Being a parent is not always easy. It’s a role that comes with numerous responsibilities, including providing your family with a happy, healthy environment to thrive in. However, in our aims to earn and achieve more to help our families out, we end up neglecting our health. Not only does this increase the risk of various illnesses, but it also sets a bad example for the children.
Of course, every parent wants what’s best for their family, and it all starts with building healthy habits and making smart choices on a daily basis. Below, several useful tips to keep your children and family happy and healthy.
Start promoting healthy eating habits from the get go
Healthy habits start at home, especially when it comes to dietary choices. To start the day right, reach for healthful alternatives to regular bowl of cereals and commercial orange juice. Breakfast burrito, smoothies, yogurt bars and low-fat yogurt are healthy ways to kickstart your mornings without unnecessary sugars and additives. Between the meals, opt for snacks like nuts, seeds, fruits, and veggies, swapping sugary drinks and desserts for healthy alternatives. When cooking, use healthier versions of kitchen staples like sugar, salt, flour, butter and vegetable oil. Replace them with fresh herbs, spices, whole wheat flour, and healthy oils (olive, coconut, avocado, flaxseed, etc.).
Pay attention to cooking methods as well – instead of frying the food, try baking, boiling, or grilling. Try to get everyone onboard with healthy eating and get them involved in the food-making process once a week. Manage your portions to create balanced meals, and highlight the importance of eating mindfully. Set a positive example by eating healthy, and never resort to using food as a reward, no matter how appealing.
Teach the importance of protecting one’s health early on
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Along with teaching healthy habits, being proactive in protecting your family’s health is key to preventing various conditions and illnesses. And we’re not just talking about making sure yourself and your kids are wearing protective gear when riding a vehicle. We’re also talking about taking any preventative steps you can to preserve your family’s health in general.
For newborns, this will mean collecting and storing cord blood stem cells after extracting them from the umbilical cord. These cells are preserved for potential future medical or therapeutic use not just for the child but the entire family. For older children, preserving their overall health will mean being proactive with health checkups, well-child visits, and vaccines. In case of food allergies in babies and young children, it will mean working with everyone from teachers to babysitters to childcare providers to secure healthy and safe meal options along with finding ways to manage the condition effectively.
Make sure to set aside time in the day for physical activity
Staying active is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle and something the whole family can benefit from. Physical activity helps reduce stress and keeps our bodies functioning properly by improving circulation and digestion. It also helps strengthen our bones and muscles, and it helps us maintain a healthy body weight. Generally speaking, children and teens need a minimum of 60 minutes of physical activity per day. Adults need to be active for at least 30 minutes, more if they’re trying to lose weight.
There are many ways to build healthy habits and include physical activity in your daily routine. Play with kids, get the whole family involved in household chores, or head to the local community center or park. Even some small changes can help parents burn some extra calories. Try walking while running your errands, hop on a treadmill during commercials, and use the stairs instead of the elevator.
Do your best to ensure good, restful sleep each night
Sleep, just like exercise, heavily affects our health, mood, brain function, and everyday performance. Ensuring a good night’s sleep can help prevent sleep deprivation, reduce the risk of developing serious medical conditions, and boost performance at school and work.
One way to do that is to limit the time spent in front of the screen. Aim to shut all electronic devices down at least one hour before bedtime, and remove TVs and laptops from bedrooms. If your kids are having trouble falling asleep, tell them a bedtime story or encourage them to read a book to wind down to fall asleep more easily. By being consistent with a bedtime routine, you’ll help establish healthy habits early on.
Being responsible and making well-informed, healthy decisions when it comes to our children and families is not always so easy. In fact, encouraging healthy habits can be quite difficult, especially when you consider the pressure modern parents feel to keep their little ones healthy and happy while trying to keep up with the demands imposed by the fast-paced modern lifestyle.
While it’s okay to not do everything perfectly, it’s important we do our best to promote healthy habits at home. That way, we can help set our children up for a lifetime of good health while simultaneously maintaining our own.