In today’s world of fast food and fast living, it’s hard to lose sight of raising a happy and healthy family. As parents, it is even more challenging to encourage a healthy lifestyle when it’s so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Between school lunch, birthday parties, extracurricular activities, and balancing work and family life, it is sometimes difficult to monitor what our children eat and how we prepare food for them. Who wants to spend 30 minutes prepping dinner when you can have a pizza on your doorstep in half the time? How do you ensure your kids are eating healthy when they aren’t under your supervision?  The truth is you can’t control everything, but that shouldn’t stop you.

 Practice What you Preach

It’s easy to tell your kids to eat healthy when you’re eating a bowl of ice cream as soon as they go to bed. The truth is, you need to practice what you preach. Set some family goals that you can all meet, like starting to take a multivitamin, or swapping after-dinner dessert with a healthy smoothie. As long as you do it together, you will be doing it correctly.

Have Cheat Days

Like with anything else in life, it’s great to be able to have a cheat day occasionally. Don’t use this day as a reward, but more as a way to have fun and connect. You will see below that food should never be used as a reward or as a punishment, but if it’s someone’s birthday or just a fun Friday night, have the ice cream!

Additionally, WebMD suggests the following:

Guide your family’s choices rather than dictate foods

  • Encourage your children to eat slowly
  • Eat meals together as a family as often as possible
  • Involve your children in food shopping and preparing meals
  • Plan for snacks
  • Discourage eating meals or snacks while watching TV
  • Encourage your children to drink more water
  • Try not to use food to punish or reward your children
  • Make sure your children’s meals outside the home are balanced
  • Pay attention to portion size and ingredients

In the end, try and do everything together as a family. The more you show encouragement and appreciation, the more your child will show it back.

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