- Have frequent family meals
A family meal is one where everybody sits down to eat a home cooked meal with at least one parent/adult and no distractions like TV, mobiles or tablets.
Eating frequent family meals is known to foster healthy eating habits in kids. Kids tend to make healthy food choices like fruits and vegetables when they see their parents enjoying them. This prevents excessive weight gain.
They also help kids to develop empathy, understand emotions and develop positive relationships leading to improved mental health.
- Be a smart grocery shopper
- Make a grocery shopping list.
It helps you to evaluate the food that you need to plan healthy meals. It saves time and money and prevents impulsive purchases.
- Make it a habit to read information on packaged foods.
This includes list of ingredients and food labels for nutrition facts. Ingredients are listed in the decreasing order of weight. Watch out for sugar, refined flour as the first or second ingredient.
- Be wary of health claims like cholesterol-free, zero trans-fat etc.
- Always shop on a full stomach. If you are taking kids to the grocery store, then ensure they are well fed and not tired, to avoid tantrums. Set down clear rules about behavior before you enter the shop. Once inside, try and engage them e.g. ask them to count something, look for the cheapest deal or tick off the items in your list.
- Make sleep a priority
Nothing can energize and refresh like a good night’s sleep. It is as crucial as a healthy diet and an active lifestyle. It helps children learn, focus and solve problems better. It can boost immunity, prevent weight gain and improve mood and behavior in children. It can reduce the risk of self-harm in teens. In the long-term it is known to decrease the risk of Type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, heart disease, stroke and hypertension.
So, have a bed time routine free of gadgets and go to sleep at almost the same time every day.
Kids always learn from we do and not what we say. A few tweaks in your lifestyle can work wonders for their physical and mental health in the long term.