Updated: Jan 5, 2022
Do you ever wonder, What makes a healthy person?, How can we improve our health?, What is the most important part of health? Well this blog post is for you! Today we'll talk answer these questions with our top three healthy habits.
1. Mindful Eating
Healthy eating is an obvious one, by now, we all know the importance of consuming a healthy diet full of plant foods: fruits and veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. Instead, let's focus on mindful eating.
Being mindful when grocery shopping
Being mindful of what groceries you buy helps both your wallet and your kids. Get your kids to help you plan out your weekly grocery list so they can get to know what foods are best to keep at your disposal at all times. It also offers the opportunity for discussion if you have something on your list they aren't familiar with. Let them choose one new fruit or veggie item per week to try!
Remember.....don't shop on an empty stomach! Eat an apple before you go, or munch a handful of nuts to prevent unhealthy impulse buys.
Mindful eating for kids
Many teenagers and adults know the impact their diets can have on their bodies and overall health, but the concept of healthy eating for younger kids can get pretty overwhelming. Does this mean they can't enjoy brownies anymore? What can they have to eat at their best friend's birthday party? Is every meal going to consist of a plate full of drab green mush??
An alternative solution is to help your kids learn why healthy foods are important, it can help them be aware of, and mindful about their food choices: giving them the necessary building blocks to making healthier choices into adulthood.
Healthy action plan for kids:
Don't make a second meal for kids, but try a deconstructed version. Making a pasta salad? Try putting just the pasta in one section, protein in another, and veggies in yet another. Encourage them to try a little of each section. Talk about why each section is healthy.
Need help with teaching kids about the health benefits of foods in a kid-friendly way? Our cooking classes can help! We focus on nutrition education as well as cooking skills.
2. Get moving
For today's generation of kids, the options for entertainment seem endless. iPhones, iPads, Nintendo Switches, Netflix, Hulu, and so much more - its easier than ever to turn into an inevitable couch potato.
If your child would feel more inclined to exercise if they could see their peers, consider enrolling them in a group sport like soccer, basketball, volleyball, etc. Not only will it help them stay active but they could make new friends along the way.
If sports aren't really your child's strong suit, have them try their hand at lighter physical activities like hiking, walking, and biking. Set some time aside each week to go on family walks or bike rides. Your child is more likely to engage in physical activity if they see their parent doing so, so try to model the kind of behavior you'd like your kids to emulate.
Kids say they don't have time? Put a screen time limit on their devices to start out. You'll be surprised by the difference shaving off 20 minutes of screen time per day can make.
For older kids, you can encourage them to get a job during the holidays and school breaks. Summer break leaves kids with a lot of free time for 3 months out of the year and a summer job is a good way to get in some daily movement while making some extra cash. If they're getting paid to move about, that could serve as more motivation for some kids vs. going out of their way to participate in a sport!
Exercise isn't just for the body, there's plenty of research indicating the positive affects it has on one's mental and behavioral health. It can increase children's enthusiasm, attention and lessen stress. So it's never too late to get moving!
3. Getting Enough Z's
It's important for everyone to get enough sleep but for kids especially, sleep is an essential part of their mental development.
Kids who get an inadequate amount of sleep tend to be crankier, have poor memory, and be less productive. Sleeping is when our bodies repair and reset for the next day.
Coming from a former student, I can vouch for how difficult it can be to set a healthy sleeping schedule alongside everything else that takes place during the day like school, finishing homework, going to the gym, cooking, etc.
There are some small things you can do every day to get into the habit of going to bed on time:
Try your best to go to bed at the same time every night. It's much easier for your body to understand its time to wind down if you go to bed at 10 PM every day vs. 10 PM one night, 1 AM the next night, 2 AM the next day, and well, you get the gist.
Finish eating and drinking at least 1-2 hours before bed to leave enough time for your body to digest your food.
Limit drinks that contain caffeine right before bed time. Stick to water and calming teas such as chamomile tea. If you like green tea, go for an decaffeinated variety before bed.
Treat yourself to a relaxing bedtime routine to help unwind and motivate you to start your nighttime routine as soon as you're done with your day. This can include running a hot bath, reading your favorite book, journaling, light meditation, etc.
Finish any housekeeping activities like washing the dishes, cleaning up the kitchen, etc. before starting your bedtime routine. Set out your clothes for the next day beforehand if you're one who hits the snooze button one too many times in the morning.
Limit your screen time. Research has shown that our bodies have a harder time falling asleep the more they're exposed to blue light, which is exactly the kind of light our phones and computers emit.
It's never too late to adopt any of these habits or any others when it comes to leading a healthier lifestyle. Like many other things in life, leading a healthy life is a marathon, not a sprint. Remember, the most important step which is to just start!
Author: Shruti is a current intern and recent graduate from The University of North Texas holding a bachelor’s of business administration degree in marketing. She has a passion for digital marketing, with a focus on social media, and advertising. In her free time, she enjoys baking, watching movies, and going on hikes.