Start early when teaching children good eating and exercising habits
We all know it’s easy to create bad habits, and even harder to break them, especially when it comes to our health. How many of us have made the “my diet starts on Monday” claim?
It’s a no-brainer that we all want to be healthy. We want to be able to move well, sleep well and just feel well overall. To achieve this, we need to have a healthy diet full of real, whole foods and incorporate exercise/movement into our lives often, if not daily. If these aren’t two things you are used to, or they aren’t second nature to you, they can be difficult habits to create. And habits, like snacking on processed foods and going through the drive-through after work, can be extremely difficult to break.
So, instead of setting our kids up for a future of repeatedly trying to create healthy habits/break bad ones, we should make eating healthy and moving often a norm for them from a young age. Make grabbing carrots for a snack rather than a bag of chips second nature for them. Encourage them to move and play and teach them that fitness and exercise is not a chore or punishment, but fun and extremely beneficial.
While we are creating a healthy lifestyle for our kids, they will also gain positive self-perception. They will be more focused on all of the amazing things their body can do, rather than the way they look. They will be more worried about getting out to go play and move, rather than scrolling through a social media site telling themselves “I wish I looked like that.” We can teach them that their health is more important than what society tells them to look like, and that self-love is the key to happiness.
We are humans, and some days it’s much easier to grab fast food for dinner or let your child snack on those cookies they are begging for. We should still celebrate birthdays with cake and bike to our favorite ice-cream shops in the summer.
There are 365 days in a year – focus a majority of those on creating healthy habits, eating real nutritious foods, and getting some type of movement in, and I would call that year a win.
Mary Weider is a Fox Cities resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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