We all want what is best for our children. In my case, it has been very important to me right from the beginning that my son live a healthy lifestyle. I didn’t exactly know back when he was firstborn what all that would entail, but I have learned three essential rules that I believe promote healthy living for the whole family.
*Eat a nutritional and well-balanced diet.
Before my son was able to eat “real” food, I never put much thought into the quality of food I was eating and/or preparing for our meals. Once he was able to join us for mealtime and ask/beg for food, I realized very quickly that the food I provided for us ALL had to be healthy. I could no longer feed him the “good stuff” while my husband and I inhaled a greasy pizza. He wanted to eat what Mommy and Daddy were eating so things had to change — FAST!
This wasn’t as difficult as I had expected. I simply sat down and made a list of the foods I wanted him to eat based on their nutritional content — this included lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and very little processed and sugary foods. The next time I went to the grocery store I stuck to that list. Whenever I had the urge to throw in a box of cookies or potato chips I just asked myself, “Is this something I want my son eating?” Most of the time the answer was “NO” so I would keep on walking by. I’m happy to say that my son eats a very healthy diet. Instead of begging for candy or chips, he begs for bananas, grapes, and blueberries, SERIOUSLY! The bonus to all this is that my husband and I are eating healthier and feel great. Being a good example for our son has benefited us as well!
*Get moving. As with everything I’m discussing here, it’s all about being a good example for our kids. They so much want to be just like us, that they will do EXACTLY what we do, whether it’s good or bad. If we show our kids from a young age that exercise is fun and worthwhile, they will enjoy it as well. My son is now two years old and loves to dance, chase bubbles, run with his dogs, and go for walks. These are things he already enjoys doing and when we do them together, we both get a great workout!
*Drink plenty of water. Some parents probably think I’m crazy but my son is over two years old and has probably only had juice 4 or 5 times. He went directly from breastfeeding to milk and water. Occasionally I will give him some watered down orange juice because, of course, he sees Mommy drinking it and wants to be just like me. But in general, he only drinks water. He doesn’t beg for soda because he doesn’t know what he’s missing and that is fine with me! Plus, he sees Mommy and Daddy drinking water all day long, so he knows it’s the “cool” thing to do.
The most important thing I’ve learned in these 2 short years is how impressionable children are. They want nothing more than to be just like us. It’s quite an honor, actually. But also a great responsibility. I believe that by following these three simple rules my entire family will be healthier and most importantly, my son will grow up having already developed healthy living habits. I hope you find these tips helpful and I wish you and your family a very healthy living!