Kids and healthy choices don’t always go hand in hand, and that’s a fact.
I myself, remember sitting at the dinner table for hours as a child, pushing my plate of greens as far away from me as possible, begging my mom to spare me the unpleasant experience of eating anything that wasn’t fried in oil or filled with sugar. Maintaining a nutritional and physical balance in a child’s lifestyle is one of the biggest challenges of parenthood. Most kids will choose candy and donuts over spinach and broccoli in a heartbeat.
Here are a few tips to help you inspire your kids make healthy choices from a nutrition expert, an elite private fitness trainer, and a parent of two, Hugo Brambila.
Brambila has been practicing and coaching healthy lifestyle since 2005. Brambila has a degree from California State University, Stanislaus and owns Custom Fitness, an elite private health and fitness studio in Sacramento. He trains over 150 students, helping them achieve their health goals by changing their diet, mindset, and lifestyle.
Atop of being a health and fitness coach, Brambila is also a parent. Being a dad to his four-year-old daughter and two-year-old son, Josie and Javier, has taught Hugo the importance of introducing a healthy lifestyle early on in life. “The most important thing,” Brambila says, “is to LEAD BY EXAMPLE.” Children will never learn if they are only given directions with no example to follow. “Sometimes I’ll see my kids doing lunges and squats around the house instead of walking or playing around.” Says Hugo. “They grow up watching me work out and being active, so they do the same because that’s what they’ve seen from a very young age.”
Proper nutrition is the next big challenge of parenthood. “Make sure to TRY DIFFERENT FOODS with your child rather than giving your child the foods you want them to try.” Also, don’t create any special meals for your kids. It’s a very restaraunt-style thing to do. Typically, an adult menu will have healthier choices, while kid’s menus are limited to poor options like pizza or mac & cheese. Don’t show your children that it’s ok to eat less healthy only because they are young. Serve them the same things you cook for yourself.
Another great strategy to get children to eat healthy is to LET THEM CHOOSE their own veggies. Doing this allows them to make healthy choices while giving them some freedom.
HAVE THEM COOK with you as well; the more involved they are in preparation of their food, the more interested they’ll be in eating it.
On the flip side, there is also the FITNESS ASPECT OF HEALTH. Once again, try leading by example. Instead of turning off the TV and sending your kids outside, go outside with them. The more time you spend playing or doing sports together, the more your kids will learn what they like and dislike. Help them find their passion and discover the fun of being active.
“LEAD BY EXAMPLE!”
Hugo Brambila, the owner of Custom Fitness, an elite private health and fitness studio in Sacramento
As your kids develop their own physical interests, GET THEM MORE INVOLVED. Enroll them in a club or a sports team and give them a sense of responsibility.
Lastly, DON’T FORCE ANYTHING on your kids. Just because you loved playing baseball when you were a kid doesn’t mean your child also has to. Let your children try different things and choose for themselves what they like. When children like what they are doing, they are willing to work harder.
I’m not yet a parent, but my conversation with Hugo helped me understand why my parents did what they did, and still continue to do for my well-being. It is natural for parents to try being involved in every aspect of their children’s lives. There is nothing a good parent cares more about than their kids. As Brambila mentioned, the best way to influence children is to lead by example and the best time to do so is while they are still young. As children grow up, more and more of their choices will be decided by them and not by the parents. I’m a teenager so that I know this first-hand.
Monkey see, monkey do. This is the simple truth about how kids learn.
Next time you see your child eating junk and being lazy, get them up and take them outside with you. Don’t just give them an apple, eat an apple yourself.