When I first began my health and fitness journey seven years ago, I was on a new path of self-discovery, self-healing, and self-evaluation. I knew that I needed to lose weight and get healthy after having my third child at the age of 35. So, I began with addressing my activity level and developed a new routine with daily exercise clean eating to build a healthier lifestyle.
As the weight started to drop, I found myself having more conversations with my girls about their nutrition and increasing their level activity. My teenagers, of course, were less than thrilled at my new healthy outlook as they noticed less and less junk food coming into the house. Yet, they were watching how my body was changing and even began encouraging me in my journey.
Through the last year and a half, there has been an ever bigger shift in our nutrition at home when my husband decided to jump on the clean eating bus with me. After five years of driving that bus alone, I finally had my partner on board. I knew then that we were going to be a major powerhouse working together to really mold my youngest daughter, who still lives at home.
Working together, we are teaching our daughter how to live a healthy life. By exposing her to healthy ways of eating, having her pay attention to how her body feels with different food, making healthy lunches for school, limiting time with electronics, encouraging her to play outdoors with friends and staying active, we are training her up to live a healthy lifestyle beyond just her time at home.
How many of you have had to figure out how to get healthy on your own? If you are like most people, you didn’t have a parent showing you how to eat healthy or what kinds of exercise you should be doing. Most of us have had to navigate the waters of healthy living all on our own and many of us in more painstaking ways than others.
How much of an advantage would it be for your children if you were to pave the way for them in living healthy and showing them how to incorporate into their life? Kids really do enjoy helping in the kitchen when given the opportunity. When we involve them in the process, they tend to be more interested in the food they are eating. It gives them a sense of independence and empowerment when they can be involved in the decision-making of what is served at the table.
A few things you can do to bring your children alongside you in living a healthier life:
- Enlist their help in washing produce and preparing meals. Get them involved.
- Take them with you to the store and allow them to make food choices, albeit healthy ones, for their school lunch. (You may choose to take one child at time in the beginning if you have more than one.)
- Introduce them to a new vegetable at the market and talk about finding ways to incorporate it with a new recipe into a family dinner.
- Have regular conversations about food, teaching them how whole foods fuel our bodies to give us energy.
- Plant a small garden, or even just a few potted vegetable plants, in the spring and have them help you with planting, weeding, and harvesting.
- Allow them to help in preparing their school lunch or if they are old enough, have them pack their own.
- Take a family walk or bike ride after dinner instead of watching TV or playing on electronic devices.
- Plan family outings and vacations that will facilitate physical activity like walking or swimming.
- Invite them to join you doing your exercise. Take them on a run or ride bikes. If you use a DVD program, find a program you can do together that is fun or put “Just Dance” in the Xbox for 30 minutes and dance together.
Just like anything else in life we want to teach our children, we must invest time by involving them in the process. For when you train up a child in the way he should go, when he is older, he will not turn from it.