Here are some healthy habits for kids for a better life.
The fact is most everyone wants to eat junk food and sit around watching lots of TV and playing games. That’s why so many of us are fat and getting unhealthier by the year. Thankfully, it really doesn’t take much to turn that around. Below are some easy tips to encourage healthy habits for kids.
- Get Active – Want an active kid, be an active adult and take them with you when you’re doing activities like spin cycle, yoga, or running. The more you exercise, the more important it will become to the kids. Kids grow up doing a certain thing and it becomes a habit. Once something is a habit it’s hard to give it up. So, if you want active kids (and you do) you’ll need to be active too.
- Sign Them Up for Sports Early – Try out different sports, and other physical activities like martial arts classes. When children get involved in group activities it makes it easier to keep doing it because the social aspect is fun even when sometimes the game is hot or not fun. No one likes standing in the outfield when it’s 102 degrees but study after study shows that being active pays off for everyone. And as an added bonus, they learn how to work as a team.
- Require Outdoor Time as a Way to Earn More Screen Time – If your child likes screens and they’re sure to like them these days, find a way to shorten screen time by starting young kids out with time limits and letting them earn more time with more activity. Or don’t let them have screen time until they do a decent amount of exercise. You have to know your child. Some kids do well with restrictions but others (like mine) will rebel if you restrict screen time so it is better to just not allow screen time until certain healthy activities are accomplished.
- Do Fun Active Things Together – Don’t make all physical activity a chore. Instead, make it fun! Go play miniature golf, go bowling, go horseback riding, go skating – do things that are fun as a family unit that requires movement. Play basketball, go swimming, bicycle around the neighborhood. Let your child pick an active activity. They will be likely to enjoy the exercise if they picked it. Kids love having control over things. It gives them a sense of significance and makes them feel like their opinions and feelings matter.
Healthy Meals for Kids
- Pay for fun Experiences More than “fun” Food – When you look back on your childhood you likely do remember the good food your momma made you, but you likely also remember the awesome experiences you had and not the restaurants you ate at. The truth is, most restaurant food isn’t even that good. Instead of eating out, cook at home and save the money for something fun like a beach day or an amusement park. You can control the ingredients in each meal and can be sure that your kids are getting the healthy meals you want them to eat.
- Eat Well – Speaking of eating, make sure you prepare and get your family to help prepare healthy food. That means you should eat more produce. Try to make half your plate produce every single day. Don’t forget to cut refined sugar, replace “white” carbs with whole wheat, and eat a palm sized amount of meat or protein with every meal. When the kids are involved in planning and preparing meals, they are more likely to eat the food. They will also feel more in control over the food they eat. Plus it reduces the fights about certain foods that they don’t like.
Healthy Meal Ideas for Kids
It’s not as hard as you think to make kids’ meals a little more healthy. You don’t have to change everything you eat. Just take what they already eat and make a few substitutions. Don’t forget to add water throughout the day.
Use whole wheat bread instead of white whenever you make your child’s favorite sandwiches. Make it fun. Cut the sandwiches into fun shapes like a star or a smiley face. If you think you can get away with it, add spinach instead of iceberg lettuce.
Chicken nuggets are a staple for most kids but sometimes they can be over-processed. I really like to use this Parmesan Chicken Nugget recipe because it is quick, healthy, and best of all…you can freeze it! Another great way is to use ground chicken to make some nuggets because you can sneak in some vegetables. Carrots anyone?
Macaroni and Cheese
Macaroni and cheese is a hard one to make healthy but keep in mind that sometimes, just a little healthier is better than nothing. Replace the pasta with tricolor or whole wheat pasta. Use low fat cheese or a cheese replacement like Daiya. Or you could make this recipe (it adds vegetables). If your kids don’t like the changes, don’t fret. The point is to get them to eat more healthy choices. Try not to put them off to trying new things. You have to pick and choose your food battles.
You don’t have to give up everything that’s sedentary. It’s not that hard to develop healthy habits for kids. However, you do need to be more active than sedentary and, most of all, eat right. Eating is about 90 percent of health. It has been proven by many experiments. If you want a good book about teaching your children to be active and healthy for life check out Marilu Henner’s book “Healthy Kids: Help Them Eat Smart and Stay Active–For Life”. It has some good tips and goes into a little more depth than I did here.
It’s up to you to teach your kids to be more healthy. These are skills that they will need to use their whole life. If you start now, your kids will have healthy habits set up so they do not have to struggle with obesity and the other diseases that go along with obesity.
My name is Nicole Smith and I am a disabled home maker and blogger at Disabled Homemaking. I live in Texas with my husband, 2 daughters, and 3 cats. Everyone including the cats have some sort of varying degrees of disabilities but we make it work!