May VeggiesRoasted Spring Asparagus
From Kids Eat Right

In Georgia, May is the optimal time to buy fresh spring asparagus, but if you are anything like most parents I talk to, your kiddos despise asparagus. Give asparagus a try this month with this delicious recipe. Remember, offering your children vegetables prepared in different ways will increase the chances that they will like it. Don’t get discouraged if your children do not like asparagus the first time. It can take 10-15 exposures to a new food before kiddos may begin to like it.

1 pound thin asparagus spears
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
1 tablespoon fresh grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
2. Clean and trim asparagus. Peel the ends if the spears are thick.
3. Drizzle a roasting pan with the olive oil and lay the asparagus evenly in the pan. Turn to coast with the oil. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Roast the asparagus for approximately 20 minutes, or until the stalks are tender yet crisp. Remove from the pan and transfer to a serving dish.
5. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Be sure to check out our articles monthly on the School Food and Nutrition Website found on These articles will highlight tips, tricks, and recipes to keep your family happy and healthy! For questions, please contact Brittany Lightsey, MS, RD, LD at