Eat Well, Be Well
Healthy food choices are important for you and you children's overall health. Here, tips on how to encourage your kids to love healthy eating and fitness
Being fit means you are able to perform physical activity. It means you have the energy and strength to feel great. You don't have to be an athlete to be fit. Even people who can't do that much can work toward some level of fitness that helps them feel better and have more energy. All age levels should do at least one hour of exercise each day.
A great way to begin transforming your family is to start incorporating family-centered activities geared toward fitness. Family fitness can begin with adventure hikes, playing games of tag, even dancing around the house like my daughter and I do. We put on a strobe light and just move to the beat, laughing the whole time! If you are on vacation, race on the beach or simply jump rope together and make it a contest of who can do it the longest. Many families also now have trampolines. Kids love them! Allow your inner child to come out while being more active with your kids. This will not only help teach your kids the importance of fitness, it will also test your own conditioning levels. Educating your children on why being fit is important to prevent future illness.
We are seeing more cases of obesity and eating disorders in young children than ever before. We have to take control of what goes into our kids’ lunch pails, and also ensure that their school is offering the right choices. Sad, but the truth is most schools don’t! If you want your kids to have more energy for schoolwork, making small changes to the foods in their diet and how often they eat can make a big difference. You have to be the role model! Nutrition is directly linked to hyperactivity as well. If your child has ADHD you may want to start paying attention to how much sugar and chemicals they are getting (hidden) in their foods. Lactose (dairy), sucrose (starches and sweets) and fructose (fruit) are some common sugars they may be consuming. When you eat well and stay active as a family, everyone will feel more balanced and in control of their wellbeing.
Ensuring your kids engage in some sort of sport is also great, but just remember that if they don’t have solid nutrition in place and weak bodies they are at risk for injury, poor recovery and exhaustion. Many kids are missing out on key meals that could make all the difference in how they feel throughout their day. Parents wonder why kids binge eat at night or feel so tired when they get home, usually diet is linked to the symptoms. Are your kids skipping snacks or not eating enough protein, veggies and low glycemic index carbs? Could they have food allergies you are unaware of causing symptoms? Do you encourage eating every 2.5-3 hours and getting three main meals and at least 2-3 healthy snacks in involving some lean protein?
When you think of your health, also think of your kids. Don’t you want them to have healthy hearts, lungs, bones, muscles, and joints? Explain to them why you are changing their eating habits and how you want to be sure they do not have heart attacks, get diabetes, cancer or high blood pressure. Kids appreciate knowing this stuff. They will thank you later in life, even if they act like you are torturing them now!
Be creative and make it your family motto to say, “eat well, be well.” Catchy things like this make it fun. Being fit doesn’t have to seem like a chore, it can be introduced in a way that is positive and fun for everyone.