Whether you’re running a multi-million dollar company in Raleigh, NC, or running a household, you have to lead by example to be your most effective. It’s hard for a child to believe there’s any truth that eating healthy and exercising is good for you, especially when parents don’t do it. There’s a lot of examples where children follow the actions of their parents, rather than their words. Children learn what they live, not necessarily what they hear. To make sure your child or family is healthy, you have to make changes in your life toward a healthier lifestyle.
Start children off right with healthy meals.
What you serve at meals provide the options children have when they eat. While you might not be able to control what they eat when they’re not at home, you can control their eating habits there. Have nutritious meals ready for every meal. If you’re working outside the home and think that’s impossible, it’s not, as long as you plan ahead. One day is used to plan a week’s menu and create a shopping list. Plan to make double recipes, so there’s enough extra to freeze for meals another week. Do your shopping on the next day and cooking on the weekend or your day’s off work. After a few weeks, you’ll only have to make one or two dishes, the rest will already be frozen and ready.
Get active and take your family with you.
Take a walk after dinner, go to a park on the weekend or go hiking. Make sure you carve out a half hour to an hour a day to do something active with your family. Instead of buying the latest and greatest new iPhone, invest the money in bicycles for the whole family. They don’t have to be new. In fact, some pawn shops and second hand stores have great bikes at a reasonable price. Kids learn to be active by making memories with you.
Get the family involved in your workout.
Smaller children love this. They love working out with mom and dad, mimicking their every move. While teens might think it’s a bit hokey, they also might actually join you or secretly watch and do it in their room when you’re not watching. The fitter you get, the more weight you lose and the more muscles you build will act as incentives for your children and even your spouse.
- Make sure you have healthy snacks that are ready to eat when your kids want to munch. Serving sizes of nuts, veggies, fruit and dip all qualify and normally are kid approved. Have water, not juice, Kool-Aid or soft drinks in the refrigerator in reusable bottles.
- If you work with children, make sure to remember to get them up and moving once every fifty minutes. Teach the kids to watch the clock and let you know when fifty minutes is up so everyone can stretch. Studies show that sitting any longer is detrimental to health.
- Put away computers, cell phones and electronic devices for meal time. Too much time on the computer is bad for young brains, according to recent studies. Meal time should be spent enjoying each other’s company and savoring the food.
- Walk as much as you can. Don’t circle the store, hunting for the best parking spot. Use the stairs and walk, don’t drive, to the neighbor’s house.