It’s an endless dialogue in our house about trying to be healthy. I don’t think you can ever be completely healthy all the time. It’s unrealistic, but it’s a work-in-progress. We’re trying to teach the kids the importance of eating healthy food to fuel our bodies.
It’s all about sharing ideas on how to encourage kids to live a healthy lifestyle. Here are some of the tips that I have:
- Limit your take out/trips through the drive thru – I cook at our house six nights a week (I get Fridays off), and right there, that saves a ton of excess sodium and sugar that’s lurking in restaurant food. It’s oh-so-delicious, but just isn’t good for kids on a regular basis. On top of that, if my kids get used to eating fried foods and “treats” like that, its much harder to get them to eat the grilled meat and vegetables that we usually eat at home. Going to restaurants actually makes my kids less adventurous in trying new foods (they always want chicken fingers and French fries) so its my job as a mom to introduce the new foods at home and limit how much we eat out.
- Get outside as much as you can – Whether its playing in our backyard, asking them to “help” us with gardening or just walking around our town, we try to spend as much of our time outside as possible. This works for two great things – it gets kids playing and using their imaginations, but also gets them moving and provides some great exercise. Since getting our vizsla puppy Beau in January, its been a great excuse to spend time outdoors and go for long walks. When we come inside, both the kids and the dog are well-exercised, which is a huge bonus!
Be ready with nutritious snacks – So if we’ve spent a good chunk of our afternoon outside or at the park, then I need to be ready with healthy snacks. If we’re out somewhere and the kids are starving, its just too easy to zip through a drive thru and grab a snack. I’m always trying to remember to pack something before we leave the house. That usually entails some whole grain crackers, baby carrots and (of course) Chobani Kids yogurt tubes and pouches. Feeding kids sugary snacks like cookies and candy doesn’t help anyone. They’ll also be hungry like 15 minutes later which completely defeats the purpose of eating a snack. Also – we don’t regularly eat dessert (gasp!). From looking at what I post on this blog, that could come as a shock. My kids turn into animals when on a sugar rush so they’re only allowed dessert after dinner at special family events or on a rare occasion. If a kid is still hungry after dinner, I offer them a banana (I know, I’m so mean). And the extra cookies and cakes from blogging usually go to work with me on Mondays.
- Get some rest – I’m a firm believer that how much sleep you get breathes into the rest of your life. Tired kids are difficult to deal with and can be a nightmare by the end of the day at dinner time. Make sure your kids are getting the rest that they need during the day, but also at night. Bryn recently had a horrible time going to bed at night so we adjusted how much sleep she’s getting at nap time – only about a half hour or so during the day. Her older sister could sleep all afternoon. Every kid is different so you have to tailor nap time to each individual child. But a well-rested kid will be more apt to try a new Brussel sprout side dish or salmon off the grill.
So there are my tips for getting Hadley and Bryn to eat healthy. Share your tips for healthy kids in the comments below!