Modern society has created a wealth of opportunity, growth, technological progression, convenience, and safety. Advancements in medicine are saving lives every day and making it easier than ever to be healthy.
When then, is our country so unhealthy?
Did you know that over 60% of American adults have at least one chronic disease? According to the same source, 40% have two chronic diseases.
While there are some hereditary issues, it mostly comes down to our lifestyle.
Fortunately, it’s never too late to start getting healthy. Nor is it too early. Raising healthy kids is vital to improving the overall state of our society’s health.
If we instill good habits in them now, they can carry them on into adulthood. Just as importantly, no parent wants to watch their children become unhealthy. If we don’t make sure they’re leading healthy lifestyles, whatever issues they struggle with are on us.
Don’t let that happen. Keep reading for our top seven tips on how to raise healthy kids.
1. Teach Them the Importance of Being Fit and Healthy
First, you need to look at things from your child’s point of view. Cake, ice cream, and candy are some of the most important things in a kid’s life. When you tell them they can’t eat very much of it, they need to know why.
Even if your child isn’t quite old enough to understand the complex nature of human health, you put it in terms they understand. Point to their favorite superhero and explain that they wouldn’t be very super if they ate nothing but junk food. Explain how a healthy diet will help them run faster, jump higher, and get stronger.
If there are people in your life who struggle with health issues, explain to your child that sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating habits cause many ailments.
2. Abandon the Rule of Cleaning Their Plate
When you were growing up, you probably weren’t allowed to leave the table until you “cleaned your plate.” At some point, parents got it in their heads that well-fed kids were healthy kids.
However, this antiquated rule reinforces unhealthy eating habits. It encourages kids to eat past the point of being satisfied. This can lead to major issues in the future with portion control.
When it comes to vegetables, yes, make them clean their plate. However, no child needs tons of mashed potatoes, red meat, pasta, or biscuits.
3. Provide Healthy Meals
The amount of food your child is eating is important. However, it’s equally important to provide healthy meals for kids of all ages.
We’re not saying you must have brown rice, grilled chicken breast, and broccoli for every meal, but you need to educate yourself on what a healthy diet looks like.
For example, do you know the difference between simple and complex carbohydrates? Do you know why complex carbs like whole-wheat pasta are better than simple carbs like white pasta?
Cook tasty and exciting new meals. Add variety to your menu. This is important for learning how to get kids to eat healthy foods.
4. Encourage Physical Activity
One thing almost all adults can agree on is that we need to move more. Most of us have sedentary jobs compiled with sedentary hobbies and personal lifestyles. This can lead to major issues like obesity, weakness, stiff joints, depression, and a lack of mobility as we age.
One of the benefits of physical education in school is that it teaches kids that being active can be fun. Going to the gym to lift weights, run, bike, or swim can have fantastic benefits, but it’s not for everyone. It’s certainly not for children.
Encourage your kids to go outside and be active. Invest in outdoor games, equipment, and toys. Active kids are healthy kids.
5. Limit Screen Time
Have you ever wondered why kids these days are less inclined to go outside and be active? If you’re having trouble in this area, you’re probably the one to blame. How much screen time are you allowing your child to have?
In some ways, electronics have made being a parent easier. After a long day, it’s nice to let your kid watch an appropriate TV show so you can relax. However, if you’re constantly letting an electronic device babysit your kid, you’re doing them a disservice.
Limit their screen time to just one or two hours a day. With the rest of their time, they can engage with the family, play outside, read a book, or pursue a creative outlet, like drawing. This is essential for instilling healthy habits for kids.
6. Teach Them Good Oral Hygiene Habits
For some reason, kids hate brushing their teeth. It’s something they’re happy to “forget” to do morning, noon, and night. However, if you allow your children to neglect their teeth, it can result in major consequences.
Poor oral hygiene can result in cavities, tooth pain, gum problems, and more. Furthermore, the less your kids take care of their teeth at home, the more you’ll need to pay a dentist to do it.
If your children have other oral issues, like overbites, underbites, or crooked teeth, you need to see a dentist immediately. There are several health problems associated with crooked teeth and other misalignments. Healthy teeth for kids is just as important as exercise and a proper diet.
7. Teach Them How to Find a Healthy Balance in Everyday Life
Finally, raising healthy kids means teaching them how to avoid unhealthy extremes. Life isn’t about strict regimens, obsessive dieting, or extreme fitness routines. Life is about balance.
When teaching your kids to incorporate healthy lifestyle habits, it’s important to remember that they’re still kids.
They should be able to spend Saturday playing video games. They should be allowed to have junk food a few times a week. Just don’t allow things to get out of control, one extreme is just as bad as the other.
Want to Make Sure You’re Raising Healthy Kids?
If you want to raise healthy kids, the first step is to make sure you’re leading by example. If you don’t want your kids to smoke, don’t smoke. If you don’t want your kids to sit in front of the TV all day, you shouldn’t either.
No one said raising kids was going to be easy, but here you are. You might as well do everything you can to do it right. And if you need more lifestyle advice, be sure to check out some of our other blog articles before you go!