18 July 2013 Raising a Healthy Family
Now that summer is upon us, some families are spending a lot more time together, and that means a lot more meals together too. Whether or not your kids are in summer camps, chances are you are making a few more lunches for them, or while traveling for summer vacations you are eating out or preparing more meals as a family. This means it is the perfect time to raise and educate a healthy family.
But how do we do it? It’s not by echoing all the sayings and doings we may have grown up with. Times have changed. And while we may be still battling the weight we have carried since we were kids, we don’t have to put that burden on our own. Whether or not our kids are overweight, it is important that we take the opportunity to educate and inform health eating habits whenever we can, and spending a summer with them is the best time to do this.
One important way we can start raising a healthy family is by choosing the right words we use to talk about health. In a study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, adolescents who were engaged in conversations about healthy eating habits, instead of conversations about their actual weight or clothing size, were less likely to start unhealthy weight control practices (such as binge eating or starvation dieting). Even if we have opinions about where our kids’ weight, or our own weight, should be, it’s a better practice to just discuss what’s healthy and what’s not instead of making them (or us) feel like the “wrong example” of healthy living. Talk positively about living a healthy lifestyle and compliment them on their good choices and healthy activities.
Of course, we might not be the picture-perfect example of health, but our kids will take notice of our efforts to improve ourselves. So set the examples we want our kids to follow. In a study published by the International Journal of Obesity, two to five-year olds are more likely to be active and healthy eaters if they saw their mothers model healthy behaviors themselves and had mothers who encouraged them to exercise and eat well. Parents are the everlasting first impression on their children, at every age. We must keep this in mind. It’s on us.
Kids need a voice in this too, so remember that. Ultimately, of course, it is the parents who have the final say for what ends up on most of their plates, but giving our kids the opportunity to choose how much they eat, and which foods they eat more of at a sitting, is a way we can empower them to make the right choices when we are not around. We may need to step in with some constructive feedback about their choices, but as long as we are educating them about “grow foods” and “slow foods” (foods that help them grow and ones that can make them slow, respectively) we can be confident we are raising a healthy family.
What do you do at your home to promote a healthy lifestyle?Have questions or comments about this post? Please feel free to comment on MyNetDiary's Community Forum or Facebook page – We would love to hear from you. And consider visiting our new Pinterest page!
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