How to Encourage your Kids to Follow in your Healthy Footsteps

Data shows that nearly one in five children and young people ages 6-19 are obese. Today, things are different than they used to be. With an increase of children spending more time playing with their electronic devices and having access to foods higher in sugar or fat, weight gain in children in skyrocketing.  Children are spending more time playing on their phones and playing video games and less time playing outside. There is more access to foods high in sugar and fat causing weight gain in children. It’s a new year, and while you are working on bettering your own health and wellness why not set a positive example for the rest of your family. Motivate your entire family to be healthier this year by implementing these three tips in your home!

Lead By Example 

Since children are watching and copying your actions, focus on leading by example for them when it comes to your health and nutrition. Be sure you are eating the healthier options in front of them so they know what to follow. Purchase and enjoy foods that you want your children to eat and they will most likely follow suit. If you are eating foods in front of your children that you do not want them to have and telling them to eat something else, chances are it will be more challenging to get them to enjoy healthier foods in the future.  

Helping Hands in the Kitchen 

There are ways to involve your entire family in the process of shopping and preparing meals. The next time you go grocery shopping, bring your children along and allow them to see the different fruits and vegetable options and browse the aisles with you. As you look around, allow them to be curious, ask questions about items, and use it as an opportunity to teach them the difference between healthier everyday foods and options for once in a while.  Instead of packing your children’s lunches for them, try and involve them in the process. If they are able to see how you prepare the lunches and then follow what you do, they will learn how to prepare a balanced meal that they enjoy and can replicate this for future meals and snacks.

Eat as a Family 

With extracurricular activities mixed with busy work days, it can be challenging to sit down and eat as a family. If you are able to, focus on carving out a few nights of the week for the family to sit down together and enjoy dinner. This can be just a short 30-minute period without any phones, TVs, or other distractions. This allows you and your children to catch up about school or anything else going on while focusing on your meal.  When you and your family are focused on your meal, you will be able to eat more mindfully-allowing you to listen to your hunger and fullness cues while enjoying the flavors of the meal. Showing your children that prioritizing time for dinner together a few nights a week sends them the message that sitting down and eating a homemade meal is part of a balanced and healthy lifestyle. 

This year, as you work on your health and wellness goals, focus on how you can incorporate your healthy habits into your family’s everyday lives. With these tips, your children will have the opportunity to take part in preparing and enjoying healthy meals- strengthening the likelihood of a healthier adulthood. 

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