As you may have understood, I refer to the parents’ habits, of course, which will affect kids and most likely accompany them for life! Besides, it’s widely known that everything starts at home…
If you want your kids to follow a healthier lifestyle, apart from the back to school habits which are important to follow and make them part of their everyday lives, there are some more. What do I mean? The habits that will contribute significantly to a more beautiful and balanced everyday life.
1. The healthy eating plate is part of a balanced lifestyle.
I have given you plenty of information regarding the healthy eating plate here. The combination of nutrient-rich foods that are low in fats, especially in saturated and trans fats, but are also low in sugar and salt, is necessary for the kids to learn how to make balanced meals, consume a variety of foods and learn -from a young age- which foods are “better” than some others. The healthy eating plate is a perfect way to get this message across and so, kids will start consuming more fruits and vegetables. Another way is to explain to them why you choose each food with a short story. For instance, it is not by chance that Popeye ate so much spinach and was that strong, Bugs Bunny ate so many carrots and ran that fast, Goofy ate so many peanuts and turned into Super Goofy, and Minions ate so many bananas that gave them energy which made them more and more inventive.
2. Plan a different activity to do with your kids every week.
Going on trips will not only give you the chance to do more things with your kids, but they will also give you the chance to do many different kinds of physical activity, visit many different places, and teach your kids to love and protect nature. Moreover, you will make them understand that if we want our bodies to rest properly and recharge our batteries, we should make a trip to nature part of our weekly or even monthly program.
Remember that due to the increased use of technology, obesity rates are rising more and more as the years go by since a great percentage of kids watch television (or do any other type of technology activity) for more than one hour a day. So, you should make sure to combine nature with some sort of physical activity in order to have a well-balanced life!
3. Cook your food together!
If you see that your kids have a hard time consuming certain foods, and especially when these foods are vegetables, fruits and legumes, then you can find some smart ways to cook them. Create some new and special recipes with your kids, making them take part in the process. For example, you can create animal faces together -using vegetables-fruits- and let them play with their food and create many different ''drawings'' on their own.
In no case should you pressure your kids to eat their last bite of food, even if it contains vegetables, just because this is considered healthy. This is most likely to bring the opposite results. The only thing you have to do is to cook with them recipes that contain lots of veggies, consume these healthy meals yourselves (unless there is a health problem that does not allow you to) and add them to your table.
Recycling is also a process that kids should learn to do properly from a young age. The best way is to show it to them as if it’s a game and make bins containing different materials, e.g. glass, plastic, paper. Color the bins according to the material that they contain and every time you add something inside, ask your kids whether they know what kind of material it is. Moreover, explain to them that the recycling process helps to protect the environment and the planet, and it can offer us an even more beautiful environment in which we can play and enjoy every day!
5. Create a beautiful home garden!
Growing our own vegetables and fruits is something that I would characterize as magical. I think that this is a unique way for kids to understand the importance of making our own food and -why not- grow it ourselves. The process may seem complex but, believe me, it is not. You simply need to organize, have a program and lots of patience, of course! You will see that with the proper instructions, growing your own vegetables in the garden of your house will seem like a piece of cake.
Keep in mind that parents seem to influence kids just like a celebrity might influence and adult. For this reason, make sure to teach them things that will benefit their health -physical and mental. All of the above definitely lead to an improved quality of life with many beautiful images!
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Sports Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.
*The above information is based on published research findings.