Healthy Living: Nutrition, fitness and emotional wellness

Tim Ahern | March 12, 2020

Healthy habits start in childhood, as kids absorb what they need to know about both physical and emotional health. Although children—and adults—may enjoy the occasional indulgence, good nutrition and regular exercise can go a long way toward staying healthy, both mentally and physically.

But despite what we do at home, children spend time outside the home, too, and the food they’re served at school and daycare contributes to their food attitudes. As a parent, what can you do to ensure your children grow up to be not only health conscious, but conscientious of the overall impact their eating habits have on the planet? Here are some tips that can help.

Set a Good Example

Children learn lifelong habits from their parents, whether they show it or not. The meals you make and the activities you engage in on weekends make a big difference. If you tend to go hiking or play sports in the back yard as a family, your kids are more likely to remain active into adulthood, in addition to the great memories it creates.

Teach Healthy Habits

No matter how healthy you strive to be at home, the truth is, your children will make food decisions while they’re at school, at friends’ houses, or on camping trips. In fact, according to the CDC, your younger family members consume about 50 percent of their daily calories at school. What will really stick with kids are the important lessons you teach them about food. Junk food may taste good, but it affects concentration, for instance, which may mean they don’t perform as well on that afternoon test.

Don’t Forget Sustainability

Younger generations are learning sustainability at home, at school, and even in their extracurricular activities. But did you realize that a healthier lifestyle helps the planet, as well? The United Nations reports that by cutting back on both meat consumption and food waste, you can help reduce carbon emissions. As your children learn about the importance of a sustainable lifestyle, spend some time coming up with ways you can adjust your lifestyle habits to benefit the environment.

Make Fitness Fun

Fitness doesn’t have to involve going to a gym or heading out on a morning run. Work in ways to be healthier and more active in all your activities. Youth groups should consider lining up activities that will keep kids active. Even activities like scavenger hunts and geocaching can keep members on the go without feeling like work.

Keep Immunity Strong

Nobody likes to get sick. Eating healthy and staying fit can help improve your immunity, but there are things you can do to give yourself an even bigger boost. Pay close attention to foods that strengthen immunity, such as citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, and almonds. Insufficient sleep and stress also can wreak havoc on your family’s immunity.

In addition to parents, youth group leaders can find plenty of ways to instill healthy habits in their members. We have plenty of tips on our blog to help get you started. Whether you’re a Scout leader or head up a different type of youth group, check out our blog for inspiration.