How to Keep Your Kids Active and Eating Healthy

Mother and Son Having FunBetween your busy schedule, and your kids’ extracurricular activities, finding the time to exercise and eat right often times seems impossible. This was something I struggled with when I was raising my girls. I would often work long hours, and grabbing something quick and easy for dinner took a lot less effort. Working also meant that there was less time for fun and after school activities. However, I knew how important it was to keep my girls active and healthy, and I’d like to share a few helpful tips with you that I learned along the way.

First, limit their computer, television and video game usage. Gaming should be off limits during the school week, and should be limited to one hour a day on the weekends.

Second, encourage them to partake in outdoor activities. Summer time is right around the corner; make them play outside. Help them set up a lemonade stand or get them some chalk so they can decorate the drive way. Being outside is good for their mental and physical health.

Third, do family activities together. Go bowling on a rainy day or go for a family bike ride after dinner. Make exercise fun for the whole family.

Fourth, make sure to sign them up for extracurricular activities. If your city has a public pool sign them up for swimming lessons or get them on a little league team in your neighborhood. Show them that exercise can be fun and can be enjoyed with friends.

When it comes to making sure they’re eating healthy here are a few tips I found to be helpful. First, go to a local farmers market. Living in Metro Detroit I am fortunate to live near Eastern Market. Every Saturday in the spring through the fall local farmers bring in a wide variety of fresh, organic produce. My daughters really enjoyed going to the market and picking out their own fruits and veggies.

Then, have a healthy family cooking night. Letting them help prepare their dinner will make them feel more involved, and they will want to try the foods they’ve put together. Third, set a good example, if you eat well they will too. They will want to try what you’re eating.

Try and start the habit of healthy eating at a young age, and incorporate several vegetables into every meal. But also keep in mind that it’s important not to force them to eat a certain food. Have them try a couple of bites, and if they still don’t like it, let it be. I’ve found that forcing children to eat something they don’t like causes a total aversion to the food and they may be less likely to try new foods in the future. Fourth, don’t keep junk food in the house. If it’s not there they can’t eat it, this will be helpful for you too. Fifth, introduce new foods slowly. And lastly, still allow them to have treats. Balance is important, even with children. If they aren’t allowed to have a cookie every once in a while or a bag of chips they’ll go crazy the next time they’re around junk food they’ll binge. 

It’s important to start healthy eating and exercise habits young. If kids grow up living a healthy lifestyle it will be easy for them to maintain it as they get older.