Raising Healthy Kids- 10 Tips for Parents

April 19th to 25th is Action for Healthy Kids® week. Action for Healthy Kids® aims to spread awareness of childhood obesity, undernourishment and physical inactivity in the community to help kids live healthier lives. For many parents it can be overwhelming teaching kids to be healthy. There is so much information out there it can be confusing what advice to follow. It is very important to teach kids healthy habits to set them up for a healthy life. Here are a few tips to encouraging your kids to be active and to have good nutrition.

Photo: weemade.com

Photo: weemade.com

1. Be a role model- Your kids watch you and how you eat. Set a good example by eating a healthy diet. If you skip meals, negatively talk about your weight or diet, or eat only junk food they will want to emulate these practices.

2. Encourage experimenting- Kid food doesn’t have to be chicken fingers and mac n cheese. Don’t make specific “child” dinners, allow them to eat what you are having. Even if they don’t like certain foods, have them try them a few times before dismissing them. When you are eating out, tell them the options from the kid menu and let them pick. Encourage them to try a bite of an appetizer or a bite of your meal.

3. Let them choose- Kids can have preferences develop at an early age so give them some choice for their snacks and meals. For example, would you rather have carrot sticks or celery with your sandwich?

Photo: thekidshealthclub.com

Photo: thekidshealthclub.com

4. Be active-  Most kids are naturally active and love to move. Encourage physical activity! Here are a few ideas:

  • Kicking or throwing a ball
  • Playing tag
  • Hopping on one foot
  • Riding a trike or bike
  • Dancing
  • Obstacle courses
  • Involvement in sports (soccer, baseball, basketball, martial arts, gymnastics…)
  • Hiking
  • Playing on the playground

5. Limit screen time- Kids that spent most of their days behind the screen risk overeating and tend to be less physically active. Set a time that is appropriate for your child to use technology and balance this time with more active activities.

6. Don’t reward with food- It can be easy to wave dessert around as a reward for eating their dinner, but this teaches kids that cupcakes are more valuable then eating their veggies. Also, you don’t want them to expect a treat every night.

7. Don’t enforce the “clean plate club.”- Kids need to learn how to listen to their bodies and decide when they are full on their own. If they pay attention to their bodies and don’t have to follow a rule of eating everything on the plate then they will be less likely to overeat.

Photo: Kraft

Photo: Kraft

8.  Eat whole foods- Serve your family real, whole foods and limit sugars, processed foods and calories from drinks. Choose whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats.

9. Exercise as a family- Enjoy activities that get you moving as a family. Try a yoga workout, go for a hike, head outside for a nature walk, play at the playground, play a sporting game or a game of tag.

10. Let your kids help in the kitchen- It is truly fun to make cooking a family affair! Allow your kids to help you mix or prepare a dish. Let them choose what they want to make or make a creative, special dish.

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