Make Grocery Shopping Outings Teaching Moments
Healthy habits begin in the kitchen. Grocery shop as a family and use the time to educate kids about nutrition. Allow them to select five items to put into the cart, with the caveat that they have to be healthy options. With each wrong choice (which could be many) explain why that’s not a healthy choice. Praise them when they select healthy options, and tell them your reasoning behind choosing the items you place in the cart. Your kids are less likely to make sour faces at lunch and dinner time when their plate includes something that they chose themselves.
Enlist Their Help in the Kitchen
Kids who help in the meal-making process are much more likely to eat them. One fun idea is to cook up individual whole-grain pizza dough, cover it with a bit of tomato sauce and mozzarella, then cut up a colorful array of veggies. Invite kids to “decorate” their pizzas. They’ll be far more likely to eat what they create and learn to love veggies. You can do the same thing with fruit kabobs. Cut up a bunch of fruit and lay out skewers. Then, show your kids how to create their own fruit kabob that is colorful and delicious. If you make mealtime into playtime, your kids will love getting involved and will actually finish what is on their plate. There are plenty of playful and healthy kid’s recipes on Pinterest for families with young children who need a little inspiration for the kitchen.
Do you often wake up on a Saturday and wonder, “what are we going to do?” Those days usually end up being lazy days spent watching TV. Sit down with the kids Thursday or Friday evening and brainstorm fun, healthy, and easily accessible activities. Take a family bike ride, have an in-house dance party, walk to a park with a picnic, go roller skating, visit a trampoline park, visit the local zoo and spend the day walking around (and burning calories). Once you’ve got a list, rip up the options, fold them, and place them in a basket. When Saturday rolls around (or Friday night) have one child select a slip of paper and get ready for a fun surprise activity for the day. By having the kids help you make the list, you’ll ensure that they will enjoy the activities and be eager to go.
The Family that ______’s Together, Stays Together
By doing healthy activities together, not only will you bond as a family, but you will set your kids up for continuing healthy habits as they grow into adults. When your kids are young, consider scheduling all of your doctor, dentist, and other appointments together. According to a kid’s dentist in Winnipeg at the Polo Park Dental Centre, children have less apprehension about the dentist if they see their parents getting their teeth cleaned—they view it as a normal practice that everyone does, not just something their parent is forcing them to do. This goes for other healthy activities. Whether you walk a 5K with your kids, or take a karate or cooking class with your kids, doing things together will get them used to living a healthy lifestyle. If your children are used to eating healthy and exercising with you, these activities will become second nature to them and will lead them to make healthy choices as they become more independent.
When some parents think of getting the whole family on board for a healthy lifestyle, they have visions of their children throwing tantrums over eating vegetables, or listening to complaining kids for two hours on a hiking trail. While it can be tough to switch up the lifestyle that your kids are used to, you can still point them towards healthy choices while they are young. As mentioned, if you give your kids the choice instead of forcing certain foods or activities on them, they are more likely to get on board.