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My 8 year old is very competitive, which she gets honestly by both myself and my husband.
She watches me update my nutrition and fitness goals each day on sparkpeople. She wanted to be able create her own page, but when I told her that she's not old enough she got a little upset, so we created our own "spark page" for her to post on the refrigerator. She tries to beat her goal each day by eating more fruits and veggies and exercising more. She wants to compete w/ me and herself to keep advancing.
We also have a Wii Fit that she has her own profile on. She loves to gain more points for every exercise game she performs. She's becoming more active and staying fit and doesn't really realize it because she's having fun competing against us.
My 11-year old likes junk food just like any other kid but she does notice if her pants get too tight because theyre just not confortable when theyre tight so she knows to cut back.
She has done gymnastics, cheer, and ice skating for years and I try really hard to explain what the different foods do to her body so she understands that it is possible to be healthy and fit without dieting.
That being said, I am fortunate she loves fruit. We go through berries, grapes, and kiwis like crazy. She and her friends attack them when theyre in my fridge so I am constantly at the market buying them. I am soooo glad about it!
I figure I only have a few more years to teach her before she is responsible for her eating all on her own and hopefully, if other girls around her do extreme diets, she can think, "Well, I eat right and work out and look good and feel good so screw diets".
Thats my .10 cents!
I was struggling with teaching my 8 year old about healthy eating and exercise until we watched "Food Revolution" and he saw what eating unhealthy can do to you and how it impacts your future options. Now he is like to food police for the entire family letting us know when we are making poor food choices. He can read labels faster than most adults and actually understands what it means in most cases. We have a healthy substitute options posted in the kitchen and he will look at it when helping to prepare meals to make them more healthy.
I try to keep all forms of junk food out of the house as much as possible. I have also taught my daughter how to read nutrition labels so she understands what she is putting in her body. It seems to help her make better choices. We do allow ourselves to have treats, but we let ourselves know they are just that 'treats', something you have every once in a while, not everyday. She seems to do really well this way. Exercise is a little harder for me. MY daughter gets bored easily and its hard to keep her interested.
It's hard to beat a person who never gives up!
We have made many changes and are building family health traditions.
1. 15 minute walk after dinner/before bed everyday. The walk now involves all 15 kids from the neighborhood. We have wakers, bikers, scooters, all types of movement.
2. We pre-plan healthy menus and snack choices.
3. We allow ourselves one treat every week so that we don't binge.
4. We started eating at the table for all meals. We eat less, slower, and are enjoy each others company.
5. We try one new healthy food (the kids had star fruit this month for the first time) a month and one new healthy recipe a month (vegetarian enchillada's this month).
6. We hike every Saturday.
7. We have an eating rule. If you want a snack you have drink a glass of water. If you still want a snack eat a fruit or veggie first. If you still want the salty or sweet snack you can eat half of it. If you are still hungry drink a glass of water. Repeat.
8. We are religious and the kids now enjoy investigating whether Jesus would approve of the food.
My four year old loves to help out in the kitchen! I think it is a great way to get them to make healthier choices when they get to help out. All three of my children have no problem with exercise - I am the only one that has a problem with that - I need to get more involved with them!
...to get your kids more involved in healthy eating and exercise?
I've been making it a point to be active with my kids as much as possible. On days when I'm doing my formal workouts, they're outside playing and then on the other days we're doing things together like biking, or hiking, or playing football or soccer. It's been great - the kids are definitely benefiting from my changes! And with regard to eating, they're seeing me eat healthier foods and they're wanting to do the same. They get very excited when they choose fruit over an ice cream treat for dessert - they like the praise they get from me. :)
Anyway, I need to involve them more in the healthy diet part of being healthy, so that's something I'm planning to work on as the days go by. Maybe get them making meal plans with me and perhaps cooking too.