1. Serve only milk or water. No juice.
At our house, juice is reserved for sickies or toddlers with constipation issues. The way I see it, juice is extra empty calories. My children are much better off getting those vitamins straight from the food source itself. We eat plenty of apples, bananas, grapes, and frozen berries! The boys' pediatrician actually applauded me when I told him the boys only drink milk or water. It's better for their teeth. It's better for their weight.
Which leads me to...
2. Serve healthy snacks.
Yes, I have totally been the one handing out fruit snacks like candy on Halloween, but I do keep healthy snacks on hand and insist the kids eat those to help tide them over to the next meal. Some of our favorite quick things to eat are string cheese and air popped popcorn. Sometimes I'll even whip up something special like a frozen banana smothered in peanut butter and a little nutella. The boys know they can open the fridge to grab an apple or Chobani kids' strawberry yogurt and I'll always say 'yes'. Did you know that Chobani offers yogurt pouches with fruits AND vegetables? My kids love, love, love greek yogurt and I love that it is loaded with protein because it helps keep those bottomless bellies full.
3. Encourage Outdoor Play and Exploration
We are very fortunate here in Idaho to have so much space and wilderness to play in and explore right in our backyard! Admittedly, I'm a sunshine addict; my happiness is tied to being outdoors. (Vitamin D, baby!) I'm trying to pass along that same love for outdoor adventure to my little boys by going on frequent mini hikes, picnics, spending afternoons at the park, and teaching them to ride bikes in the driveway. An active lifestyle is what it's all about!
I think it is especially important to let boys roam free and explore, to get dirty and sweaty, but most importantly, to push their limits. How high can he climb? How far can he throw? What happens if...? While watching my children play, I often find myself asking what the consequence of their actions might be. Most of the time it's pretty harmless: he might hurt his toe or fall in the water. And so I let it happen. A small scrape or leaving sopping wet will leave a much bigger impression on his mind than my harping to 'be careful!'. After all, I probably won't be there to swoop in to the rescue a few years from now. It's best that he learn his limits while the consequences are small. These little boys of mine are learning about the world around them and building confidence in their abilities at the same time.
After playing so hard outside, my kids need sleep! (And I need a rest too.) Nap time and bed time are top priorities in our home. When one of our boys doesn't get enough sleep, he becomes deaf to our parenting and very whiny. Everyone is happiest when we all get enough sleep. Indeed, we have a regular bedtime routine which consists of pajamas, teeth, family prayer, and a story. I think the story is my favorite part of putting the boys to bed. We get to cuddle up together and I know their little minds are being stimulated in one of the best ways possible. All around healthy!
Please share! What healthy habits does your family have?
We spent an afternoon picnicking in the South Hills. It was a beautiful day for picking dandelions and