Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle for Kids
If you’re an adult who didn’t become interested in building healthy habits until much later in life, it’s understandable for you to want to create a healthy lifestyle for your kids starting at a young age. It’s easier to start while they’re young instead of having to undo bad habits once they’re older. Here are some of the top ways to encourage a healthy lifestyle for kids.
Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle for Kids
This post is sponsored but as always, all opinions are my own.
Find Exercise That They Enjoy
It’s a sad reality that children are more sedentary than ever before. On average, kids spend a staggering seven hours per day using technology. To prevent excessive use of the computer or gaming console, try to find a form of exercise that your kids enjoy. If you’ve tried enrolling them in a sport like soccer or basketball to no avail, try taking the pressure off by going out for a walk as a family a few times per week. As long as your child is active for at least 30 minutes per day, you’re on the right track. During the hot summer months, a daily trip to the pool is a great form of exercise, and it’s even better if you walk there and back.
Eat Dinner as a Family
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to set a good example. If you want to encourage healthy habits for your children, you must be able to stick to healthy decisions yourself. Sitting down for a well-balanced meal at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV discourages overeating or eating from boredom. You’ll also get the chance for uninterrupted family time, which can be hard to manage when you have a hectic schedule. Making time for dinner together at least a few times per week is a wonderful way to demonstrate healthy eating and bond as a family.
Find Healthy Alternatives to Favorites
Animal products are hard on the environment and our health. Empty calories add up in condiments like mayo and salad dressing, and sometimes, adding extra flavor to healthy food is the only way kids will willingly eat their veggies. Luckily, Hampton Creek offers gluten-free, sustainably produced mayo, called Just Mayo. This product comes in different flavors and it’s also eggless, so it’s a great alternative to the standard mayo products on the market that are overly processed and full of artificial ingredients.
Pack Their Lunch
Unfortunately, foods served at school cafeterias usually aren’t very healthy. Cafeteria food is also notorious for being unappetizing, so take a few extra minutes each morning to pack a lunch for your child. If they’re old enough, encourage them to pack their own lunch to foster responsibility and foresight.
Limit Sugary Drinks
Whether it’s chocolate milk, fruit juice, or a soda, sugary drinks are everywhere, and they’re especially popular among children. Empty calories in sugary drinks can quickly add up and lead to weight gain or diabetes later in life. Although it’s not realistic to ban sugary drinks from your child’s life entirely, consider reserving sugary drinks for the weekend only. It’s important for your kids to realize the dangers of drinking sugary concoctions every single day.
Try New Foods
Kids are known for being especially picky when it comes to nutritionally dense foods like vegetables, but it doesn’t have to be this way. When you start encouraging experimentation with food at an early age, they’re less likely to shy away from trying new foods. Try to incorporate a new veggie every week, and don’t be too discouraged if it’s proving difficult to find veggies that they like. It can take some time before you find foods that they’re happy to eat on a regular basis. Be sure to keep a positive attitude and make this a fun experience.
Helping your kids create and maintain a healthy lifestyle can be one of your most rewarding experiences as a parent. Taking the time to prepare meals together and sit down as a family are memories that you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.
When you’re encouraging your kids to build healthy habits, make sure to set a good example by promoting plenty of physical activity and demonstrating healthy eating habits yourself. Make it a priority to try out new foods from time to time, and try to limit the amount of sugar that your kids drink. When you start on the path towards a healthy lifestyle early, your kids have a much better chance of sticking to habits created in childhood.