December 30th, 2020 12:00am
Helping your child learn to make healthy choices can be a big job, and sometimes it can be a frustrating one. For many parents, finding ways to get their children to eat foods that are good for them and stay active rather than spending hours playing video games can be difficult and time-consuming, and it can lead to lots of disagreements and even tantrums for little ones.
However, there are some simple ways you can help your kids learn to make the right decisions for their bodies. The key is to make it fun and allow your child to be creative; get him involved in the process of buying and preparing food so he’ll be more invested in eating lunch and dinner. Lead by example and get the family involved in activities together, such as playing a sport. Once your child sees that staying active can be fun, he’ll stop viewing it as a chore that has to be done.
Here are a few budget-friendly tips on how to help your child make healthy choices now and well into adulthood.
Create a Calm and Safe Home Environment
It can be difficult for a child to make good choices when experiencing stress or anxiety, even if he’s not aware of the origin of those feelings. Sometimes, having lots of clutter around can make us grumpy or tired; it can affect our mental health without us even realizing it. Create a calm environment at home to help ease stress by decluttering, making one room a “quiet” room where someone can go if they’re feeling overwhelmed or just need some time to themselves.
You can also make sure everyone stays safe by ensuring that all “grown-up” items are put away securely, such as alcohol, weapons, and medicine. And if your children are old enough to stay at home by themselves for a short amount of time, make some room in your budget for a good security system, which will allow you to watch over them while you’re gone. Just keep in mind that some systems have monthly fees for the services they provide.
Make Healthy Food Fun
Many kids aren’t big on eating their fruits and vegetables, but you can help your child make good food choices by showing him that healthy items are fun. Instead of giving him plain fruit with breakfast, layer it in a glass with low-fat whipped topping and turn it into a parfait. Give him sprinkles and crushed graham crackers so he can decorate the top himself. When it comes to veggies, give him a variety to choose from and let him make his own pizza. Allowing your child to be creative where food is concerned will help him see healthy food as the better option.
Get Active Together
Getting active as a family will allow everyone to have fun and get fit simultaneously, so plan for a family basketball game (is it time for a new hoop?), or take the dog on a hike. If each family member has a bike, plan a family bike ride through the park when the weather is nice. This will help you lead by example to show your child that staying active is essential no matter what your age is. Need some gear to get started? Check out local second-hand sporting goods stores to get what you need without paying a lot of money.
Make Healthy Eating an Easy Option
It will be much easier for everyone in your family to eat healthy if there are good options handy, so instead of keeping potato chips or sugary snacks in the pantry, try hard-boiled eggs, popcorn, and roasted pumpkin seeds. String cheese, fruit, and yogurt are great options for the fridge that your little ones can grab on the go. When it’s handy, they’ll be more likely to go for it when they’re hungry. Plus, here’s a little-known set: healthy eating isn’t any more costly than an unhealthy diet.
It’s never easy to know precisely how to help guide your child into healthy decision-making; after all, some kids are picky eaters, while others are just plain stubborn. Don’t give up! Keep trying with different fruits and vegetables — while keeping an eye on your budget, of course — because you never know how your child’s tastes will change.
by Sara Baily
Disclaimer: Any statement here is not meant to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Please consult your physician before making any decisions.