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Early Start: Healthy Diet and Exercise for Kids

by SarahD on March 22, 2011

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Teaching Your Kids to Eat Healthy and Exercise

As adults, we often fall back into habits that we learned in childhood simply because they are familiar and comfortable.  Of course, we can work hard to overcome bad habits, but wouldn’t it be easier if we started out with good habits, especially when it comes to diet and exercise?  If you are a parent with small children, you can do for your kids what your parents may not have had the experience or insight to do with you.  You can start early to give them the good habits they need to live a lifestyle of health and fitness from the get-go.  By implementing a healthy eating plan and ensuring that they enjoy plenty of fun, physical activity in their youth, you will instill your kids with a slew of habits that will likely stick with them for life.  Here’s how to do it.

Whether or not you have been interested in your own health and wellness in the past, now is the time to start thinking about it and making an effort to adopt a healthy lifestyle that you can pass on to your children.  It won’t be easy, especially if you have a lot of bad habits to break, but it can be done, and it should be, for your own sake as much as that of your family.  You should probably start by addressing your diet.  This is easy enough since all you need to do is look through your pantry and refrigerator to get an idea of how healthy your eating habits are.  If you have a lot of natural foods, lean meats, whole grains, and plenty of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, you’re doing pretty well.  Unfortunately, most people populate their kitchen with easy-to-grab, easy-to-make pre-packaged foods that are full of sugars, fats, additives, and preservatives, which are not good for you or your kids.

Teaching your children that these items are “food” is a bit misleading.  Yes, they will sustain your life, but they won’t provide for good health since they actually have very little natural food content (try reading the label and see how many ingredients you recognize).  If you want to instill your children with healthy eating habits for life, you might need to toss everything and start from scratch.  This isn’t always easy when you’re on a budget, but a bag of apples, oranges, or bananas can be had for about the same price as the candy bars you keep in the cupboard, so simply swap one form of sugar for the other.  You’ll still get your fix, but in a healthier way.  And think about joining a free online support network (such as SparkPeople) to help you along the way with tips, recipes, and exercise plans.

As for physical fitness, this might be even harder for you, but it will be easier for your kids if you start them young.  Make an effort to engage them in sports and other physical activities (games, playing outside, etc.) and be sure to join in yourself.  Even if all you do is go for a walk to the park or ride bikes around the neighborhood, you can set a good example for your kids even as you embrace exercise in your own life.  The result will be a healthier, happier family that lives longer and learns good habits together, which adds up to an environment that will help your kids to flourish.

Sarah Danielson writes for Fatty Weight Loss where you can find articles on health and nutrition in addition to information on the Khloe Kardashian diet and Pilates machines.

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