Healthy Beginnings

3 Strategies to Shape Your Child’s Healthy Lifestyle

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By Melissa Bisera

Parents often tell me they want to be positive role models in passing along good health behaviors to their children. Parents want to equip their children with knowledge that will help them make smart healthy choices before they venture out into the world on their own.

But, telling your kids what they “have to” eat or trying to entice them to eat vegetables because they’re “healthy” isn’t exactly motivating.

How can you encourage your children to enjoy and practice healthful habits? By making it fun and involving them more. I recommend letting kids contribute to the meal planning, grocery shopping and even the cooking process.

To get started, here are some quick helpful ideas – and there are plenty more.

Meal Planning:

Pull out your favorite cookbook of healthy recipes and let your kids pick out what goes on the menu, it’s helpful if the cookbook has colorful pictures. They’ll be excited when the picture in the cookbook becomes real on the kitchen table.

Grocery Shopping Ideas:

Let kids help create the grocery list. Consider having some fun with the list while at the grocery store, you can turn it into a scavenger hunt or assign certain items for your children to be in charge of. This might help take some of the boredom out of grocery shopping for your kids. Allow them to pick out one colorful fruit or vegetable that looks appetizing – one they’ve never tried before.

Cooking Ideas:

Involve your children in food preparation. Do research together on ways to enjoy the new vegetable or fruit they chose. Ask for their help, they can measure out spices or add the ingredients to a saucepan or blender.

Children are more likely to eat healthy foods if they have an enjoyable experience selecting the food and preparing it. Some parents are concerned that the process of planning meals, grocery shopping and cooking will take longer. This is highly likely in the beginning, but think of the end goal of having your children build healthful habits they can use long after leaving home.

After implementing these ideas, parents often tell me how valuable this time with their children is because of the valuable bonding time. And just think, the kids may appreciate the experience so much, they’ll share the same habits with their children one day.

Have fun experimenting and coming up with your own ideas. Keep it simple and stick to one idea at a time!

Melissa Bisera is a Master Certified Health Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute and is currently working from The Change Place fitness facility in Carson City. She believes health changes don’t have to be drastic and recommends taking small steps, which add up to big rewards. To learn about what’s possible, contact her for a complimentary consultation at 775-790-2797 or For additional ways to keep your family healthy, check out her upcoming workshops at