1. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
While discussing healthy patterns with your child proves important, it is no surprise children learn best by example. Let them learn to love healthy habits by involving them in your own daily life.
2. TURN OFF TECHNOLOGY
When phones are down and the TV is muted, airways open for communication. Talking food likes and dislikes can broaden your child’s choices for braving new dishes, and keeps them from getting stumped on that one dreaded vegetable! Open up opportunity by unplugging from time to time.
3. INCLUDE YOUR FAMILY IN MEAL PREPPING
Not only is this a healthy habit, but it serves as a great way to create memorable experiences with your kids. “It’s important for children to eat a balanced diet,” Kendsie Hollis, Nutritionist with MMC Weight Loss & Wellness, explains. “Kids must have the proper intake of nutrients in order to grow and develop into healthy adults,” Hollis adds. Involving your children by shopping, prepping, and cooking balanced meals is fun and exciting, putting them on the path for a healthy life.
4. DON’T USE FOOD FOR A REWARD
There are other options for praise-worthy moments, such as experience based rewards and sticker charts. Methods such as these teach children to relate their health with a sense of accomplishment, encouraging them to strive for future goals.
5. EAT TOGETHER AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE
Sitting around the table serves as a positive platform for your child’s health. They are given an opportunity of stability, allowing them to feel safe to try new foods and dishes. They begin to relate a positive family experience with food, and those habits will follow them into adulthood.
6. GET OUTSIDE AND BE ACTIVE
Hollis feels passionately about this point, reminding parents that “regular exercise can stabilize mood and energy, enhancing your family’s health and happiness!” Making exercise FUN for children is extremely important. Some examples of fun exercise include family dance parties, backyard kickball games, and evening walks.
7. MOTIVATE WITH POSITIVE AND APPROPRIATE BODY IMAGE
As a guardian, your words are powerful! You are given the opportunity to see your child grow into an adult. What better way to help them flourish than to speak the love-filled truth that they are valued because of who they are, not what they weigh. Teach them to love themselves. When we love our bodies, we want to treat it well!
MMC Weight Loss & Wellness offers an adult and pediatric program focused on proper nutrition, exercise and overall family wellness. It is Murfreesboro’s only pediatric wellness program specially focused on helping obese/overweight children ages 5 through 18 in our community. “We know that if children are overweight they are more likely to develop diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease at a much younger age,” said Dr. Kimberly Shannon, Medical Director for MMC Weight Loss & Wellness. “Most overweight children have established unhealthy eating habits and if not changed before they are teenagers, are much more likely to continue with unhealthy habits. Our medically supervised program provides the tools necessary for healthy weight loss and a fuller life,” said Shannon.