Tips on Raising Healthy Kids
Why Raise Healthy Kids?
Every generation thinks that their childhood was better than that of future generations. While smaller communities still provide parents with the peace of mind of letting their children play outside unsupervised, those residing in large metropolitan cities and other areas wouldn’t think of letting their children walk out of the house alone. Kids today have much less freedom, more fears and less playtime than their parents and grandparents did.
Today’s youth is also fighting kids health and other issues that were not common decades ago, such as high obesity rates, anxiety, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, etc. The statistics are frightening; one in three children and teenagers are obese, a problem that leads to “high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels... low self-esteem, negative body image and depression,” according to the American Heart Association. One in eight children are anxious; in fact, NBC News reported that teenagers are more stressed out than adults, with reported stress levels being 5.8 on a scale of 1-10, while adults reported a score of 5.1.”
“Twenty-one percent of high school seniors say they get high, and 41 percent of the same group report drinking alcohol.” Many of these problems cause children to become angry and violent; according to the School Associated Violent Death Study, between 14 and 34 school-age children are victims of homicide on school grounds on their way to and from school—each and every year,” cites the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Many parents want to raise carefree and healthy kids, but simply don’t know how. Below, we will provide tips to improve kids health, both mental and physical.
Healthy Diet for Kids
To fight obesity rates, parents, caretakers and school administrators need to learn to prepare healthy kids meals. Although it is easy and affordable to stop by a fast food drive through or purchase a Lunchables kit for school, those choices are part of the reason that kids are obese and unhealthy. These meals contain pesticides, GMOs, high fat and cholesterol levels, and very little actual nutrition for kids.
To make sure you are providing healthy kids meals, your children must be getting a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables; dairy products; healthy proteins, such as meats and nuts; oils and whole-grains. Click here to look up daily serving sizes depending on the age of the child.
To avoid toxins and pesticides in many conventional foods, try to purchase organic, raw, GMO-free and fresh staples whenever possible. Although these items are usually more expensive than regular produce, there are tips on buying organic on a budget.
Grow your own fruits and vegetables; planting a fruit tree, such as an apple tree, is a one time expense that will provide fruit for years to come. Planting seasonal varieties of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and kale is an expensive way to have access to fresh and organic produce without having to drive to the store.
Check the Dirty Dozen list to see which fruits and vegetables have the most pesticides, and buy those organic, while purchasing non-organic varieties of the items on the Clean 15 list to save money. Check store advertisements and join reward programs to save on food at the grocery store. Sign up for alerts on websites such as Organic Deals and All Natural Savings to find printable coupons and deals on natural products for healthy kids meals.
Yoga Poses for Children
They require them to use different muscles in ways they never have before, which increases strength and flexibility. Many kids yoga routines promote children’s balance, dexterity, fine and gross motor coordination.
Kids yoga offers benefits on many emotional levels; “because children encounter emotional, social, and physical challenges or conflicts, a dedicated and intentional yoga practice that includes breathing techniques, behavioral guidelines, and physical postures can be incredibly valuable for them, says Alexandra De Collibus, founder of Sweet Pea Yoga in an article in Parents magazine.
Guided meditation for children and mindfulness also have a variety of benefits for kids health. “By practicing mindfulness or meditation, we develop and strengthen our ability to calm and quiet our thoughts and actions, and eventually we are able to quiet our mind without struggling,” explains Psychology Today. “Just by sitting and “doing nothing,” we are actually doing a lot.”
If your children have never practiced yoga or meditation before, it may be difficult for them to understand what to do at first. This is where a special yoga teddy bear, a small bear with a big message, can help! Meddy Teddy was specifically created to teach children about the benefits of yoga, meditation and mindfulness! This bendable bear can be shaped into many yoga positions, such as downward dog or a headstand to teach kids yoga poses in a fun and non-threatening way.