Challenge To Change: C'mon Kids! You Can Do It!
Updated On: Oct 20 2011 11:14:19 AM EDT
I know you may be eating your veggies, but this week, I'm going to go over maybe the toughest part of the challenge - your children.
The USDA recommends 2-5 cups of vegetables every day for adults, and while most young children don't need quite that many, it is still critical to a child's development to eat vegetables and develop healthy eating habits.
Unfortunately, it can be tough to get kids excited about eating vegetables when they'd rather eat, well, anything else. So what's a parent to do, and how can you get your kids excited about healthy eating?
Often times, children are smarter than we give them credit for. So instead of having the conversation that they should "eat vegetables because I told you so," tell them what is so important about vegetable consumption.
Explain to your children what we've discussed over the past two weeks - better disease immunity, healthier weight, better heart function, and more benefits to vegetable consumption. Science is cool, and an adult conversation can get kids interested in vegetables!
Modeling positive behavior is critical when you're dealing with children. If your kids see you eating vegetables (and generally living a healthy lifestyle), they model that behavior, just as they would if you were to live an unhealthy lifestyle.
The best way to get your kids eating vegetables, then, is to do it yourself! Be a positive role model and encourage their healthy nutrition habits by having your family consume vegetables every day as part of a balanced diet. Another simple way to acclimate your children to daily vegetable consumption is to have them accessible and convenient at all times. When kids come home from school, have vegetables ready for snacks and meals - instead of fried and sugar-covered processed foods.
It may not be the most popular decision on day one, but over time (and with a mature conversation about healthy nutrition rather than yelling!), your children will begin to understand why it's important to eat vegetables - and they'll be building habits for life that will make you proud.
You can also get your children involved at the grocery store. By allowing them to pick out a new and exotic vegetable every week to cook into recipes, you involve them in making healthy decisions for life. Every week, get them to pick a new vegetable for meals, at which point you can find one of thousands of recipes with which to incorporate the vegetable of the week. Kids don't like the veggie they picked? No harm, no foul - pick a new one next week!
The bottom line is that a mature conversation about healthy nutrition and vegetable consumption can go a long way to impacting positive, healthy lifestyle change on your children. Let children be a part of the family's meal choices - by getting them involved in the decision-making process, you empower them to learn and build healthy habits that last a lifetime!
About the author:Bobby DeMuro is the Founder of No Fizz America, a non-profit dedicated to health and fitness. He is also the founder FusionSouth, a sports conditioning firm. You can follow him on Twitter here or on Facebook.
You can listen to Bobby on his weekly radio show on Radio Exiles.