Without a doubt, our children are directly affected by the choices we make as adults. In fact, children are simply copy-cats, copying everything they observe, taste, touch and hear.

Therefore, as adults, it is imperative that we lead by example, through active, healthy lifestyle habits if want our children to adopt the same, and prevent and avoid diseases like heart disease, cancer and diabetes – all associated with sedentary living and poor eating habits.

We must encourage them to be more active and less sedentary and to eat healthy.

We must remember that inactive children become inactive adults and active children generally remain active adults.

We must teach them that healthy food choices do not need dressing up to be effective and gravitating towards fancy packaging or pretty boxes when shopping usually buys just that – fancy boxes loaded with chemicals and other junk and nothing more.

Healthy choices sell nutrients, not packaging.

Developing habits takes time, so, it’s best to start young. In fact, the earlier healthy habits are introduced, the more likely that they will stick long-term. So, begin teaching your child the basics of eating well as soon as possible. They understand way more than we give them credit for. Teaching your child to eat well may be the greatest gift you’ll ever give them, for it’s one gift that will honor their bodies their entire lives.

Give them the knowledge that will protect them from man-made harmful fats, sugars and chemicals that ruin health, by teaching them how to cook real foods from scratch.  Take them shopping with you when possible. Make it a fun, shared experience and explain to them how real food does not need to hide behind fancy labeling…or any label for that matter, for it has nothing to hide!

Keep convenient and appealing snacks readily available. Pre-sliced vegetables and fruit type snacks should be kept within easy reach for children.

The other half of the equation:

Developing healthy eating habits is good, but that’s only half the health equation. 

Along with teaching them healthy eating habits, include them when you exercise. Physical activity is the second part of the “health equation.” It not only helps children build strength and stay physically healthy, it contributes to higher test scores, improved behavior, enhanced leadership skills and a lifetime of healthy living.

Habits are much easier to form then they are to break because once formed and repeated, they release the chemical dopamine to the brain causing a feeling of euphoric pleasure. This actually strengthens habits rather than weakening them because we want to repeat the action to feel euphoric again!

Remember, children are copy-cats, so, the best way to help them develop healthy habits when young is to “be it” ourselves.

We must “walk the walk” and not just “talk the talk.” It is action and example that are the real teachers, not words. We can’t say one thing and do another. They will be watching, listening and copying.

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