Raising Healthy Kids

Recently I received a message from a doctor friend I met on Twitter. We follow each other, and share an interest in improving our own health, and that of others. Here’s what she wrote, “You have a lot of good tips for making eating healthy easier. You should share them on a blog,” Dr. Kristie Leong.

Another friend, one I’ve known offline for several years, sent me this message shortly thereafter, “I agree with Kristie. Your healthy eating tips go well with your theme of helping kids do well in school and earning scholarships,” Deborah Dian.

I respect both of these ladies, but didn’t want to start a second blog. As an alternative, I’ve added a page of simple ways to raise healthy kids to Road to Free College. Every few days, I’ll add to the easy tips below to encourage children to eat right and stay fit, so they’ll be able to follow the sixteen defining habits of scholarship winners and earn lots of free cash for college.

Easy Tips:

If we're walking with kids or friends, throw in a challenge like, "I'll beat you to that tree" every so often to pump up the heart rate.

Having a dog is extremely beneficial to kids. Helps them build a strong immune system and develop responsibility. The only downside is the poo. However, if you have the money, there are services or teens in the neighborhood who will clean it up for a fee.

To help build bones, and them stay strong, jump rope or do jumping jacks with your kids for ten minutes daily. 

Making guacamole with kids is a fun and healthy activity. Just don't let them take out the seed with a knife, unless you want to take a trip to the E.R.. Instead, teach them how to remove it with a spoon. 

Whole foods are real food. Shop at the Farmer's Market near you. They only sell real food. Take your kids with you. They'll enjoy the atmosphere and talking to real farmers. 

Buy the small, ready to eat carrots in a bag. Your kids will eat more than when they're full sized. Or cut the full sized carrots into coins. Do what works for you and your kids, because carrots are super healthy.

Zumba takes a little practice, but it's an easy, inexpensive, fun way to get some exercise for those whose daily lives do not provide it. Learning how as a family creates the closeness kids crave. 

Several studies show children who have dinner as a family at least 5x/week have more self-esteem, do better in school and earn more college scholarships.

Avoid giving kids sugary drinks. It's  bad for their teeth and leads to them being overweight. Give them milk or water instead. If drinking water gets boring, squeeze some citrus into it.

Get together with your neighbors. Make a plan for each family to plant at least one variety of fruit tree. You could all share, and eat really fresh fruit without paying store prices. Do the same with veggies. Kids will benefit by seeing teamwork pay off.  

Everyone needs fiber. However, don't increase your family's fiber intake rapidly. Their gut will rebel. Instead, increase it slowly. Add a half cup of beans to dinner this week. Next week add something else, like steel cut oatmeal with berries for breakfast. Repeat. 

Adding more fresh, whole foods to your shopping list means your family will eat fewer processed foods. They'll soon get used to the taste of real food, and won't miss fake food for very long. 

I read about sourdough bread made from a starter in the @BlueZones Solutions book. I buy a loaf at the bakery, and have it sliced. Then I cut it down the middle to make smaller pieces. I freeze the bag, and take out what I want to toast. It's an easy way to keep it fresh, so there's no spoilage. 

Adding one more veg to dinner, and reducing the size of your meat portion is a simple change every family can make to improve health.  

We should all adopt a physical activity we enjoy. It could be a sport, hiking, dancing, swimming, or something else. Share it with your kids, so they'll grow up with this healthy habit. 

Look at lists of healthy plant slant foods and recipes, and make your shopping list from the foods they contain. @BlueZones post them often on Facebook and Twitter. 

Let kids pick one new veg at the supermarket or Farmer's Market to try each week. They're more likely to try a "special" food they selected. 

Write down everything you ate and drank and hour before you had digestive issues. Do this for your kids too. Playing detective helps identify food allergies and intolerances. 

Recently I learned exercise keeps our arteries flexible, which is a good thing. That’s reason enough to make sure your kids get up and move around the house or outside every thirty minutes or so. No more playing video games without breaks. 

Gardening is a great family tradition to establish. Teaching kids where food comes from makes them more likely to eat their vegetables.

Poor health is a good reason to stop buying foods that contribute to it. Filling up your shopping list with healthy fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains leaves little room for junk.

Did you know pistachios contain resveratrol, just like red wine? So your kids can snack on pistachios while you enjoy a glass of your favorite cabernet. You'll both benefit from this healthy compound, which fights damage to our bodies on a cellular level.

To learn more about helping your kids become successful in school and earn more college scholarships, click HERE You’ll be taken to Amazon to review and/or buy my book, Free College. 

You are reading from the blog: http://www.roadtofreecollege.com

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Wallace

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