Encourage Your Kids to Eat & Live Healthier Without Shaming
Parents today are generally leading far more busy and chaotic lifestyles than their parents did a generation ago. It used to be common for women to stay home to care for their kids and to keep the household running. More women today are in the workforce. This is true even if there are two parents. “Eat & Live Healthier”
It can be difficult to find the time and energy to serve healthy meals each night and to promote an active lifestyle. While difficult, there are ways to encourage kids to eat and live healthier lives without resorting to harmful, hurtful and ineffective shaming statements or behaviors.
Step 1: Develop a “We’re All In This Together” Family Attitude
No kid wants to be lectured or ridiculed for anything pertaining to themselves. Children who are overweight often already feel shamed and embarrassed. With all of the recent rise in bullying, parents need to present a more positive way of living that builds up their children’s confidence and self-esteem.
Almost every family could make changes to live better, and kids respond better to positive parenting tactics. Develop a “We’re all in this together” family attitude to avoid singling anyone out who may have difficulties with weight or poor eating and exercise habits.
Step 2: Hold Family Meal Planning Sessions to Limit Last-Minute Fast Food Splurges
Hold family meal planning sessions weekly to limit those last-minute fast food splurges that probably happen more often than not. Include your children in the meal plan, and use the opportunity to teach better nutritional habits and choices.
Most diet and nutrition experts stay away from fad diets that leave individuals feeling hungry and irritable. It is better to develop better eating habits in a slower but consistent manner for a better chance of long-term success. Plan in healthier snacks but include some favorite foods now and then to avoid cravings that can sabotage a healthy diet. “Eat & Live Healthier”
Step 3: Choose Healthy Food Options & Limit High-Calorie Foods or Beverages
Choose healthier food options and limit higher calorie foods and sugary beverages. Pick fresh fruits and vegetables that are in season, and try to buy from a local farmer’s market for the best tasting and less expensive selections.
Plan meals ahead, and find healthier recipes for your family’s favorite food dishes. There are a number of magazines and recipe books available that promote lighter and healthier meal choices. “Eat & Live Healthier”
Learn and practice correct food proportions. Measure at first to ensure that everything is balanced out properly. In general, individuals should have more vegetable servings, and simple changes with cooking ingredients can lower fats, sugars and other unhealthy food additives.
Some terrific ideas to promote better eating include:
- Substitute Fattening Foods with Lower Calorie Options
- Make the Meal an Enjoyable Event Instead of Eating in a Rush in Front of the Television
- Limit Unhealthy Foods & Have Fresh Fruits, Lower-Calorie Snacks – Consider Prepackaged Low-Cal Snack Bags
- Encourage More Water Intake – Put Fresh Orange, Lemon or another Fruit Wedge for Natural Taste
- Use Smaller Plates at Meals & Eat Slow to Enjoy the Process
- Eat Healthy Breakfast Foods & Limit Heavy Eating Late in the Day
- Make Family & Individual Health, Eating & Exercise Goals both Short & Long Term
- Have Fun No-Pressure Contests
Step 4: Plan Family Cooking Times & Cook Ahead Then Freeze Future Meals
Plan some family cooking times, and involve your kids in the planning and preparation phases. Most kids are more likely to eat something that they helped make. Use plenty of encouragement, and make it fun for everyone. Cook more than needed ahead of time when it is convenient. Freeze the leftover food to serve later as a quick meal option for busy days. “Eat & Live Healthier”
Step 5: Incorporate Exercise & Fun Activities Into Daily Routines
Incorporate more exercise and fun activities into your family’s daily routines. Instead of boring exercise routines, find some fun workout dance or exercise videos or turn on your family’s favorite upbeat tunes and move.
Rather than focusing on the specifics, plan family activities like bike rides through a nature trail or around the neighborhood. Play a family or neighborhood volleyball game or other enjoyed sport. Go swimming at a pool or beach, or take up a karate, gymnastic or dance class.
Include kid favorites into your new family activity plan for the best results. Kids that have fun are more likely to continue another day. For younger kids, encourage running games or tag, or take a walk to a nearby park. “Eat & Live Healthier”
For some ideas to get everyone moving, consider taking family excursions to go:
- Skating Ice or Roller
- Kayaking, Boating or Other Watersport
- Skiing – Snow or Water
- Paintball or Water-Fights
- Day Walking Local Tourist Attractions
- Walk the Mall or Visit a Museum on Rainy Days
- Sled Riding
Step 6: Use Positive Incentives & Make Living Healthy Fun
Parents should use more positive incentives for encouraging healthier living. Those that make it fun and lively are more apt to see better results. Don’t overthink the process. The point is to be spontaneous in a good way.
Try to make dinnertime a pleasant event. Consider putting out the good china and family silverware for a family dinner now and then. Have your kids help you polish up the antique silverware or tea set, and invite someone over for extra excitement.
Make the time to eat together as a family at least several times a week. Daily is better, and this meal could be breakfast or lunch if dinner doesn’t work due to family schedules.
The best way to encourage your kids to eat healthier and live more active lifestyles is to make it a group family effort. Use positive encouragement and be consistent.