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Nudging Your Kids to Healthy Choices

nudging your kids to healthy choices while roasting marshmallows on a campfire
Photo via Unsplash

This Blog Was Wrote As A Guest Blog By: Janice Russell

Do you ever find your kids saying or doing the exact opposite of what you ask of them? It can be harmless—and sometimes fun and frustrating. But when it’s not a game, it just seems that doing the opposite of what their parents want comes naturally to kids. That’s why leading them to make healthy choices can seem like walking a tightrope. You don’t want to order them to do something and risk the natural rebellion, paving the way for a long, stubborn holdout. On the other hand, their health is at stake and the habits you instill now could be with them for a long time.

Two great places to start are: choosing activities they enjoy and leading by example. Here’s some advice about how to do it from Unity Bands.

Deal with Dietary Dilemmas

“Food fights” at home may not involve throwing food, but, notes Parents magazine, the fighting is certainly real. Kids want what tastes good, and even if you don’t have sugary sweets and beverages in your house, you can’t completely prevent them from scoring a bit of sugar contraband from their friends.

You can limit their intake, however. suggests keeping healthy snacks at home. Trail mixes, yogurt, fruit, and even boiled eggs are all nutritious snacks that appeal to a variety of tastes. Potato chips are loaded with sodium, but alternative chip options like veggie chips are now commonplace on grocery store shelves. Forgo the sugar-laden, caffeinated beverages and energy drinks for fruit juices; almond, oat, or chocolate milk; smoothies; fruit-flavored sparkling water; lemonade; and tea.

Keep ‘em Moving and Learning

Starting martial arts at a young age can lead to a lifelong habit that not only provides physical strength and flexibility but also instills confidence and self-discipline. A primary takeaway from practicing martial arts is learning respect for both oneself and others.

If your kids like and participate in sports, you likely won’t find it difficult to encourage physical activity. For those who seem destined to a sedentary future of playing video games or endless watching of the latest streaming shows, you may need to put on your inspiration cap. And what better place to get inspired than the great outdoors? Take family walks after work and school; arranging a meet-up with neighborhood friends will make it more palatable for the kids to be seen with their parents. This works with family and group bicycle rides, as well.

Speaking of the outdoors, get them started in astronomy. When the weather permits, plan a camping trip to a dark-sky area for ideal viewing. If the view from your home allows, do this more frequently in your backyard or from your deck. You can install smartphone apps that help you identify stars, constellations, and galaxies—simply point your phone to the sky. Pointing out that they are looking at the same stars today that their ancestors looked at hundreds of years ago will open doors in their minds for additional answers to questions they never knew they had.

Keep ‘em Moving and Learning

Children and teenagers are experimenting daily—from fashion trends to new ways of getting in trouble—and this is normal behavior. It’s important to model healthy behavior; for example, choosing healthy meals for yourself can make a difference. Helping them find and enjoy the healthiest of these can be challenging sometimes, but doing things together as a family helps in that effort. It also strengthens your family unit. Remember to have fun by exploring the night sky.

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