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Healthy Choices: How to Help Your Children Stay Fit on a Tight Budget

Posted on Monday, June 29, 2020
Recently, the CDC released an article with some alarming facts about childhood obesity; namely, that about one in five American children and young people are seriously overweight. This is a huge surge from the 1970s and has been causing many schools to change their menus and parents to rethink the way they approach meals and snacks in their homes.

It's not just about the foods we eat, however; there is a link between the amount of activity a person gets and their physical fitness, and in many homes, there just isn't enough movement. Parents come home exhausted from work, cook dinner, make sure homework and baths are done, and everyone goes to bed. We're lucky to sneak in time to watch a movie or read a book, let alone fit in exercise. Yet, it's imperative that we make time for fitness, and that requires taking a look at the way we do things as a family. Thankfully, there are many simple things you can do to turn things around, and it doesn't require a lot of money.

Expose them to different foods
Many kids are picky eaters, and when it's been a long day and everyone is hungry, it's understandable that you want to give in to requests of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese. However, exposing your kids to a variety of different foods at a young age will help take away some of their anxiety about trying new things and will broaden their horizons a bit. Steamed broccoli can be just as quick to make as mac and cheese, and it's much healthier. What's more, cutting out sugary snacks in favor of healthier options will eliminate unwanted trips to the dentist to address cavities and gum disease, which have recently been linked to a number of different physical and mental problems. So, do what you can to keep snacks as healthy as possible, and you can do so without blowing through your entire food budget.

Make it fun
Little ones tend to turn their noses up at fresh veggies and even fruit, but you can help them be more open to these foods by making them fun to eat. Arrange a little scene on their plate: chicken nugget dinosaurs with broccoli trees, or noodle waves under a mandarin orange sun. Get creative and encourage your child to help you make their lunch or dinner. It's a great way for you to spend some quality time in the kitchen together rather than rushing to put a meal in front of them. The best thing about this activity is that it doesn't take any extra money to engage with your children in the kitchen. All you need is a little time - and maybe some patience!

Exercise together
It can be hard to find the time to workout, but if you make it a point to do something fun and active as a family, everyone will benefit. It doesn't have to be too time-consuming, either; play a quick game of kickball in the backyard, or go for a walk after dinner. Fifteen or 20 minutes of activity may not seem like much, but when you have a busy schedule, it's better than nothing! If you need some gear to get started - maybe you need some bicycle helmets or a new hoop for the backyard - you can always save at large retailers like Walmart. And you can help bring those prices down even more at Walmart by signing up for a store credit card, setting up a Walmart MoneyCard, and finding promo codes and cashback deals through sites like Rakuten.

Helping your children stay fit and active is an everyday goal, so help them stay motivated by encouraging them. When they make good decisions, reward them with extra TV time, and make sure they know how proud you are that they are on the right track. Leading by example is also a great way to teach your little ones how to stay healthy.

Huge THANK YOU to one of our favorite bloggers - Sara Bailey at Thewidow.net for writing this up and sending it in to us! Go check her blog out!