As obesity rates in the United States soar, it’s more important than ever to get your kids into healthy routines. We know from experience that what we do and learn as children is often carried into our adult lives, which is why it’s essential to introduce regular physical activity and good nutrition as fun and enjoyable as early as possible. Besides carrying habits with them, children also react and pick up on everything around them, even when we think they are not paying attention. If people they are close with react positively to exercise and healthy eating, they are more likely to mimic the response with similar enthusiasm. Read more for tips on fostering an inclination towards wellness.
1. Make food fun
Playing with food is often frowned upon but that doesn’t mean food can’t be playful. A great way to get your child excited to eat healthy foods is to have themed meals, such as a rainbow theme for a week with each day featuring food of one color. For example, day 1 would have all foods that are red or close to it, such as apples, beets, tomatoes, red peppers, and so on. Since the majority of fruits and vegetables are vibrant and colorful anyway, this idea is the perfect solution to making healthy foods approachable for young eaters. You can make this even more fun by getting the kids involved in the selection, cooking, and tasting process. Changing up your themes with input from your kids will keep the idea from getting boring. Be creative with your recipes and let your kids have a say!
2. Involve your kids in meal prep
Let’s face it: most of the unhealthiest food is quick and easy, making it appealing when we’re on the go. The opposite does not have to be true. With a quick search of “___ minute meals, ” you can find plenty of healthy recipes available to make in whatever time you have with whatever cooking skill-set you possess. Cooking these easy meals with your kids instead of just for your kids will show them that you care about what’s going into their bodies, and that good nutrition isn’t as hard as it can seem. In addition, you’ll get to spend time together, giving them something positive to associate with eating well.
3. Introduce everyday exercise
Working out is not reserved solely for the gym. Teach your kids that exercise can come from fun, everyday activities. No matter the weather, there is always something that can get you and your family moving. Research what your town has to offer--many areas have rock-climbing gyms, pools, ice-skating rinks, and dance studios with certain days dedicated to being free or reduced in price. If leaving home is impossible on a particular day, working out there can be just as fun with yoga or hula hooping. When exercise is presented as something fun, it won’t seem like a chore to avoid.
These tips are meant to introduce health and wellness to kids, but can apply to any age. Following these behaviors yourselves will create a positive image for your little ones to be inspired by and follow. Help your children be their healthiest selves by encouraging good nutrition and giving them plenty of opportunities to exercise.
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