At a young age, healthy habits develop and can affect your child throughout their lives, especially when it comes to eating and physical activity.
You are the fundamental decision-maker when it comes to the well-being of your child and can help her make healthy decisions from early on.
Take advantage of your role and foster your child’s 7 healthy habits…they can make a lifetime of difference.
7 Healthy Habits You’ll Want to Work On
Get physical activity daily
Shorter bouts of exercise that tally up to 60 minutes count! Strive for vigorous activity at least three days per week.
Try to make physical activity a part of your family’s routine and schedule activities together.
Limit screen time
Researchers show a strong correlation with the number of hours spent watching TV to increased rates of weight problems in children.
Regulating the amount of time your child spends in front of a screen like television, video games and computers, promotes less sit-down time which can result in more activity and less overeating.
Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages
Urge your child to drink water, 100% fruit juice or low fat milk instead of soda, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, sports drinks, and sweetened iced teas.
These sugary drinks offer little nutritional value and excess calories that can contribute to weight gain. Limiting sugary drinks in your home can support your child in choosing healthier options.
Eat fruits and veggies daily
Fruits and vegetables are nutrient-dense, low calorie foods that provide fiber, promoting fullness after meals.
Reaching 5 cups per day can be accomplished by serving fruit at every meal, and a vegetable at 2 meals and/or snacks.
If you want more fruits and veggies to be eaten, make sure you have ample choices in your kitchen.
Eat meals together
Eating meals together gives you a chance to help your child develop a healthy attitude toward food. It also allows you to serve as a healthy eating role model, make sure your kids are eating nutritious foods, and introduce new foods.
Set aside your meals as family time and eat together as often as possible.
Eat nutritious snacks
Plan an eating schedule for meals and snacks. Skipping meals or snacks can be a trap for overeating later on.
Help your kids by having wholesome power snacks on hand that defy hunger. Opting for whole foods will give your child a rich source of nutrients and will help them be physically satisfied.
Eat sweets and treats occasionally
There are endless opportunities for fun foods like sweets, soda, and fried foods. Balancing “fun foods” with a variety of whole, natural foods from the new food guide (more on this soon) is the key to healthy eating.
Aim for 1 to 2 “fun foods” daily—it’s a good rule of thumb. Help your child make decisions about what is the most special sweet or treat to him.
Start Healthy Habits Early
The best time to start instilling these behaviors in children is when they’re young, before unhealthy choices become bad habits.
Research shows children are more willing to eat healthy foods and be active if they see their parents doing it first.
Just telling your kids what to do won’t work (that’s the controlling way to feed)—they need to see you choosing healthy behaviors!
if you really want to raise a healthy eater, you’ll focus on the behaviors and habits that you can mold into healthy habits that last a lifetime!
Need More Help?
My self-education program, The Nourished Child Project is designed to help parents develop a food system, adopt positive feeding approaches and instill healthy habits for a lifetime. Check it out and see if this is exactly what you need.
Written by: Jill Castle, MS, RDN
Published on: June 1, 2011
Updated on: September 21, 2019