One of the questions commonly asked by parents is how can I teach my children healthy eating and exercise habits. Happy healthy kids = happy healhty parents, right?
As with a fair number of parenting strategies, if we would like our kids to eat and behave healthlly, then we need to lead by example. That’s not to say we have to be perfect, but if we gorge ourselves on crisps and cake our children will think that’s OK and they are far more likely to do it too.
By the same token, if we don’t get out and exercise, making time to get, and stay fit, then why would our children make the time?
So here are some top tips to becoming the imperfect role mode when it comes to eating right with the children:.
- If you can walk there; walk. If that is to school or the local shop; just do it. If it’s a little further, and safe to do so, you could cycle or scoot.
- Get out in the fresh air at the weekends and holidays.
- Been seen to be actively getting fit, or exercising if you can. Go swimming with the kids, even make time to exercise on your own if you can, and have someone else to look after the kids. Talk about exercising while the kids are at school, and, perish the thought, perhaos even do it! ;-)
- You are never too old to bounce on a trampoline either. It is great exercise, and will probably either delight or horrify your children. As I always say though, its part of my job to embarrass them….
- Try to encourage a sporting activity, even if your kids aren’t particularly sport. Try different ones too; from football, to swimming or gymnastics. Make the most of opportunities that you get through school. Schools do give you more chances than I remember we ever had. If your children don’t like it they don’t have to take it up.
- Eat some fruit every day. If you and/or your children don’t like fruit very much you could try a day where you choose an exotic fruit – maybe you can even have an exotic fruit Wednesday.
- Keep trying things with the kids; I don’t like pears, but every now and again I try it again just in case I have changed my mind. I usually haven’t, but the children love me doing it, and it shows them to keep persevering with trying things too …and you never know, one day they might like it.
- Include vegetables with dinner – even on those very busy nights. Try baked beans or frozen veg, they can really speed things up.
- In pack lunches include tomatoes, carrot sticks or cherry tomatoes.
- Don’t forget fruit in them either – perhaps even raisins or dried apricots.
- Finally, variety and seasonality – in the summer include raspberries or strawberries. Fruit doesn’t always have to be an apple. Mix it up!
And one extra tip try is to cook some meals which are vegetarian – a great habit to get into too; and often a very healkhty one too. You could also try making boiled eggs or omelettes which can be a great standby for those days when you don’t have a lot of time or energy.
Let us know how you get on with getting those healthy kids you are striving for in 2015 ;-)