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Few things will derail a lifestyle change faster than trying to change while those around you stay the same. This is the number one reason I chose to go to a nutritionist instead of a major “diet program.” It’s hard to involve kids when my meals are coming from a frozen tray instead of a whole food.
Part of my motivation for getting fit is to be a good role model for my daughter, and help her develop healthy eating habits so she won’t have to struggle with food and weight like I do. It’s very difficult to show her how to eat healthfully when my food is made and chosen for me by a corporation.
What I want to do is teach her how to make healthy choices. I want her to see physical activity as something to be enjoyed. I want her to see, eat, and love real food.
There are lots of ways to help kids learn about healthy food choices that aren’t painful, and can even be fun.
Shop together. I know. I know. Going shopping with kids can be an exercise in frustration. But the grocery store is the first line of defense. It’s where choices are made about what food is going to be brought into your home. Teach your child about food labels and how to decide what’s worth your money.
Cook together. The best way to get to know about food is to make it yourself. Kids are naturally curious about this process, and are generally very willing to help out in the kitchen. Bonus: Getting kids in the kitchen typically makes them more willing to try new things! Try these simple tips so cooking with kids doesn’t drive you crazy.
Eat together. There are lots of benefits to eating with your kids. It’s a bonding experience, and it sets the table (see what I did there?) for healthy habits down the road. And there are a million little lessons to be learned at the dinner table, from manners to hygiene, to knowing when you’re full.
Let’s Get Physical
Part of a healthy lifestyle is leading an active life. That doesn’t mean that you have to become a gym rat or ditch your friends in favor of CrossFit fanatics. It just means that you need to move without bitching about it.
Walk together. Walking is a great family activity because anyone can do it, and you can do it anywhere. Go for a walk around the neighborhood, go to the mall, or just walk around your house.
Use technology. Turn on your gaming system and have a family game of Dance, Dance Revolution or do some yoga. Pull up a YouTube video or hop on a virtual spin class.
Go old school. Play tag. Have a race. Play red light, green light. Think about all those school-yard games kids played before recess was cut down to nothing and get moving!