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Natural Awakenings Metro Phoenix & Northern Arizona

Keeping Fit and Healthy with Your Kids: Learn ways to instill good habits with children today, from Dr. Linda Khoshaba

Jul 30, 2013 09:17AM ● By Linda Khoshaba, NMD

Instilling preventative health in children is an important topic, because it can establish the foundation for optimal lifelong health. Teaching kids to eat right and stay active implements lasting values and helps prevent disease. Here are some simple tips to help every family keep fit and healthy and have fun.

Healthy Eating

Because kids spend a majority of their time at school, making sure that they are getting essential nutrients from a diet dense in antioxidants, protein and good sources of carbohydrates and fats is extremely important. Packing a lunch that contains these key ingredients can have tremendous impact in the long term, because it will also help curb cravings, especially for the high-calorie foods that look delicious inside the vending machine. When it comes to snacks, great ideas include organic celery stalks with nut butter, fruit kabobs, hummus and veggies. Avoid sugary drinks and instead, try some water with lemon to make light lemonade.

Healthy Living

We live in a society that is bombarded with electronic gadgets, ranging from computers and tablets to handheld music and gaming devices and smartphones. Naturally, our children have become experts at using them. The average screen time for children has been estimated at approximately three hours per day. The downside is that there is a direct correlation with amount of screen time and obesity; therefore, limiting the duration and use of this time to high-quality content is extremely beneficial in reducing factors that contribute to obesity, including a high body mass index. Try balancing screen time with some “lean time” related to physical activities such as playing sports, walking outdoors, dancing and swimming.

Healthy Body

The best medicine is preventative medicine. Childhood years are extremely important for educating and bringing awareness of the negative consequences associated with tobacco, and recreational drug and alcohol use. Being a positive role model is significant. Focus on creating a healthy body image by complimenting kids on their efforts and accomplishments. This positive feedback will increase their overall self-esteem. It is important to discuss healthy body messages and overcome the media pressure toward “ideal” images for both girls and boys.

Healthy Mind and Spirit

Helping and guiding children through mental and emotional health behaviors is as important as addressing their physical needs. Whether related to temper tantrums or transiting puberty, having a supportive family and friends can help ease the development process. Some great ways to improve this area include finding time for spiritual practices, mediation and relaxation. These are wonderful ways to get kids involved in the community, and challenge them to learn a new hobby or skill.

Dr. Linda Khoshaba received a doctorate from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. Her main areas of focus include women's health, pediatric medicine, diabetes management and prolotherapy. For more information, visit MyIntegrativeHealth.com.

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