Everyone wants to have healthy and happy kids. Unfortunately, keeping kids physically, emotionally, and mentally healthy has become overwhelming with a change in lifestyles.
Nonetheless, with reasonable effort and guidance, you can raise healthy and cheerful kids. That’s why we have selected these 12 manageable practices that you can focus on to keep your kids healthy.
1. Focus on a balanced diet
One mistake most parents make is that they feed their kids on almost anything. You want to avoid that by introducing balanced diets to your children’s meal plans.
The number one recommendation is to ensure that 50% of their meal is made of fruits and vegetables as they contain a lot of fiber and nutrients in the right proportions. If you have picky eaters, keep serving them with greens until they get used to it.
2. Reduce sugars
Kids love sugary foods. An average child gets 16% of their calories from added sugars, equivalent to a whopping ten teaspoonfuls per day. Added sugars have been linked to chronic diseases such as diabetes, behavior problems, and more. You can opt for low sugar snacks or stick to fruits.
3. Practice good oral hygiene
Kids face a significant risk of developing dental problems such as tooth decay, gum disease, and dental cavities. Teaching kids to brush their teeth twice a day will help prevent these infections. You should organize frequent visits to a dentist and get excellent dental insurance to cover dental-related medical costs.
4. Use different protein sources
Children need a lot of proteins to facilitate growth. However, you want to serve them proteins from different sources. Plant proteins are highly recommended, but you can also add animal sources such as poultry products, beef, and dairy.
5. Don’t overfeed your kids
Healthy meals can be harmful if provided in high quantities. The body tends to store excess food in the form of glycogen and fat. Therefore, it is wise to stick to four small meals per day.
6. Avoid highly processed foods
Foods such as whole grains and pasteurized milk have been processed but are still healthy. You need to look out for ‘highly’ processed foods with artificial dyes, refined fats, preservatives, and added sugars. Highly processed foods have long-term effects such as weight gain on both children and adults. It is advisable to prepare healthy meals from scratch rather than buying ready-made meals full of preservatives.
7. Go for whole grains
Whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole wheat, and popcorn are rich in fiber and B-Vitamins. It is prudent to add these to your kids’ diet as they enhance digestion and prevent constipation.
8. Regular medical checkups
Children have a robust immune system, but that shouldn’t stop you from having a regular visit to the doctor. Medical checkups provide an essential review of the child’s growth and early detection of life-threatening conditions, if any. Additionally, a doctor will give you professional advice on what to do at certain stages of development.
9. Prevent cold and flu
Kids are susceptible to flu and cold due to their active carefree interactions. You should advise your kids to maintain high physical hygiene as the flu virus is picked from exposed surfaces, and its spread can be reduced by washing hands and sanitizing.
Children should be taught how to wash their hands with soap and running water or sanitize using antibacterial wipes frequently. It would be best to insist on a no sharing policy for utensils and water bottles with other kids.
10. Get enough sleep
With today’s crazy schedules and distractions from digital technologies, children are at risk of not getting enough sleep. Quality sleep under a regular schedule enhances digestion and reduces the chances of developing obesity. Sleep also improves the psychological and mental well being of a child.
Kids are naturally active, and play should not be substituted for exercising. If they are old enough, you can schedule joint family workout routines or encourage physically engaging games.
It is easy to forget how much time kids spend on television or smart devices with modern lifestyles. Coming up with routines that limit the time spent on these devices will encourage them to engage in other activities.
12. Drink water
Water is essential for many body processes, such as excretion and circulatory functions. Unfortunately, most parents replace water with soft beverages for their kids. Sweetened water has been blamed for obesity and other diet-related diseases. You should train your kids to take several glasses of water per day.
The list above should be implemented in your daily practices. You can add or remove whatever doesn’t work for your kid before seamlessly introducing it into their routines when the time is right.