Following a healthy lifestyle is important at any age, but studies show that the earlier we adapt to this lifestyle, the easier it is to follow. As such, parents are responsible for modeling positive, healthy behaviors for their children early in their lives.
By leading by example and embracing healthy living, you’re helping your child develop healthy habits which will help them “grow up happy and healthy as well as contribute to preventing future health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and cancer.”
However, as children are generally more responsive to things they enjoy, it’s important you’re able to make them feel excited about the concept of healthy living – and here are some tips you can use to do exactly that!
1. Get creative in the kitchen.
One of the easiest ways to promote healthy eating to your kids is by showing them just how delicious healthy food can be. Instead of sticking to the same recipes on rotation, aim to try something new at least once a week. If your children are ‘picky eaters’, diversify their palettes slowly by cooking their favorite ingredients in different ways. For example, if they love the taste of garlic, you could recreate this easy roasted garlic recipe, and serve it alongside some roasted veg.
2. Develop a fun nighttime routine.
According to a recent study, 50% of parents say bedtime is the most stressful part of their day. This is because kids always want to stay up later as they think it makes them seem more adult! However, you can make your evenings a little easier by developing a fun nighttime routine that they’ll want to stick to. For example, you could spend some quality time together by reading or watching some TV beforehand. This can also be a great way to get them to wind down. Furthermore, the more sleep they get, the more rested and energized they will be the next day.
3. Exercise as a family.
Regular exercise is great because it helps you to take care of both your body, and your mind. However, working out together can be even more beneficial, as it is “a good way to stay motivated and keep everyone involved. Make choosing the activity a discussion in which everyone participates so that every person, from mom to dad and every child, stays engaged.” Fortunately, there are plenty of family-friendly forms of exercise to choose from, such as hiking or going for a long walk. You can also make exercise fun for kids by turning it into a game – such as hide and seek or kicking a ball around.
4. Remember that you’re allowed to ‘cheat.’
While sticking to a healthy diet and exercise routine is important, you should teach your children that everything can be enjoyed in moderation and it’s okay to have a day off. For example, you could set aside one night each week where you get a takeout or indulge in some foods that might not be perfectly healthy – but taste just as good!