by SPARK


happy-kids

Image Courtesy of Blueskyemama

New Year’s is just around the corner, and now its time to start preparing those New Year’s Resolutions. This year, many families across the United States are fighting childhood obesity by creating New Years Resolutions that successfully promote their children’s health. After all, healthy lifestyles are learned at a young age. Here are five realistic New Year’s Resolutions to help promote your child’s health next year:

1. Limit Sodas and Other Sugary Treats, to the Weekends

The key to a successful New Year’s Resolution is to start simple. First, educate your children about the downfalls of eating and drinking too much sugar, or sugary products. Then, move on to limiting their soda intake, or any other sugary product that they love, just to the weekends. If you do away with soda and sugar all together, chances are your children will be unhappy and quite upset (to say the least).

By allowing sugary treats on the weekends, your children won’t feel like you’re punishing them, and they’ll realize that they don’t need to consume their favorite sugary treats all the time. Start simple, and eventually you can phase some sugary products out of your child’s diet all together. Keep in mind, that moderation is the key to a healthy lifestyle, so don’t begin by cutting out sugars all together.

2. Prepare Healthy Meals Together as a Family

Children love hands on activities. What better way to get your children interested in eating healthy foods than by involving them in cooking healthy meals? Depending on the age of your children, they can help set the table, mix dry ingredients (that don’t involve using the stove or oven), or even plan the meals themselves. Teaching your children to prepare healthy meals also gets them involved in grocery shopping. Take your children to the store with you, or ask them to write the shopping list. There are many different ways of involving children of all ages in the process of planning and making a healthy meal.

Best of all, spending time together as a family is priceless. Studies have shown that families who eat meals together are much closer. Planning, preparing and enjoying a family meal together are wonderful ways to not only promote children’s health, but also family unity.

3. Get Involved in Sports

Eating healthy is just one aspect of a healthy lifestyle. Being active is another important part of being healthy. Getting children involved in sports, or other extracurricular activities is a fun way to get kids to enjoy exercise.

Traditional sports like soccer, football and basketball involve lots of cardiovascular activity and strength training. For children that aren’t as interested in traditional competitive sports, activities like skateboarding and dance are another fun alternative. Whatever activity your child chooses, it certainly beats staying in and playing video games on the couch!

4. Start a Garden!

Let’s face it; most children aren’t crazy about fruits and vegetables. And at times, it can be quite difficult to get them excited about eating broccoli, lettuce or anything else that’s green and leafy. One way of getting children excited about eating more fruits and vegetables is to plant a garden. Depending on your home, this can be a full-out garden in the backyard, or a few select plants in a windowsill. Keep in mind that many fruits, and especially vegetables, can even be grown inside your home.

Watching plants and vegetables develop from a little seed, to a real plant that provides food, is a fun experience for children and adults alike. Best of all, it is incredibly rewarding to eat the fruits of your labor (pun intended!). Planting a garden may be the extra push that some children need in order to try, and to enjoy, healthier foods.

5. Pack Lunches

Lots of schools are trying to be more conscientious about the lunch options they offer children throughout the day. However, in lots of schools, children are still able to pick and choose from different school lunch options. And let’s be honest, most children are going to choose fried foods or sugary options over a healthy meal. In order to make sure that your child is receiving a healthy lunch, pack lunch everyday instead of buying it. Feel free to involve your child in the process of packing lunch and have them help out with choosing more healthy options. Choose juices over soda, or fresh fruit over sugary snacks. By involving children in selecting healthy food options, your 2011 New Year’s Resolutions will have a lasting impact!

  • croop

    These are great ideas for any family any time of the year! Thanks for reminding us!

  • Sc

    Who wrote this–the first lady? Sure sounds like it. She looks like she eats one dessert too many and I sure hubby is still smoking. It is the do as I say and not as I do. Be willing to bet that those who put this together don't adhere to it. It is only for the general masses who are too ignorant to figure out what is healthy for their children and what isn't. I work with the poor and we do provide healthy meals for them. Maybe jobs should be what is emphasized since that is what affects how well people it. Get real.

  • Lennart Bladh

    These are great ideas Annika. But schools need to help parents as well. And you do know what I mean now.

  • Hopefully, all young parents would take note of these resolutions, it's for the benefits of all.

  • Hopefully, all young parents would take note of these resolutions, it's for the benefits of all.