According to the Center for Disease Prevention over one third of children and adolescents in 2010 were overweight or obese. With this becoming an important national concern, parents are faced with the ever more critical task of ensuring that their children are taught healthy habits from a young age. Many parents are already working to eat healthier and exercise more, but it is easy to share those passions with kids as well. Follow these five fun family tips to make eating and living healthy easy and exciting.
- Move more! Adults tend to think of exercise in terms of going to the gym or following certain workout routines, but kids’ natural love of play makes it easy for the family to stay fit and have fun together. Walk or bike instead of driving, encourage kids to be outside, and look for local sports league to get kids involved in early. Parks are always great options to get the whole family outdoors and playing together. Use free apps such as Oh, Ranger! Park Finder, Park Finder, KIDzOUT, and Find Parks to locate nearby parks for some great family fitness.
- Along with moving more, limited screen time ensures that kids do not spend too much time loafing around. One of the most important things for parents to remember is that although kids do need limited screen time, they notice how much screen time their parents put in. Make sure this is a whole family initiative. That way it will have true sticking power and kids will learn how to occupy their time more effectively.
- Eating healthy is probably the number one concern of parents everywhere. Due to limited schedules and the picky palates of young kids, many parents can find this to be the hardest to stick with. It seems that the outside world is full of fattening, unhealthy choices which can make it even harder for parents on the go to stay with a healthy menu. By introducing lots of foods early on parents immediately are establishing their children to be better eaters. Keeping only healthy choices in the house and having fruits and vegetables pre-washed and cut makes it much easier for children to help themselves to fiber rich snacks. When on the run look to apps such as Restaurant Calorie Counter for Dummies, Healthy Fast Food, Fast Food Calorie Counter & Restaurant Nutrition Guide PRO, and Fast Food Calories Hunter to find the healthiest choices. A great thing is that many are now offering milk and fruit as options in place of the traditional soda and fries.
- Getting the family involved in choosing healthy foods makes it more fun and can get even the pickiest eaters on board with healthy choices. Go shopping together either at the local supermarket or nearby farmer’s markets, which can be a really fun experience for kids. Give them options such as strawberries or blueberries so they feel more in control, but either way the choice is a healthy one. Growing your own food is always a great family project to take on which little ones can easily assist with. Planting, watering, and eventually picking sweet potatoes, corn, and tomatoes will put a personal investment in these healthy foods that entices many children to try something new. Garden Produce USA, Vegetable Garden Guides, Organic Gardening-Beginner’s Guide, and Home Vegetable Gardening are a few of the many apps that put gardening advice and tips at your fingertips.
- Build up the interest and knowledge of your kids by discussing how awesome their bodies are. Make sure to talk about eating healthy and exercising in terms of how its gives bodies energy to do amazing things. Adults can sometimes see healthy diets as a quick weight loss solution but the goal here is to make lasting healthy habits that will stick with kids over their lifetime. Explain why it is important to take of your body, and ask kids how they like to take of their bodies. This is yet another way of ensuring that they are actively engaged and understand the importance of living healthy.