Why It's Important to Instill Healthy Habits Early

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Health and nutrition don't have to be subjects of conversation at the dinner table with your family each and every night, but instilling healthy habits in your children early will help set them up for a healthy life later on. In youth, eating to lose weight isn't the intention. Rather, healthy eating to keep the body ready to face any backyard adventure is most important. They need to receive all the right nutrients, and in the process, you will be teaching them what it looks like to steer clear of "bad" foods and fill up on the "good" ones, all while making sure they maintain strong self-confidence and don't teeter on the edge of an eating disorder. (via The Star)

>> Read more: How to Break Toxic, Unhealthy Eating Patterns In Your Family

There's no harm in an occasional treat like a glass of soda or a few cookies. Foods you should teach your kids to consume in moderation include things like soft drinks and sweetened beverages, sugary breakfast cereals and pastries, chips or instant noodles. Pay attention to nutrition labels, especially with those quick and easy meals like macaroni and cheese. Read this article to find ways to teach your kids to read nutrition labels. You can make a list of "good" foods to let your kids choose from that includes things like fresh fruits and veggies, wholegrain cereal, homemade trail mix and lean protein. In addition, water should take the place of most of their sweetened drinks. Try natural flavors in your water with fruits to encourage them to drink water.

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Keeping healthy food in the house is only a small part of forming habits. Try to make an active lifestyle part of your week as a family. Instead of having a movie night with pizza, plan a bike ride or a day in the park with a packed lunch. Not only will you benefit from being active but your entire family will enjoy the time together. Building self-confidence in your children will help them to fight negative body image in the future. Also, consider rewarding your children with a trip to the museum or karate lessons. Candy, video games and salty snacks might not be the best way to teach them that those things go in the "bad" category and should be moderated.

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Every child is different, as is every family. As your child grows, you can get an idea for what works for them. Keep in mind that the decisions made in their youth build the foundation for their adult life. As you help your kids develop healthy habits, naturally you will, too. The benefits are endless! Read more about family health here.