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After keeping them physically safe, raising healthy kids is your primary responsibility as a parent. Though it can be difficult to teach your kids about the importance of making healthy choices, as long as you do your best, talk to them about the benefits of healthy living, and model healthy choices, you and your family should be on the right track to a healthy life.
Of course, like every other aspect of parenting, this is easier said than done. It’s especially difficult if your family is already prone to eating junk food and overindulging in screen time.
So where do you start? If you’re trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle as a family, here are four basic principles to follow:
Avoid Sugary Drinks
When your kids have regular access to these unhealthy beverages, they are much more likely to become overweight. Even popular “sports drinks” are packed with high fructose corn syrup and are harmful to your children’s teeth; however, energy drinks actually result in twice as much enamel loss than exposure to sports drinks, at a rate of 3.1% to 1.5%.
“The vast majority of children should really just hydrate with water,” said Dr. Catherine Pound, a researchers and pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital. “It’s the best thing for them.”
According to CBC News, because these sports and energy drinks are saturated with sugars, these drinks are not only contributing to dental problems, but to the obesity epidemic as well.
Just Say No (To Candy)
Like sugary soft drinks, if you always have candy inside your home, your kids will constantly be munching on unhealthy treats. Even if they are aware of the dangers of eating too much candy, they simply won’t be able to avoid the temptation. Even most parents are easily tempted when too much chocolate is in the pantry. Indulging in too many sweets can result in acne outbreaks and even lead to dangerous diseases later in life.
Don’t Skimp Out On Healthy Foods
It’s one thing to stop buying unhealthy items, but it’s just as important to actually replace those junk foods with much healthier options. If you’re envisioning brussels sprouts and super foods, you can start with less intense health food. For instance, replace ground beef and other red meats with leaner proteins like chicken. On average, Americans eat about 90 pounds of chicken every year, and light, grilled chicken is an excellent source of health (and tasty) protein.
Chicken is a lean meat that contains far less fat than other meals. The Health Site reports that chicken not only helps build muscles, but eating it can also reduce your children’s stress levels. Because chicken has tryptophan and Vitamin B5, it produces a calming effect on the body and reduces stress in anyone who eats it.
Schedule Regular Visits to the Dentist and Doctor
Your best bet to ensure that your children are living a healthy lifestyle is to visit medical and dental professionals for regular checkups. You should be careful of what you’re buying, yes, but talking to medical professionals is essential to any healthy lifestyle. Your family’s physician will be able to prescribe any additional steps you need to take to get your kids back on the right track towards living healthy.