As a parent, you want the very best for your children, as your treasure them with all of your might. You want them to be safe, happy, and healthy, and you spend a lot of time and energy assuring that they have their needs met. You want them to be emotionally and physically strong, so learning how you can promote good health in your kids is certainly worth the time and effort.
When it comes to physical health, research shows that children need to eat healthy in order to thrive at optimal physical levels. Having a healthy diet decreases the risk of obesity and chronic disease as they grow older, yet there are many kids who are not really getting adequate nutrition in order to sustain good health.
Sometimes parents just aren’t aware of what constitutes good health for their children, especially at different age brackets. Today, let’s discuss how you can promote good health in your children no matter what age they are.
Babies to age 3
Once your baby is born, you want to provide him/her with adequate vitamins and nutrients and experts agree that the best way to achieve this is to breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is jam packed with antibodies that help fight off disease and is full of healthy nutrients. If you can breastfeed your baby, this is certainly recommended. If you cannot breastfeed, there are some healthy formula choices for you to choose from.
Along with milk, your baby will need other healthy foods the first few years in order to grow strong and healthy. When you introduce your baby to solid foods, feel free to feed him infant cereal, mashed up fruit and vegetables, beans, and lentils. Just about any type of fruit and vegetable is wonderful for your baby and toddler. For starters, try:
Introducing your child to healthy foods early will help him to acquire a taste for such foods. Get familiar with various healthy recipes for toddlers and don’t be afraid to introduce new foods. Steer clear of giving your toddler a lot of sugary foods and junk food. This can be touch, as it’s pretty common these days to reach for chips, cookies, and soda, but these types of foods will not help your child grow healthy and stronger.
Elementary School Age
As your child enters school, he won’t be at home as much and life will certainly change some. Mornings may feel a bit rushed at times and you might be tempted to skimp on breakfast or skip breakfast all together. Be advised that breakfast really is the most important meal of your child’s day, so making a commitment to feed your child healthy foods for breakfast will assure him optimal health. Great, healthy breakfasts include:
- Various types of fruits (bananas, apples, oranges, kiwi, cantaloupe, etc.)
- Yogurt, Kefir (You can mix some fruit or granola in with the yogurt)
- Pancakes with fruit or fruit jam for topping
- Oatmeal (You can mix in fruit with this as well)
- Eggs and toast
When it comes to lunch, you usually have the option of packing a lunch for your child or letting him purchase it at the school. Most schools do offer some nutritious options, so be sure to discuss this with your child if he is to buy his lunches. Prompt him to make healthy choices and eat whatever fruits and vegetables are offered. If you pack his lunch, it’s a great idea to pack fruit and vegetables each day, along with a sandwich or other protein-packed item. Keep sweets and junk food to a minimum and send water for a drink.
Tweens and teens
As your child grows into his tween and teen years, your focus on good health will still need to be a priority. Hopefully what you’ve instilled in him before this will help him to be able to make healthy decisions when you are not around, but you may still need to monitor his diet and encourage healthy choices. Teens are largely influenced by peers, so it’s sometimes a battle when your child’s peers are eating candy bars and soda for lunch and your teen wants to do the same. Have open discussions about making healthy choices and keep unhealthy foods at a bare minimum in your home. At the same time, be a good example yourself to your children and do your best to eat healthy and take care of yourself.
Vitamins, Supplements, and Water
In addition to choosing healthy foods, consider supplying your children with daily vitamins, supplements, and encouraging them to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. It’s sometimes difficult to get all of the recommended daily nutrients that the body needs in the foods that we eat, so purchasing a good multi-vitamin and supplements like probiotics or digestive enzymes will be very helpful in promoting good health.
Your children may not fully understand how food impacts their lives, so spend some time throughout their developing years teaching them how they can be proactive in taking good care of their bodies. It is possible for kids to grow up reaching for healthy foods, but it begins with parents taking the time and making the effort to educate their children and be good role models in this area.
Featured Image: Flickr
Featured Guest Blogger:
Dominica Applegate is dedicated to the art of self-discovery and creative expression. Earning her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling, she worked in the mental health field for 12 years before starting her own business. A sought-after author and freelance writer, her work is ultimately about helping people remove blocks that keep them stuck and unleashing massive happiness and potential.