Take baby steps as you build a healthier lifestyle for your family. Start with some small changes, such as a hula hoop contest instead of a movie night. Stir some grated carrots into soups or meatloaf instead of lecturing your kids about the importance of lima beans. Give up 30 minutes of a Sunday football game and rake leaves. These fitness and nutrition tips help you to gradually lay the foundation for overall family wellness.
Weave some pleasure into your efforts to get everyone in your household on the nutrition and fitness bandwagon. The same old fruit in a dish makes kids yawn. A better alternative is a smiley face with banana slices for eyes, raisins for the nose and peach slices for the grin. Serve flavored milk like chocolate or strawberry if your youngster winces at calcium-fortified beverages. Ask her to join you at the supermarket so she can inspect the varieties of produce and select her favorites.
Flex your leadership skills by showing your child how to develop healthier habits. Let her watch you sampling new whole-grain cereals and a wide variety of produce. Lace up your sneakers and stroll around the block so she sees you working up a sweat. Park your car a few paces away from your usual spot at the stores as an example of the importance of inserting extra steps into your routine. Do your share of snacking on whole fruits, low-salt pretzels and sparkling water with a dash of juice.
Use innovative ways to convince your kids that exercise doesn't mean drudgery. Play the game of "Twister" indoors, especially on a rainy day. Set up an obstacle course in your basement so your kids have to skip around chairs, laundry baskets and anything that you place on the floor. Act out a story as you read aloud so your little ones join in and mimic you. Use a jump rope or juggle some balls. Ask them to help when you walk the dog or wash the car.
Obese children need special guidance so they can break their unhealthy habits. Recognize the trigger points that make them backslide and have a strategy in place to help them beat temptation. For example, carry only enough cash for admission if she expects a bucket of popcorn at the movie theater. Set realistic goals that focus on better eating habits and exercising. Encourage her to eat five fruits and vegetables daily instead of pushing her to lose 10 pounds. Limit fast-food to only once a month as a special treat.
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- Shape Up: 99 Tips For Family, Fitness, Fun
- Nutrition MD: Food Fights With Your Kids: Step 1: Ways to Help Your Child Eat Healthfully
- Help Guide; Nutrition for Children and Teens; Helping Your Kids Develop Healthy Eating Habits; Maya W. Paul, et. al.; February 2011
- Mayo Clinic: Childhood Obesity: Make Weight Loss A Family Affair
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images