It’s not easy to raise healthy kids today. Between all the crap the food industry adds to our foods, our busy lives that make it hard to set aside enough time to make healthy meals, and the bombardment of marketing beign thrown at us from every angle, making the right choice is rarely the easy choice. Even though we are fighting a force much bigger than ourselves, when it comes to raising healthy kids, it’s a fight worth fighting. Technology is great, but it often puts the wrong choices in front of us and makes them so easy that we forget to stop and question if it’s the right choice. Technology may have changed, but the human body hasn’t. These are five easy tricks we use to help us raise healthy kids.
Create a relationship built around movement and exercise.
Make an effort to play with your kids so that you create a relationship built around exercise and movement. Our family’s life revolves around exercise and movement. When the kids were young, we were always out playing on the playground with our kids, chasing them, kicking balls around. We’d even tumble with them. Now that they are older we hike, bike, climb, run, lift weights, swim together almost every day. For us, exercise has never been seen as a chore or punishment. It’s a natural part of our day and without it, we all feel a bit off and grumpy.
They know, and look forward to the fact, that when they are grown up and come home for Thanksgiving, they will be doing some sort of exercise before the meal. It may be a hike, a run, a climb, a surf session, whatever, but they have grown up knowing that movement comes first before food, regardless of if it is a holiday or not.
When your kids are young, set an example that exercise is fun. Better yet, make sure you play a sport or have an active hobby that challenges you. When your kids see you push yourself, they will learn that challenge is an integral part of a healthy life.
Motivate them in their own way
Each child is different. Try to always encourage their passions and give them opportunities to explore different sports, but never force one type on them or put unnecessary pressure for them to compete. It’s important to figure out what makes them tick and be patient until they find that.
People are surprised that only one of my kids surf. One of my kids is a long distance runner. One prefers more structured gym workouts. I’m fine with that. As long as they get in some form of movement and exercise each day, they can do whatever sport or activity that they enjoy. Plus, we make a huge effort to find a few things that we can all do together occasionally like hiking or climbing. This way everyone has space to pursue their own interests and also time for us to connect together and make memories as a family.
Limit Screen Time
In today’s environment, it’s just too easy to dismiss your child and tell them to watch a show, play on your iPad, or use the computer. It takes more effort to watch them play outside or take them to play, but it’s important. Find ways to engage your children in your everyday chores and try not to encourage entertainment via a screen.
Plan Your Meals & Clean Out Your Pantry
Kids are always hungry and having healthy, whole foods ready to eat is important in creating healthy kids. We use crock pots any time we have electricity so that there is always protein cooked and ready to snack on. Veggies are precut in the fridge. As a treat, the kids know they can snack on frozen fruit or nuts.
We are big believers in making the right choice the easy choice and if your pantry is full of easy choices that are unhealthy, then consider cleaning out your pantry and integrating more of the fourth tip to help fuel your kids with the right type of energy.
If you find your child constantly reaching for snacks, check out our Eat To Play course and start finding ways to integrate more whole foods into your regular routine.
Be who you want your kids to be
Your kids look up to you a lot. Be the example that you want your kids to emulate. We know how busy life can get and it’s so hard to always make the right choice, but our kids really are the sum total of us and by delivering subtle positive cues over time can make a big differece.
For example, don’t complain if you have to go to the gym when you are tired. Instead, let them hear you say things like:
- I can’t wait to go to the gym.
- I’m tired, but I know after this yoga class I’ll feel much better.
- My shoulders been bothering me, but now that I do my training, it’s gone.
Sure some of this sounds cheesy, but it works.
When you show your kids that you respect your own body, then they will learn to respect theirs.
We all want our kids to live a long healthy happy life and a strong, healthy body will help tremendously. Plus, a connection with your kids in the outdoors and in the kitchen will create rad memories of their childhood and who doesn’t want that for their kiddos?! Let’s reverse the statistics and create a generation of strong, energetic, capable humans who can make a difference in the world!