Simple Steps To Encourage Healthy Family Habbits

Parents can help children develop healthy eating and exercise habits in a number of ways.   Donít get overwhelmed. Pick one and take it a step at a time.

  • Role model healthy eating and activity habits.  You donít have to be perfect; little things count.  Seeing you drink water regularly and taking walks most days teaches children that these habits are a part of life. Children learn what they live.
  • Learn some facts about healthy foodReading food labels can teach you a lot. 
  • Keep mostly healthy food in the house. Kids eat whatís there. 
  • Use healthy child feeding practices. Donít force children to clean their plates or eat when theyíre not hungry. Donít use food as a reward.  If children are rewarded with food they may learn to eat when theyíre not hungry and start to use food for comfort, instead of developing healthy coping skills.
  • Have regular meals.  They donít have to be fancy.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner keep kids well nourished and keep them from overeating junk food throughout the day.  According to Ellyn Satter, one of the foremost experts on establishing healthy family eating habits, this is the most important practices families can adopt. 
  • Be a role model for a positive attitude about your own weight.  Research shows that if parents often talk about being disatisfied with their weight, they can pass this on to thier kids.  If you need to talk about your weight,  talk to someone other than your children.
  • Enroll children in active community events.  Parks and Recreation, the YMCA and some churches have great low cost options.
  • Do something active as a family at least once a weekówalk the dog, play pitch and catch, visit a park, wash the car.
  • Have some screen time rules. Experts say kids should have no more than 2 hours of non-homework screen time a day.
  • Have activity related equipment in your home. Put foam balls next to the TV set, balance balls next to computers, and  Frisbees, balls and jump ropes by the back door.
  • A good nightís sleep reduces risk of childhood obesity