Helping your kids make healthy choices isn’t always easy, especially when everyone is busy and time is so short. It can be tempting to stop for fast food or heat up some mac and cheese instead of preparing a meal with fresh ingredients, but it’s so important to help your little ones learn to make the best choices for their bodies because those lessons will last a lifetime.
Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can teach your child to make good decisions in order to stay fit and healthy. Involving them in planning meals, shopping, and preparing food will help them see how important good nutrition is, and this will stick with them when they’re at school and outside the home. You can also lead by example and begin a workout routine for the entire family to do together. Even something as simple as going for a walk after dinner or playing a quick game of kickball will help your children stay active and learn the importance of exercise.
Here are a few tips for helping your children make healthy choices at any age.
Set a Budget
Learning how to shop for the entire family is imperative since fresh ingredients can be expensive in many areas. Making healthy meals that won’t break the bank is the first step in learning how to make positive lifestyle changes that will stick with your children, and setting a budget can help with that. Go to the grocery store before your shopping trip just to get a feel for prices and to find out when the best deals will be happening. Look for coupons and sign up for the store’s rewards program if they have one, as this can help you save. When you’re ready to go shopping, make a list and stick to it. Many parents find that taking their kids along makes a trip more expensive, but it’s important for little ones to learn how to shop without giving in to impulse items or lots of sugary treats.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is important, regardless of your age. And if your child is having trouble getting the right amount of sleep they need, take a look at their bedroom. Does the decor support restful sleep? Are noises and/or light pollution keeping your child awake at night? If you can’t find the culprit, you might need to take a hard look at their mattress. Hard, lumpy, or worn-out mattresses won’t help them get the sleep they require, so it might be time to upgrade. Memory foam mattresses, for example, have improved greatly over the years, and many offer different levels of firmness based on individual needs. Talk to your child and figure out how they sleep, then look into getting a mattress that will support and comfort them all through the night.
Prepare Meals in Advance
Many families, especially those with single parents, find it hard to cook dinner every single night due to time constraints. It’s difficult to prepare a healthy meal when you only have half an hour between getting home and making sure homework is completed and children are bathed. However, if you can prepare a couple of meals ahead of time and freeze them, you’ll be ahead of the game and won’t have to rely on fast food or microwaved meals.
Work Out as a Family
Creating family workouts will not only teach your kids the importance of exercise, it will allow for some bonding time as well. Look for fun ways to get active, such as running with the dog at the park, going for hikes, playing a game or sport, or dancing. Stress the importance of staying active because it’s good for the body, not for losing weight.
Learn to Read Labels
Reading labels when you’re food shopping is important, and it’s a great thing to teach your kids. Talk about the difference between how much is in the package and what the “serving size” is, how to tell when something has too much sugar (especially in foods like spaghetti sauce, which aren’t usually associated with sweetness), and how to look for high sodium content.
Helping your kids make good choices will stick with them for the rest of their lives, and it will keep your family happy and healthy for years to come. With a good plan, research and discipline, you and your loved ones can learn how to make good decisions together.
Written by Wendy Ross
Note: Some of the other articles that Wendy Ross brought to us for our family blog are listed below.
- Cooking With Kids: How To Keep Things Safe
- 5 Steps You Need to Take to Keep Your Kids Safe in Your Car
- Get Your Side Hustle On: Ideas for Single Parents
- A Guide to Cyberbullying and Social Media Safety for Concerned Parents
- Summer Fun: Safe and Active Outdoor Exploration for Your Kids