Since becoming a mom, I’ve realized how important what I eat is, especially since my kids are eating what I am. Do I really think switching to brown rice or whole wheat bread is all I need to do? Not by a long shot. This millennial generation that I am part if is incredibly busy and always on the go, which usually means we don’t have time for healthy food diets, exercise or even eating sometimes. But in the larger scheme of things, it is imperative that we make a conscious effort to be healthier, for us and more importantly for our kids.
Our kids are influenced by our behaviors, attitudes and actions, and what we choose to be, is what our kids will choose to perceive and portray. If we want to promote lifelong healthiness, we all need to get the ball rolling, literally!
With the spiking rates in childhood obesity, diabetes and cancer, it is our moral duty to help prevent these health disparities from clinging on to our children. Can we really totally prevent out children from ever developing any of these issues? Probably not, as fate must play its course, but we can take a proactive approach in promoting healthy eating and behaviors from a young age. If our kids are watching us trade in apples, granolas and yogurt for ice-cream, sodas and chocolate we can only expect their unhealthy behaviors will soon develop and emerge. We want to help our children maintain healthy weight and normal growth.
As we are disciplining our children in appropriate behaviors, it is the same we must institute for healthy living. We may first need to start disciplining ourselves, as I know I need to, before we set acceptable rules for our kids. By instilling this discipline, we will all quickly learn what behaviors are acceptable in terms of eating, exercise, and playtime.
So, how can we kick off these healthy habits? It all starts with innovative ideas integrating health and fun.
Making healthy eating part of movie night or game night is a great way to get everyone involved and sets aside some family time.. Let everyone help cook dinner, throw on some music and make it an unforgettable time. Teach your kids about what your cooking and talk about the health benefits of certain foods. Let your kids lead healthy choices by coming up with their own recipe ideas. You can even make a scrapbook together of all your great recipes. .It’s a great way to incorporate laughter and fun, the two most important ingredients in a healthy diet!
Turn off the TV, put down that iPhone, throw on your walking shoes and get outdoors! Take your kids for a stroll, run or challenge them to a game of softball, tag or red light green light 123. Any outdoor activities will show your kids how important everyday exercise is. While your out and about, invest in some bonding time and take a few minutes to talk about sports and find out what interests them. It’s a good way to learn more about your kids and motivate them to join a sports team. If you were an athlete in High school or college, show your kids pictures and it might spark an interest.
As the sun starts rolling around plan regular outings and trips to the park with friends and family and kick off an annual sports day. Do relay races, potato sack runs and games. Not only will kids want to practice Their moves leading up to the day, they will be pumped and excited to beat their little sister, best friend or cousin. A little competition is healthy.
Join a spin class, take hip hop classes, or try out yoga, all together. Moms, use the once a week to take your daughter to your favorite exercise class of your choice, then stop for smoothies, maybe a manicure and enjoy the day. Dads, use the day to find a favorite sport like boxing, karate, track or basketball and make a pit stop at the arcade or for smoothies too! Everyone loved a good smoothie. The point is to use the time to educate and engage your kids about healthy living, while living happily!!
Create a body chart with your kids and educate them on what each organ of the body does and what it needs to function. Let your kids be creative and colorful and use lots of highlighters and words. Let it be their creation that they can be proud of and maybe even hang on their wall in their room.
We all need to start somewhere to be a healthy role model. Find your role and start teaching your kids the healthy way.
I am an independent filmmaker and producer and freelance writer. I received my Bachelors degree in Journalism from Hofstra University, a Masters degree in Communications and Film Productions from the New York Institute of Technology and I am a former graduate of the New York Film Academy in New York City. I have experience as on-air TV reporter for NYIT’s LI News Tonight News Station. and have written opt editorials on various topics for Caribbean newspapers and magazines. I've also worked in the radio industry as a producer, board engineer, and newscaster at WRHU Hofstra University, 1240AM WGBB, and 930AM WPAT. I am currently the Vice President of Friends of New York’s West Indian Community, a non-profit organization aiming to uplift the Indo-Caribbean Community and work at St. Mary's Healthcare System for Children as the Manager of Marketing and Communications.