10 Best Tips for Healthy Kids

10 Best Tips for Healthy Kids

10 Best Tips for Healthy Kids

  1. You are in charge
  •  Tell the kids you want the whole family to be fit and healthy and invite them to make suggestions. They will accept that you are in charge more easily if they contribute their ideas.
  • Decide on changes you can make to your family’s lifestyle and eating habits. For example, going for a walk together for 30 minutes at least twice a week and including fruits and vegetables with every meal.
  • Make a list of nutritious foods to buy next time you shop.
  • Take charge of what goes into the supermarket trolley. Instead of asking your child what they like to eat, ask them if they like to eat apple or orange – limit their choices!
  1. Parents are role models
  •  Little kids watch their parents carefully. This is how they learn. As they get older, they are more influent by other kids, relatives, and people on TV.
  • Stock up your cupboard and fridge with healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, pasta and legumes (i.e: chickpeas and lentils). Take an interest in nutritious foods and learn how to prepare them in new and delicious ways. Your enthusiasm will rub off on your kids.
  • Let your kids see you becoming more active. Learn to ride a bike or surf. Join a fun run or fun walk and take the kids along.
  • Be active every day as much as you can.
  • Eat nutritious rather than high-fat and sugary snacks.
  1. If they try it, they might like it
  • Serve a new food for 2 or 3 weeks and say “Try it, you might like it”. Don’t make a fuss about it. Better still, invite your child to help you to prepare the new food.
  • Go slowly. Introduce new things gradually. It is best to start with 1 or 2 small changes and to let the family get used to them before introducing any more changes.
  • Be gentle, encouraging and patient if your child is anxious. Never give up – they’ll get the message eventually.
  1. Good habits start early
  •  Reinforce your child’s changes of habits, however small, with comments such as “You are a smart eater, choosing all those veggies to eat up” and “I’ve noticed that you are much more active these days. That’s great.”
  • Good habits include eating nutritious snacks rather than junk snacks, sitting at the table for meals, being active for at least part of the day, tidying up after yourself, flossing and brushing your teeth morning and night.
  • Breaking habits takes time. Be patient and consistent in your expectations of your kids and yourself. 
  1. Lots of activity keeps kids fit and healthy
  •  Explain to kids that sitting around in the playground will make them feel more tired and suggest they walk, skip or run around for at least 10 minutes to revive themselves before going back to class.
  • Buy skipping ropes for the whole family and jump the rope 50 – 100 times a day.
  • Encourage your child to have at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity such as brisk walk, soccer, netball, football, play in the playground, run around in the park, ride a bike, run, rollerblade, dance or walk the dogs everyday. 
  1. You are what you eat
  •  Make your own muffins using grated carrot or zucchini, banana or mashed pumpkin. For extra Vitamin B, sprinkle them with sunflower seeds or sesame seeds before baking.
  • Growing some of your own foods in pots like silverbeet and cherry tomato, can help to educate your family about where food comes from, plus you’ll have fresh food ready to pick.
  • Increase the amount of fresh food you serve the family.
  • Cutting back on buying lollies, chips and cakes – buy them just once in a while.
  • Serve a good balance of fruits, vegetables, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, brown rice noodles, wholemeal breads and legumes (i.e: chickpeas, lentils and baked beans). 
  1. Just mucking around is good for you 
  • Suggest that the family set aside a time each week when you don’t have to do anything or be anywhere in particular. No television, no computer games, no playstation – just general mucking around, laughing over silly things, playing board games or just watching the clouds go by is relaxing and refreshing. It may be hard at first but you will come to love it.
  • Kids or adults who lie around watching TV to pass the time may seem relaxed but often they feel exhausted. What they need is some fresh air and physical activity.
  1. A wide variety of foods is essential 
  • Try to have as many different coloured foods from as wide a variety of sources as possible. For example, have a t least a green, yellow, orange, red and whilte vegetable everyday and cut them into different shapes to add variety to the meal. It can often be a good way to teach young children about colours and shapes.
  • The main types of nutritious foods are: vegetables, fruits, reduced-fat milk, yogurt, cheese, lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, legumes, oats, pasta, brown rice and quinoa.
  • For a child aged between 8 and 11 years old, these are average servings. Some children eat a little more, others a little less.
    • 4 slices of wholemeal bread, 1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa/wholegrain pasta.
    • 1 cup salad, 1 cup raw or cooked vegetables
    • 2 fruits (i.e: 1 apple plus 1 banana or a small glass of freshly squeezed orange juice)
    • 1 cup reduced-fat milk, a small tub of Greek low-fat yogurt, 2 slices of cheese. For lactose intolerant children, substitute with almond, soy or quinoa milk.
    • Your child’s palm size of lean meat, chicken or fish; or an egg and a small handful of nuts.
  1. TV can be a friend or an enemy 
  • Plan the week’s viewing ahead of time. Look through the TV guide together and choose suitable programs. When you watch, discuss aspects of the program with your kids.
  • Avoid having a TV in your child’s room. Studies show that kids in families who often watch TV during meals eat more of the highly advertised foods like pizza and salty snacks and less fresh and healthy food.
  • Limit your child’s TV viewing to one hour per day on weekdays and record some shows to watch later and eliminate the ads.
  • Have just one TV in the house. 
  1. Daily life involved physical activity 
  • When you watch TV, introduce some activities. For example, encourage kids to mimic a dramatic scene or participate in an exercise class. This way TV is associated with physical activity.
  • Give your kids household chore such as hanging out washing or folding clothes while watching TV.
  • Take your child shopping with you
  • Get them to bring in the shopping and put it away
  • Use the stairs, not the lift.
  • Buy pedometers for everyone in the family (Grab one at Kmart for $3). Who can take the most steps in a day and whoever get more steps at the end of the week will get a reward.

References:

Rossmanith A, 50 Great Tips for Healthy Kids, Focus Publishing Book Project, Bondi Junction, Sydney, pp5 – 25

Image credit: http://www.humideas.com/trends/healthy-kids-diet-achieve-a-balanced-diet.html

Submit a Comment