One of the most important reasons for parents to get themselves feeling, looking and living their best is for the sake of their kids.
Did you know that in 2010, about 50% of all kids were overweight! At this point, one third of their diets consist of nothing but junk food. Add to that “portion distortion,” fast/takeout food and inactivity and you’ve got a recipe for unhealthy kids.
The first suggestion I give moms (who handle 90% of food tasks) is to set a good example. There simply is no better way to get the message across to kids.
Encouraging moderate portions of well-balanced meals (protein/carb/fat), variety and eating every few hours to discourage being overly hungry are a few places to start. Kids can also be included in some of the shopping and food preparation details. When they’re included, they’ve more likely to buy into the idea of its importance.
You may also want to reconsider family style eating. It’s great to stay at the table enjoying each other’s company, but family style typically encourages seconds. Instead of putting all of the dishes on the table, try putting all of the dinner items on each plate and bringing only the plates to the table. If the goal is to create better habits, find ways to enjoy heaping servings of conversation, not food.
For exercise, encourage activity – again using yourself as an example. You can also encourage your child to find an activity he or she enjoys (if they like it, they’ll do it). It can be something simple like playing outside, dancing, walking the family dog (or in my crazy case, 4 dogs!), or enrolling in a team sport or intramural program at school, if one’s available.
Whether in the form of better food choices, healthier habits, or adding fitness to the family routine, the key is to make “lifestyle fitness” a family affair.
What do you do to keep your family fit and healthy? I’d love to know, comment and share!