Teaching by example is the single best way to instill healthy habits that will stick with your children throughout their lives.

Here are 7 ways to encourage your children to make healthy choices:

Base meals and snacks around whole foods, mostly vegetables and fruits.  Get creative!  Add spinach or tomatoes to your child’s omelet.  Offer fruit with cereal or yogurt.  Add shredded zucchini or carrots to pancakes and muffins.  Encourage your child to choose a piece of fruit with nut butter or raw veggies with hummus for a snack. (Photo credit here)

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Teach children what serving sizes look like.  By informing your children about portions and serving sizes early in life, you set them up for a lifetime of thoughtful eating. (photo credit here)

Girl Enjoying Chocolate Milk

Make water your family’s drink of choice. Water should be the go-to drink for everyone in your family; even children benefit from hydrating with water throughout the day. Check out SM’s Homemade Vitamin Water recipes here.

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Make exercise a family activity and priority. Make time each day to be active together. Do yoga, go for a nature walk, have a family kick-ball game, or dance-off!  Children love spending time with their parents, and you’ll have a great opportunity to connect with them.  (photo credit here)

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Encourage children to try new things. Be open to trying new things yourself! Learning new skills is wonderful food for the brain, and finding a new hobby or activity to try together can enrich your body and mind! (photo credit here)

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Get enough sleep. Most adults get much less sleep than their bodies need, and in today’s over-scheduled world, our children are headed in the same direction.  Make sure that your child has down time every day.  Set and adhere to a bedtime, for your child and yourself! (photo credit here)

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Teach self-respect. Set a good example for your children by eating healthfully, getting enough rest, exercising, and getting outside!  By teaching self-respect and love early on, we pave the way for our children to be healthy and take care of their bodies for life! (photo credit here)

Young Hispanic Family Enjoying Meal At Home

Lastly, moms, don’t forget these wise words: “Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.”  Albert Einstein