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Top 10 Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids


Every family benefits from adopting healthy habits, together! See our top 10 healthy habits for kids to find out which ones you’ve already achieved, and which ones to adopt as your next goal on your path to a healthier family.

Everyone wants their kids to be healthy and happy. But sometimes that end goal can feel overwhelming!

So we’re breaking down that big goal into ten manageable habits that your family can focus on to help you raise healthy kids.

In case TEN things sounds like a lot to remember, here’s more good news. You’re probably already implementing a few of these habits! Take a look at the 10 most important healthy habits for kids:

10 Most Important Healthy Habits for Kids

  1. Make half your meals fruits and vegetables. This is our number one recommendation. Kids who eat fruits and veggies at every meal fill up on high-fiber, high-nutrient foods in the right portions. And don’t worry if your picky eaters aren’t biting yet. Keep serving balanced meals and modeling healthy eating.
  2. Reduce added sugars. The average child gets 16% of their total calories from added sugars, a whopping 10 teaspoons per day! Added sugar has been linked to childhood obesity, chronic diseases, behavior problems, and more! Keep this number between 0-5%. See 50 low-sugar snack ideas here.
  3. Vary proteins. Protein is vital to children’s growing brains and bodies, and variety matters. Seafood, poultry, lean beef, eggs, dairy, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds are all good protein sources to included in a child’s diet.
  4. Practice good oral hygiene. Teaching kids to brush their teeth twice a day from a very young age will help prevent cavities, tooth decay and gum disease. Keeping your mouth healthy also includes eating less sugary foods – especially choosing water over juice and soda.
  5. Choose whole grains. Whole wheat, brown rice, oatmeal, and even popcorn are all whole grain foods that deliver fiber and B-vitamins in addition to an energy boost.
  6. Stick to four meals per day. Kids who are allowed to graze can have a reduced appetite and less desire to try new foods. It’s OK for children to get hungry between meals! When mealtime comes, they’ll have a heartier appetite for the nourishing dinner you serve.
  7. Prioritize sleep. With today’s busy schedules, a solid sleep routine can be hard to stick to. But kids who get the recommended amount of sleep for their age are healthier physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  8. Limit highly-processed foods. Many healthy foods like whole grain bread and peanut butter are “processed.” You don’t need to avoid these foods. But do try to limit HIGHLY-processed foods, which include artificial dyes, preservatives, refined fats and flours, and added sugars. Strive to cook from scratch using whole ingredients.
  9. Drink water. Kids don’t need sweetened drinks! Sugar sweetened beverages have been blamed for many of the health problems plaguing children today, including childhood obesity. These beverages also replace foods that have nutrients and fiber, which children need to grow. Stick to the good stuff: water.
  10. Play hard, especially outdoors. When kids spend part of each day engaging in physical play outside they enjoy better sleep, a stronger body, better mental health, and improved focus at school.

The Takeaway

I hope you see this list as a daily practice, not a strict set of rules. Take what works for your family and make the changes that matter to YOU. Then teach those important lessons to your children little by little, day by day, until they become a seamless part of your family’s life.

Best of all, your kids will leave home equipped with habits to support a lifetime of good health. Cheers!

Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Rising a healthy family isn’t easy. It is important for you and your kids to have a healthy diet with a healthy lifestyle. The balance diet is one of the difficult battles for many working parents.

Thank you for the wonderful tips! All 10 are crucial and not only for the kids but for adults as well. Pretty much everyone knows how harmful sugar and sugary drinks are, no compromise here. Oral hygiene is really important and it is in one’s best interest to teach this their kids from the youngest age, they’ll thank you later in their life. Also, I’d add that physical play is really important no doubt – doing actual exercise routine yourself and teaching your kids to do the same is really important! Especially in our day and age where we sit for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week – keeping your body in great shape is your biggest priority! The statistics are truly horrifying – you’re not only spending $1.5k on average annually if you’re obese but also your life expectancy is 5-20 years lower. You can take a look at more info at Wiki, there’s a lot of studies shown as well https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obesity_in_the_United_States.

It’s a big and constant work, but it’s important. In my childhood no one taught me why to eat healthy food, why to be physically active, etc. As a result, I was overweight and also had a number of health problems. And no one is to blame except me, but I just did not know how to do the right thing with your body and maintain good health. I don’t want my children to repeat my mistakes, so right habits are our priority. And by teaching them the proper nutrition and hygiene, I myself become better, because I follow these same habits.

I like to read well-written articles. It looks like you spent a lot of time and effort on your blog. I learned a lot from your article. keep up the good work!

I believe in every word you say.
Yes, the doctor can only help to treat them if they suffer physically. But they can’t help to grow them mentally.
Today, we parents are so busy that we give our child phone or tablet to make feel them happy.
But such kind of behavior of us will be harmful for our child.
I especially love these points:

1: Make half your meals fruits and vegetables
2:Practice good oral hygiene
3:Drink water

I like how you mentioned having whole grains in their diet for an energy boost. I’m trying to keep my kids healthy during COVID since I don’t want any of us getting. It might be a smart idea to find other ways to keep their immune system as healthy as possible.

Kids should learn good oral hygiene habits. It is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their kids are adopting good habits for their health. Dental visits and checkups should be added to the routine list. Thanks for sharing this post here!

Love this website it is so good and helped me out a lot my kids are now eating healthy,sleeping better and longer. I just want to say thank you so much