COVID-19: Kids at Home? Nutrition, Activities Still Necessary

Mike Moen

MINNEAPOLIS — With Minnesota schools closed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus, parents may be trying to impose more structure at home than they’re used to. Health experts say being flexible and creative can help families don’t stay on track with healthy habits.

Sueling Schardin is a registered dietitian with the American Heart Association. She said keeping unhealthy snacks out of reach is a good start. She says that can be done by only leaving out one or two each day and hiding the main supply.

And if your local store is running low on fresh fruits and vegetables, she said other options can work.

“Even if you don’t have the lower-sodium canned vegetables, you can always drain the liquid and rinse the vegetables to get rid of some of that sodium,” Schardin said.

She said bags of frozen fruit work well, too. As for keeping kids active, family walks and having kids help with yard work are possibilities.

For lower-income households, Schardin stressed local schools still are making free meals available. And if you don’t have a yard or ample play space in your home, simple things like a family dance party will keep kids moving and even boost morale.

Schardin says constant video-gaming or binge-watching with no exercise is never a good idea, but technology can be useful in these situations.

“Teachers have been great about posting different activities that kids can do, so take advantage of those resources,” she said. “And the dance community has been awesome, and they’re posting a lot of free online classes on Instagram.”

Schardin said if you’re making any food donations, try to ensure they’re healthy items, such as rice, pasta and canned vegetables. More tips are available at