Especially during the school year, when you’re not there to see if they’re actually eating that nutritious brown-bag lunch you packed or swapping it for a less-healthy option (or worse, tossing it altogether), moms and dads often struggle with getting kids to make healthy choices.
The good news?
Teaching your children early in life about the importance of healthy dietary and lifestyle habits can give them the tools they need to become healthier adults. Here are some quick tips to help you get started:
DON’T FORGET THE FIBER
A high-fiber diet has been linked to many benefits for growing bodies, including heart health, good digestion, and even weight management. Most experts recommend that kids eat their “age plus 5” in grams of fiber every day, so try to encourage more low-sugar fruits, non-starchy veggies, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
PREPARE HEALTHY SNACKS BEFOREHAND
Sure, store-bought snacks are convenient, but many are heavily processed and contain high amounts of refined sugar but very little nutritional value. Your best bet is to set aside some time each week to prepare healthy snack options—think chopped fruits and veggies, cheese slices or homemade trail mix—them keep them on hand in the fridge or pantry for a quick, wholesome snack anytime.
GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE
According to the National Institutes of Health, kids should get at least one hour of physical exercise every day to help build healthy bones and keep muscles and joints strong and flexible. Regular exercise can also help burn calories and promote healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. Getting active can also help ease stress, increase mental clarity and boost their self-esteem—not to mention help kids sleep better at night!
SET THE EXAMPLE
When all is said and done, the surest way to teach kids about better habits is to set the example. Make healthy eating and regular exercise a part of your daily life, and be sure to talk to your kids about good nutrition and how it will help their bodies now and in the future. The more they know, the healthier your kids will be, and soon making smart choices will be second nature!