You are an influential person in some child’s life, but that goes further than just setting financial goals and inspiring academic success. Children take their cues about everything from the adults they admire, so put yours on a healthy lifestyle path, too. In a world that promotes supersizing and fast food, teach this child to see things from a wellness standpoint. The diet and exercise smart kid will grow into an adult who passes on healthy habits to themselves and the next generation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that obesity rates for children have tripled in the last few decades. Right now, about one in every five children is clinically obese. You can be part of the movement to break that cycle and make the world healthy again.
Spring is in the air, so it is the right time to think about getting active. What kind of healthy role model are you going to be this season?
Start by limiting the amount of time this child spends indoors sitting in front of a screen. The current recommendations are:
If you are a parent role model, you have direct control over how much time your child spends in front of a screen, but even if you are not, you can plan ways to help your little ones stay active.
The best way to get kids away from games or computers is to give them something else to do. Consider playing different games together catch, soccer or throwing a Frisbee in the park.
Plan activities that you can do by yourselves or with other friends and families such riding a bike, rock climbing, hiking, or simply exploring a nearby forest.
Set fitness goals and work towards them as a team – like training to run your first half marathon, for example, or even just taking a daily walk to explore the local parks or trails. Get them outside to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. When you are out together, take the opportunity to talk about physical fitness and the importance of staying active. Making it a habit and part of your daily routine will make this even easier, pretty soon the whole family will be on track to take their daily neighborhood stroll after dinner.
It’s a message that often falls through the cracks, but one you can choose to reinforce. Children emulate the adults they admire, so the more adventurous you are with food choices, the better. When eating out at a restaurant, take your time picking your food and don’t be afraid to try something new and healthy.
Pay attention to the nutritional information offered and make smart choices, especially when it comes to portion sizes. A good rule of thumb is to ask for a takeout box before the food is delivered. This way, you can automatically cut big portions in half before you start eating.
Make a habit of always ordering a glass of water with your meal instead of soda and getting a salad instead of a fried appetizer. If you do want something decadent like fried cheese sticks or a rich gooey dessert, get side plates and split it.
For parents, grandparents or other family members, nutrition starts at home. Keep your pantry stocked with healthy foods including plenty of fruits and vegetables and fewer carbs. Avoid snacks like chips and candy. If you don’t have them around, no one is tempted.
Make grocery shopping something you do together even if you don’t share a kitchen. You can make going to the store a learning experience on many different levels. Cover smart shopping, coupons and handling money, as well as healthy eating. While you are buying food, take the time to explain things like nutrition labels and things to avoid.
Take that lesson into the kitchen, next, to show them the value of eating real – not processed – foods. Prepare the meals together and get them excited about eating healthy food they make themselves. Spend time looking at recipes in cookbooks and making menu plans. Consider taking a healthy cooking class together, too. It’s something that will benefit you both.
In order for children to make healthy lifestyle choices, they need to understand them. Natren believes in the three pillars of good health being Probiotics, Diet, and Exercise – each adapted to the individuals needs. Natren is one of the few manufacturers that cultures their own probiotic products, our unique and powerful probiotics help individuals to customize a probiotic supplement regimen based on their specific individual needs.
Now is the time to pass those values onto the next generation and show them that healthy living is a simple part of everyday life.