How to Encourage Kids to Eat Healthy & Be Active

OOPS, so I haven't blogged all week.  I feel bad about it.  I really enjoy blogging and it helps keep me sane.  But sometimes, life gets crazy and there aren't enough hours in the day to do what needs to be done and work, laundry, dishes, all these things tend to pile up on you...BUT, that's for another blog post because I finally did carve out some time this morning to share a bit of my family life with you.  
Most of you know, I'm a mom of two kiddos!  I blog about them a ton, especially when it comes to doing fun stuff together and going on family vacations and adventures!  Today, though I want to talk about how important it is to lead by example and how to encourage kids to eat healthy and be active.  When I started this weight loss journey and began exercising regularly I did it for me.  I mean, yeah, I wanted to be able to run around with my kiddos and not be out of breathe, I wanted to be a good example to them about eating healthy and keeping active.  But guess what?  These things don't happen by osmosis.  Kids don't just become interested in eating kale chips because you are.  They won't trade video games for jumping jacks because you tell them they should be more active.  Nope.  You have to engage children.  You need to get out there and do these things with them.  They not only need to see you go for a run, they need you to invite them to join you.  It took me a little bit to realize that while I was enjoying the benefits of a healthier, more active lifestyle, my kiddos weren't as involved as I wanted them to be.  So, I made a conscious decision to change that!  And for the past year or so, we've been making changes for the kiddos too!  

Here are a few things we do & you can use to help you and your family eat healthier and be more active:

Making easy Lexi's Clean Kitchen no-bake nut-free Powerbites! Check out the recipe :) Kids love these!

Making easy Lexi's Clean Kitchen no-bake nut-free Powerbites! Check out the recipe :) Kids love these!

  • Cook together!  Having my kiddos help me cook dinner or a healthy snack helps a ton when trying new things.  It doesn't mean they'll love it, but they will at least try it because they helped make it.  And, even if they don't like a certain dish or vegetable, it's still a great way to spend time together and talk about the benefits of healthy foods verses junk food.
  •  Make Exercise Fun!  Kids are kids.  You can't pop in a workout DVD and expect them to love the burn!  You gotta make it fun for them and for us, that means taking it outside. Whether we're going on a family hike, a bike ride with daddy, or a 1 mile run I like to let them know we're not just having fun but also exercising.  We'll do fun little "boot camps" or challenges at the park.  Jason & Diego will play football or basketball.  The important thing is to stay active! 
  • Be Sneaky!  Yup, I am not above tricking my kiddos into eating healthy.  I mostly do this by adding spinach & chia seeds to all our smoothies and making fresh juices with both fruits & veggies!  Smoothies are usually a few spoonfuls of greek yogurt, a banana, milk, berries, a bunch of spinach, and a tablespoon of chia seeds.  One of Elysse's favorite juices is made with 5 carrots - 1 cucumber - 4 celery - 2 big handful of grapes!  It's fun to experiment and try new combinations and of course, have the kids help ;)   
  • Share your Passions!  I love to sign up for races and my favorite are obstacle races and lots of times my hubby runs along with me.  It's fun to take the kids to watch us run and cheer us on.  By race day, they are super excited because they saw how much we trained for that day.  They see us put in the work and then see the results of our hard work.   Nothing like your kid see you succeed and be proud of you! 
  • Get them Involved!  Not only do we sometimes take the kids along to see us race, we also sign them up for their own races!  Of course, there is nothing competitive in these races, it's just a ton of fun for them and that's what we want.  There are lots of races that have fun 1 mile family runs or are kid/stroller/walker friendly.  We want our kids to enjoy a healthy, active lifestyle now and as adults!  

How do you encourage your kids to eat healthy & be active?  Feel free to share your tips too!