Have you developed certain habits from your parents? Perhaps they're the food you enjoy, the activities you participate in, or the music you listen to each day. Regardless of the habit, the point is that much of our interests, traditions and etiquette has a direct correlation to our childhood. And, while not everything we love or hate spurs from our youth, there's certainly no denying its impact. So let's get your child or an adolescent client started on developing these healthy habits early, in an effort to bring a lifetime of nutritional and physical benefits.
Why are nutrition, holistic health and wellness so important for children?
According to the Childrens Heart Center: "Nutrition is very important for everyone, but it is especially important for children because it is directly linked to all aspects of their growth and development; factors which will have direct ties to their level of health as adults." Further, physical activity and smart meal choices are paramount for maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes—two diseases that are becoming more and more common among children and can often be avoided or alleviated with adequate nutrition and an active lifestyle
The benefits of early exposure to healthy habits
Early exposure to healthy habits can help children develop skills that they later leverage in their adult years—such as evaluating food choices and maintaining a physically active lifestyle. Plus, introducing healthy food to adolescents may even help them to become more interested in the planning aspect of what goes on their plates each evening. If your clients' children aren't welcoming healthy options with open arms, try to build the excitement by encouraging them to help with planting fruits and vegetables. Watching the food they planted come to life may help them feel more invested in the health movement and where their food comes from. And, of course, holistic health doesn't stop at nutrition or physical activity—it's also about the products in your home, social support networks and the hours of sleep one gets each night.
Get the whole family moving with games and activities
"For kids and teens 6-17 years of age, you need to be active 60 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, for 6 out of 8 weeks," say experts at Let's Move!. "As an alternative, you can count your daily activity steps using a pedometer (girls’ goal: 11,000; boys’ goal: 13,000)." Make a healthy competition out of it, and the winner with the most steps per month wins a prize—such as tickets to the movie theater. When you get the whole family on the same page, it will be much easier for children to stick to a healthy lifestyle if their parents are setting a prime example.