Why is it so important for children to have healthy habits?
Healthy habits help children grow up happy and healthy as well as contribute to preventing future health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer.
For these reasons, we will focus on the 3 pillars of a healthy lifestyle: a balanced diet, physical exercise and personal hygiene.
A Balanced Diet
As a factor that influences the correct growth and development both physically and mentally of children, a varied and balanced diet is essential.
Breakfast is one of the fundamental meals for children because it gives them the energy they need in order to face a day full of activities. Therefore, let’s see what a balanced breakfast should contain.
What should a balanced breakfast contain? A dairy substance (milk, yogurt, fresh cheese, etc.), carbohydrates (cereals, bread, etc.) and fruit (fresh, fruit salads, natural juices, etc.).
In general, the following diet provisions are advised for children in order to achieve good nutrition:
1. More fruit and vegetables.
2. Less protein.
3. More cereals.
4. Less fast food.
Hygiene in the diet
Food is constantly exposed to pollution factors via water, air, soil, ourselves, animals and other living beings, so it is essential to follow basic diet rules of personal hygiene.
1. Wash your hands before eating any food.
2. Wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.
3. Drink clean water.
4. Follow expiration dates of food.
5. Reject bulging, rusted or damaged containers.
A well-nourished child has more energy to learn and develop an adequate physical ability. Playing sports, then, is essential for children to grow up happy and healthy. Today, children are accustomed to spending time in front of a screen when their bodies need to be more active, so we must work extra hard to ensure that our little ones are playing sports and spending time outdoors as much as possible.
How do we instill these habits?
We teach through example. Instilling healthy habits in our children will lead to both short and long term improvements in their quality of life and, as a result, they will live a healthier life into adulthood. We can ensure this healthier life by…
1. Introducing one or two habits at a time; it is not advisable to introduce all the desired changes all at once. Instead, once these one or two habits are assimilated, move on to the following ones.
2. Teaching through example; demonstrate activities such as walking all together, eating healthy, or washing our hands before eating, etc. Participating in these healthy habits as well will show the little ones understand that these habits are not punishments, but actions of a healthy life that we all do together.
3. Reinforcing the habits we want to instill without creating anxiety; eliminate negative phrases such as “Do not do this, do not eat that …” and replacing them with positive ones like “This is delicious, let’s go for a walk …”
4. Teaching the bases of a balanced diet enthusiastically and interactively; include your children in the preparation of meals and share the reasons behind your healthy choices.
In our Nutty Scientists workshops about Nutrition, Healthy Breakfast, or Hygiene in Food, we teach children in a fun and interactive way the importance of having these healthy habits and how to achieve them.