*This is a partnered guest post
Unfortunately, the childhood obesity rate has doubled over the course of the last 30 years. As a busy family on the go, the temptation to go out for fast food after a long day at work and school is completely understandable. However, habitually making unhealthy choices can quickly set your family down the path towards serious health problems, like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Here are some tips to encourage your children to start creating healthy habits at a young age.
Below, are Tips to Create Healthy Habits for Children:
Try New Foods
Although it’s ideal that you introduce your kids to a variety of healthy foods starting as early as possible, you can still start this process even when they’re a little older. Start to normalize healthy eating by trying a new recipe at least once a week, but make sure to provide sides that they’re familiar with. Also, patience is key when introducing new foods—studies have shown that it can take up to 12 attempts before children will accept a new food.
Exercise as a Family
It’s summertime, and you’ll probably be taking several trips to the neighborhood parks and swimming pool. Whenever possible, use walking or biking as your primary transportation around the neighborhood. Daily activity is so important for strengthening your cardiovascular system, and both kids and adults need to make sure to pencil in enough time for exercise.
It’s hard to find quality time to spend together when you’re juggling work and your kids’ extracurricular activities. Although cooking might feel like a chore, it doesn’t have to be. Start involving your kids in the cooking process as young as possible to foster a love and appreciation of meal preparation. Start by introducing small roles, like grating cheese or peeling potatoes. Older kids can work their way up to chopping veggies, and in fact, it’s a wonderful skill for them to have before they’re off on their own as young adults.
Take Advantage of Healthy Alternatives
If your kids will only eat a sandwich on whole wheat bread if it contains mayo, don’t worry. There are healthy alternatives available to mayo, offered by hamptoncreek. This health and the environmentally conscious company offers eggless mayo, cookie dough, and salad dressings, so you can continue to enjoy these foods without feeling guilty.
Take Time to Eat Breakfast
Many Americans fall into the trap of skipping breakfast. By passing up this important meal or opting for a quick fix like a doughnut, your body is forced to run without enough fuel. One of the best examples you can set for your children is to wake up early enough to prepare a healthy breakfast, or set aside some time the night before to make sure breakfast is ready the next morning. For those busy school day mornings, overnight oats are the perfect solution. Oats are packed with fiber to help you stay full for several hours, and they’re good for heart health.
Grow Your Own Food
If you’re looking for a way to get your kids outside and working on an ongoing project, a garden is a great opportunity. You don’t need a lot of space to get started. If you only have a patio available for use, you can try growing herbs or beans. A backyard provides plenty of space for amateur gardeners, and there are online resources to help you get started on your journey. Not only will you and your kids know exactly where your food is coming from, but you’ll also be able to encourage your kids to be responsible. A garden requires a lot of care, but the payoff is worth it. Nothing compares to making meals from something you’ve grown yourself.
As a parent, it’s important to start thinking about ways to encourage healthy habits in your kids. Increasingly busy schedules are often the culprit for poor eating choices, but it doesn’t have to be that way. By starting out early, you can teach your kids important lessons that they’ll carry with them throughout life. Start out by trying new plant-based recipes at least a few times per month, and if possible, carve out space and time for gardening. Encourage your children to help out in the kitchen so they learn the importance of meal planning and set aside time each day for some physical activity. Summer is the perfect time to get into the habit of exercising regularly, so start now and establish a routine.