Starting them young; 10 Healthy habits for kids

  • For a healthy diet, food should be as colorful as possible: This is a great thing you can teach your children from the word go. They need to understand that food that is colorful is not just fun but has tremendous health benefits. So, a typical meal should include a variety of differently colored vegetables, ranging from red, orange, green, blue, and white to yellow.
  • Breakfast is a must: Don’t allow your kids to skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, as it helps to kickstart the brain and provides give enough energy for the day. It also keeps kids strong and reduces the risk for chronic diseases. So, go ahead and inculcate this routine of regular mealtimes when they are young, as it increases the probability of your children continuing this good habit when they’re adults. It’s been medically proven that skipping breakfast increases the chances of childhood obesity by four times, so breakfast should be a must in your home. Getting your children into a regular meal routine will also help them avoid unnecessary snacking, and a nutritious breakfast that is rich in protein and has a moderate serving of all food groups will help them stay active throughout the day. One way to make breakfast easy is by stocking up on quick morning meals-to-go if you are busy.
  • More water, less soda: Water is the best drink ever for a healthy diet. Teach your children this on time. More water, less soda makes for a healthier life. Soda adds no nutritional value at all but only adds unnecessary calories that can lead to weight problems.  Over time, the calories from soft drinks can add up to unwanted weight gain, which can put your kids at risk for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Be sure that your children drink enough water by keeping water handy. To reduce the odds of them buying soda outside, gift your kids their very own reusable water bottle to be used outside the house.
  • Teach them to cook: Not only does teaching your kids how to cook make for good family time and not only does it make them appreciate your efforts as a parent, but it most importantly gives them a good appreciation for and a good relationship with food from a young age. They are more likely to eat what they cook and this reduces the probability of eating junk. Another truth is that cooking imparts a basic but very necessary life skill. If they know how to cook, then they know what is right to eat and what is not right, laying a foundation for a healthy diet.
  • Teach them to read food labels: You won’t always be there to help them make food choices so it is important to teach your children to read food nutrition labels. Show them where the vital information about nutrition is on packaged foods and explain to them what the numbers mean. Let them learn how to tell what the amount of calories in a serving is, how much sugar it contains and if it has saturated and trans fats or not. It will help them make informed nutritional choices even when you are not there, and keep them steadfast on a healthy eating habit.
  • Less TV and screen time: A study reports that children who spend more than two hours a day watching TV face a greater risk of health problems. They are more likely to be overweight, have irregular sleep, have trouble falling asleep, have behavioral problems, and/or impaired educational performance. So, teach your children to get off the couch and do something physical instead.
  • Get physical: Teach your kids to be physically active. Not every child will love sport or understand the benefit of a healthy diet or the benefit of exercising, but staying physically active may be all the exercise your little one needs. To help them get physically active, choose enjoyable physical activities and you yourself must show them by example. Do something you love and do it smiling; your kids will follow suit. It could be walking, running, swimming, gymnastics, playing basketball, gardening. As long as it raises your heart rate faster than when you are resting, do it and get your kids involved too. If they see you being active and loving it, they are likely to carry the love of these activities into adulthood.
  • Get enough sleep: To help their brain develop properly, children need to get enough sleep. Those within the ages of 5 to 12 need about ten to eleven hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. You will do well to ensure that they get enough sleep by going to bed at the same time every day. When they sleep well, they tend to be more attentive in classes, be in a good mood during the day and build immunity. To encourage a more restful night and better sleep, make sure all electronics are shut down at least half an hour before bedtime. Dim the lights and lower the noise levels throughout the house. Create a nighttime ritual for younger children which may include brushing their teeth, reading a story and/or singing a song.
  • Good hygiene: Teach your children good hygiene from the word go. This way, they’ll have less hospital visits. Teach them to wash their hands before eating, after using the toilet, after blowing their nose and/or playing with pets. Handwashing is one of the most important ways to halt or at least control the spread of germs. Teach them to brush twice daily, as oral health is associated with overall health. And teach them to bathe regularly and well.
  • Teach them to laugh: Above all, let your children develop the habit of laughter from when they are kids. Teach them to enjoy life. Teach them to laugh at their own mistakes, to love much, to forgive easily, and to reach for the stars.


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