I know that my impending motherhood has definitely made me focus on how I want to be the best mother I can be for my little mini on its way. Because we all want our kids to grow up to be as strong and healthy as possible, right?
Sometimes, guiding our little ones (whether it be our kids, our neighbours or nieces or nephews) it can be a bit monkey see, monkey do. Our kids see and mimic everything we do so the best way we can guide them to make the best choices? Lead by example. If we want to lead our kids to make healthy food choices and ensure they live a physical lifestyle, then the first, best way to do this? Practise healthy eating (noone is going to take you seriously if you demand they eat their carrots as you gorge on that chip packet) and demand you start (or stay) active as a family!
Don’t even get started on the peer pressure from their friends (just eat that one mars bar) and seductive ads for fast food can make getting your kids to eat healthily a troublesome battle.
Try out these things to ensure your little ones have a fun time finding themselves some healthy (lifelong) habits!
Plant a garden as a family
Kids are more likely to try out new things if they’ve had a part in choosing what to plant, caring and harvesting the plant. (Not to mention bonus points teaching about responsibility!)
Tiff Tip: if you’re short on space, try a Community Garden, a window sill garden or plant some tomatoes in a container.
Cook more at home! Get your kids involved in the shopping and preparing of meals. This is a good opportunity to educate them on different foods and how to cook them in different ways - not just steamed, but roasted with herbs, sauteed in butter, stir fried with Asian sauces - teach them that flavour is to be enjoyed, not shunned!
Eat the rainbow
And I am not directing you to the candy lane at the supermarket! Encourage your kids to eat food that is as close to its natural form as possible, to choose healthy foods in all of the colours of the rainbow to help understand their nutritional value, from blueberries to spinach, pomegranates to yellow squash, peppers to potatoes, at every meal! Try issuing a dinner time challenge to get them to eat a meal that has every colour of the rainbow.
Move as a family and play every day
Encourage your kids to be active every day - maybe it’s walking to the shops to get some milk or even taking the pooch for a prance. Show your kids that exercise can be fun rather than a burden! Go swimming, take walks, ride bikes, have a hula hoop contest, build a Ninja obstacle course or jump on a trampoline! Small bursts of play can add up to one healthy kid!
Find a different reward system
Don’t use food as a reward or punishment, instead reward them with something beneficial to their overall health - like a visit to the park or some basketball court action. Make sure you also distinguish treats from healthy food and make sure you only eat these things occasionally (80% Good Ninja and 20% Naughty Ninja applies to the whole family!).
And the most important thing to remember is - you’re allowed to have treats sometimes! But all in moderation. Eating well and regular exercise supports a child’s healthy growth and development into adulthood as they learn lifelong habits for a healthy and happyfit future.