Let’s face it, we’re all busy parents. We work, clean the house, walk the dog, and try and save an hour for ourselves. As parents, our job is to tutor our kids and mold their impressionable minds, distinguishing right from wrong and good from bad. Here is a list to of ideas to develop healthy eating and exercising habits for your children. Together, you are building lifestyle skills for the future.
1. Plan ahead and develop a meal plan with a nutritionist or online
Nutritionists are in high demand. Everyone is becoming health conscious with the rise in obesity related diseases. By taking a little time to plan ahead, your life becomes A LOT easier and healthier. With a meal plan, you can put together a list of foods your child will enjoy. No longer will the 5 p.m. doom of “What’s for dinner?” haunt you. Ask other parents and friends for fresh food ideas and the best way to prepare them!
Are your kids picky eaters? Here is a good blog about “Why Toddlers Don’t Like Eating Vegetables” by Mamapedia that recommends sprinkling a little salt or sugar temporarily on vegetables until your toddler develops the right taste buds. Fresh vegetables are more nutritious and usually better tasting than canned.
Another idea? Get your children involved! Consider a “make your own pizza” station at home. Placing a platter of fresh vegetables and all the other ingredients develops a sense of curiosity and a new canvas to explore their creativity. NickJr has fun recipes for your kids. Check it out here.
2. Talk to your pediatrician
Your family pediatrician may help you find the best option. You can schedule follow-ups and keep track of your child’s growth and improvement. Their doctor can also tell them the health issues related to childhood obesity.
3. Join First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Campaign
First Lady Michelle Obama is working with communities to stop childhood obesity. Her Let’s Move Campaign demonstrates what you, as a parent, should do to help your children be active. Check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for better meal plans. Join the Let’s Move Meetup, to connect with parents in your community and together raise a healthier generation.
4. Set a good example
Children are very impressionable. If you make bad food choices and enjoy being a couch potato, chances are your kids will too. Take 30 minutes in your busy schedule to go play with your kids. Live in a cold climate? Encourage moves you learned in your aerobic class, like who can jump the highest or play your child’s favorite song and groove to the music!
5. Limit media exposure
This is one of the most important things you can do for your kids. Media, which includes, TV, video games, and Internet are affecting your child in more ways than you can probably think of. Here’s a good article called “The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity.” It lists the media’s influence in obesity for children as young as two. The time children spend on various media is time away from physical activity. What can you do to limit your child’s exposure to the media?
Hope this list helps. What would you do or what have you done to get involved? With perseverance, we can make a healthier future for our children. Trust me, they’ll thank you later.