10 Simple Ways To Raise Healthy Grandkids
Grandparents are aged parents whose authoritarian inclinations have been replaced with gumdrops and powdered sugar. They’re known for pushing the boundaries, breaking the rules, and stretching the bounds beyond what was ever allowed with their own children, all while keeping the proof hidden from everyone (even Mom and Dad).
However, while ice cream and fast food is great fun for every kid, childhood is the most important time to learn healthy lifestyle habits. Their future literally depends on it, and grandparents are the perfect grown-ups to teach them.
Here are 10 ways to help you raise healthy grandkids:
1. Find healthy substitutes for sugar.
Sugar is one of our children’s biggest enemies. Study after study proves that it contributes to just about every disease that is a major cause of death in the US. We all need to drastically reduce our sugar intake, and it has to start when we’re kids. Aside from limiting treats like candy and soda, they also need to avoid processed carbohydrates.
Foods like these are primarily just sugar:
- Bakery items
- Fruit juices
- Breakfast bars
Even many of the snacks we think are healthy, like apple sauce and fruit cups, often have sugar as one of the main ingredients.
Instead of processed sugar, use natural sweeteners like organic honey, pure maple syrup, or Stevia which is a sugar substitute getting a lot of positive reviews.
2. Involve them in activities that make them move.
Obesity becomes a problem in younger and younger age groups every year, partly because kids just don’t get much exercise these days. Physical activity is necessary in growing children to promote healthy muscle strength, bone growth, and brain development.
Aside from the health benefits, playing is fun and a natural stress reliever. Allowing them time to explore and discover new things is great for the immune system and aides in the production of healthy chemicals needed for wellness.
3. Get them out in the sun.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to dozens of illnesses, including many of the seasonal infections (colds and flu) from which many kids suffer. They need sunlight for the production of Vitamin D, without which their bodies cannot produce antibiotics or build strong bones.
20 minutes of direct sunlight to as much exposed skin as possible every day is best. The sun is not dangerous as long as we don’t burn. Otherwise, they’ll need to supplement with a quality vitamin.
4. Eliminate dairy.
Dairy is not essential for calcium. In fact, dairy products like milk, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt cause an inflammatory process in the body which contributes to asthma, allergies, sinus problems, and digestive issues. Leafy green vegetables are the best source of natural calcium as well as hundreds of other nutrients the body needs for health.
Take a look at this very important article about why kids should stop drinking milk immediately.
5. Teach them to like water.
Almost any liquid that passes a child’s lips that is not pure, clean water has some kind of processed sugar or other toxic chemical in it. Unless you’re blending your own smoothies or juicing your own vegetables, water should be the only thing they drink. This is a commonly overlooked source of unnatural chemicals and artificial ingredients, so be diligent with reading labels.
6. Healthy food before the junk.
This is a great way to get kids to eat better. They’ll no doubt be asking Grandma and Grandpa for sweets and treats, so use it as an opportunity to get some healthy food into them. If they want a cookie, have them eat an apple first. If they ask for a soda, agree only after they drink 8 ounces of water. When you do this, you’ll find that sometimes they’ll choose to have nothing at all, but other times they’ll relent and increase their intake of fruits and vegetables. That’s never a bad thing.
7. Get them healthy supplements.
Children rarely get enough healthy food to nourish their bodies properly. The National Cancer Institute recommends 9-13 servings of fruits and vegetables every day to prevent cancer and increase longevity. On average, adults eat 0-4 servings per day, so it stands to reason that most kids are nutritionally deficient as well. This is why supplements made for kids are so important. Without good nutrition, their chances of developing disease later in life goes up exponentially.
8. Keep their favorites on hand.
Kids can be very picky eaters, but most will have at least a few fruits and vegetables they really like. Keep these plentiful and available whenever the grandkids are around. If they see bananas on the counter or apples in the fridge, they just might choose them instead of sugary snacks. Give them a chance to surprise you with their good choices.
9. Cook their favorites instead of driving through.
Can McDoofus’s really make a better hamburger than you? I didn’t think so. Fast food is filled with addictive deadly chemicals, contributes to disease and obesity, and erodes the usefulness of good eating habits.
Instead of hitting the drive-through, prepare your own meals at home and involve the grandkids in the process. It’s a great opportunity to teach them how to cook and introduce them to healthy things. Cooking together also creates great memories they’ll always remember.
10. Make sure they get enough rest.
It’s tempting to let kids do as they please at Grandma and Grandpa’s house. This includes staying up as late as they want. But their growing bodies need rest as much as they need good nutrition, water, and playtime. Without adequate sleep, the immune system suffers, they won’t be able to concentrate as well, and they won’t have enough energy for important body processes.
Children heal and grow the most while sleeping, so make sure they’re getting to bed at a decent hour.
The earlier our kids learn healthy lifestyle habits, the more likely they will carry them into adulthood. Be diligent with these 10 tips and you’ll have the healthiest grandkids in the neighborhood.