8 Ways Parents Can Promote a Healthy Lifestyle in Their Children


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Today, nearly one in three American children are overweight or obese. This extra weight can put kids are at risk for diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, high blood pressure and numerous other health problems. Parents, however, have the unique opportunity to change these statistics and promote healthy lifestyles in their kids once again. By encouraging — and modeling — a healthy diet, a regular exercise routine and plenty of sleep, you can help your children create a happy, healthy life for themselves. 

healthy family photo

1. Keep Healthy Snacks on Hand 

If your after school snack consists of pizza rolls and cookies, it's time for a change. Cut up some celery, apples and whatever other healthy vegetables and fruits your kids love most. And, when they get hungry midday, offer them up as a snack. Keep some peanut butter or hummus on hand for dipping. You might also keep these pre-made snacks in containers or bags in your refrigerator door for easy access throughout the week. Moreover, keep the cookie jar and any other sweet items tucked away out of sight. 

2. Make Them the Chef

Forego fast food and make dinner together instead! Invite your kids into the kitchen and let them help you prepare the evening meal. Make them the head potato peeler or carrot chopper and explain how to make the dish as you go. If you follow a recipe, let them measure out the ingredients and mix them all together. The process of making a meal will teach them about nutrition and the importance of cooking. As they grow older, they may even begin making meals all by themselves. 

3. Take Them Grocery Shopping 

Another way to promote healthy eating is to bring your kids along to the grocery store. Let them pick out fresh fruits and veggies and avoid the frozen foods aisle. Teach them how to read labels, pointing out the sugar, sodium and fat content on each. Looking over the ingredients in canned and packaged foods is also a good learning opportunity for your little ones. Discuss the importance of natural ingredients and ones you should avoid, like high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors and colors. 



4. Limit Screen Time 

On average, kids spend seven and a half hours each day staring at a screen. Whether it be a mobile phone, a tablet, or the TV, electronics are replacing playtime. This has promoted an extremely sedentary lifestyle in many children, resulting in obesity, delayed development, behavioral issues and a number of other problems. To minimize these effects, parents should limit their children's screen time to no more than one to two hours per day. And dedicate the rest of the day to unstructured play and other activities like reading, coloring and dancing. 



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