3 Wellness Tips for Healthy Kids
Just like there is no one way of eating that is best for every person, there is no one way of parenting that will work for every child. We have to keep learning, tweaking, learning, tweaking and evolving as parents. But, putting forth a concentrated effort towards your children's health and wellbeing cannot be underestimated. Setting up your children with some healthy habits can lay the ground work for them to become healthy and happy adults.
I adopted a few of these tips from friends who were using them. The reason my friends used them resonated with me, and could see how my family would benefit by implementing them into our routine. In the spirit of one parent sharing a tip to another, I hope there is something here that could work for you as well. :) Founder, Andrea Dershin.
Treat Fridays (aka limit their sugar intake)
Treat Friday is the household rule of no sugary treats or processed snacks during the week. We just don't keep it in the house. When Friday rolls around we head to the store to get something for "Treat Friday". It makes having a treat, just that, a treat! Not an expected part of everyday life. On Fridays & Saturdays we are more easy going when it comes to their food choices and it always feels special.
This was a game changer when it came to the amount of refined sugar my kids were consuming and made overall parenting sugar intake way easier to control too! My kids were constantly driving me crazy asking for a treat every day after school, and every night after dinner. I felt like we were in constant negotiations. Having clear boundaries makes it way easy to parent.
Kids: "Mom, what's for dessert?"
Kids: "Why can't we have a treat?"
Me. "It's Tuesday."
Period. End of Story.
I strongly believe in educating my children on the addictive nature of sugar. (And it can be done in a fun, light-hearted way) They have a fairly clear grasp on why, after having some sugar, their brains want more, more, more!!! They understand that most of the time they should be eating whole foods, full of nutrients to make them strong, smart and happy. They also understand that sometimes, having foods and drinks that have no nutritional value is totally fun and enjoyable.
There are always going to be birthdays and special occasions, friends and grandparents who spoil them, times when mommy and daddy get a craving for popcorn and m&m’s, and that's ok because it is not a daily ritual.
I want to instill in my children the importance of healthly eating, and be sure they do not feel entitled to eat junk food whenever they want.
2. Eat Raw First (or at least eat whole foods first)
I recommend this tip in the Total Cleansing Guide we send out to all our cleanse customers. It is a great way to increase raw veggie & fiber intake before a juice cleanse. Without even realizing it, I was doing this with my kids as well. Once I consciously made an effort to keep it up with my kids, it became a no brainer. This is one of the best ways to ensure your children are getting tons of fruits and veggies. It is also a habit that is really useful for adults to shift their cravings to whole foods, increase their fiber intake, lose weight and get healthy.
Fill up on the good stuff first!
For breakfast and dinner the kids eat raw fruits or veggies, nuts or seeds before their main meal. Lunch times are different since they are at day care or school. I pack it for them, but don't monitor it too closely.
Enzymes from raw fruits and veggies actually pre-digest foods! They assist in digestion, keep you regular, fight disease and give you glowing skin.
Breakfast: The kids typically are up early. The rule is, before we serve breakfast, if they are hungry, they can have fruit. Keep washed grapes and berries in the fridge for them to grab, apples and bananas on the counter – mini oragnes at the ready. In our house there is always cold pressed juice as well!
If they haven't already had fruit before breakfast, I give them some with breakfast and encourage them to eat it first.
Dinner: Before dinner is when my kids are at their hungriest and it’s easy to get them to eat tons of raw veggies. I give them each a plate of raw veggies and they go-to-town! Mix it up, and always try to put something green on there!
When dinner is served I like to include some leafy greens like baby spinach on their plate along with whatever else is for dinner. Leafy greens with dinner is a habit I have used for many years to keep me feeling my best. :) If you know one of the vegetables you are serving is not their favourite, put a few other options on their plate so you can negotiate. ("Eat all your spinach and red pepper and you can leave your mushrooms").
3. Limit Screen Time
These days, it's nearly impossible to limit my kids screen times to equal the amount from when I was a kid. Watching a movie doesn't require a trip to the video store, and you don't need to wait until Saturday morning for cartoons to come on. Our home has so many devices available for possible viewing! But when my kids get too much screen time they end up grumpy, less sociable, and have a harder time concentrating.
I recently reduced my kids screen time by 8-12 hours per week! I feel so passionately about the immediate changes I saw in them I dedicated an entire blog post on the topic.
Click Here to Check out How to Limit Screen Time for Happy + Healthy Kids.