Healthy habits for kids – how can I equip my children?
Prioritizing health and fitness is important for everyone, but it’s particularly vital that we set up healthy habits for our kids from a young age. If young people learn to enjoy pastimes like exercise, eating fruits, vegetables, whole foods and reading from a young age, then it’s likely that they will continue to make these habits part of their routine throughout the rest of their lives.
Furthering Ma’an’s ambitions to bring the Abu Dhabi community together and help residents and citizens to live happy and fulfilling lives, we want to help you explore healthy habits for kids and learn how you can encourage them in your children.
What are the benefits of healthy habits?
The challenges and uncertainties brought on by the pandemic have further emphasized how important it is that we stay healthy and look after our physical and mental wellbeing.
Fueling our body with nutritious food, getting plenty of sleep and fitting in exercise in our daily routine brings multiple benefits.
- Improved immune system
Healthy habits can help keep your cholesterol and blood pressure within a healthy range and prevent cardiovascular diseases. Boosting your immune system can also help your body fight off all kinds of viruses and infections.
- Boosted energy levels
Eating processed and un-nutritious foods can leave you feeling lethargic, while sugary treats will provide an instant high but then leave you feeling tired and flagging. Eating a healthy diet that includes whole grains, lean meats, quality dairy products and fresh fruit and veg will ensure that your energy levels remain constant throughout the day. Exercise also helps deliver oxygen and nutrients around your body, while getting plenty of sleep stops you feeling irritable and moody, and reduces the chances of you developing high-blood pressure and other conditions.
- Ability to maintain healthy body weight
Exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet will prevent you from gaining unwanted weight and developing conditions such as diabetes.
How can I encourage healthy habits in my children?
Let’s Connect is continuously providing our community with fun activities and challenges that are designed to encourage healthy habits in kids and adults.
For instance, Fariz Al Zaabi, the Let’s Connect Health and Wellness Ambassador, is challenging followers to share their own inspirational healthy habits. Why not show your children his high-energy TikTok video about his morning routine, and ask them to create their own #MyHealthyHabit post? This will encourage them to be proud and excited about the fact that they look after their own physical and mental health, and sharing their tips will also inspire and help other children too.
Let’s Connect also shares daily health and lifestyle tips, so keep an eye on our social media platforms to discover more fun community initiatives that the whole family can get involved in.
Take a look at some useful advice and encouragement on nutrition, from leading health coach, Sara Al Nowais:
Healthy food habits for kids
To encourage your kids to feel excited and enthusiastic about healthy food, try getting creative in the kitchen and making some new recipes that use fresh and wholesome ingredients. Remember, eating well doesn’t mean just eating salads or vegetables. Making simple swaps like having colorful fruit salads for dessert instead of cake, and adding more veggies into pastas and curries can all help your little ones absorb more vital vitamins and minerals.
To help you make better choices whilst shopping and discover more about the nutritional value of our day-to-day foods, you can always download the healthy eating app ShopWell for free on Apple and Android.
It’s also possible to make good choices when you eat out as well. Alkalime at Mamsha Al Saadiyat specialises in wholesome, homemade dishes that all taste absolutely delicious. Children will adore the vibrant smoothies, guilt-free cakes and cookies, filling breakfasts such as sweet potato pancakes and the nutritionally balanced lunch options like the Shower’ma Gut, the healthy version of shawarma.
Finally, make sure your kids always have a water bottle close to hand. Particularly in hot climates like the UAE, water is critical for keeping our organs healthy, regulating our body temperature and keeping our skin and hair healthy and glowing.
What are some really healthy habits to follow as a teenager?
Younger kids and teenagers should be encouraged to move their bodies on a regular basis and get out into the fresh air. In fact, the World Health Organization recommends that children and teenagers aged five to 17 should aim to do an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise a day.
Luckily, Abu Dhabi is home to all sorts of fun sports and activities that will excite young people with all kinds of interests.
Here are just some of the amazing attractions and sports groups in Abu Dhabi that your teenager or child can join:
- Zayed Sports Academy
Joining a sports team or training program can help teenagers make friends and stay active without even realizing they are exercising. Participating in sport is also a great way of blowing off steam and relieving any stress that comes with exams or life as a teenager. Zayed Sports Academy at Zayed Sports City provides program for kids and teenagers in padel, tennis, cycling and ice skating, and there are also multiple sports academies held at different locations throughout the city.
- Youth X Hub
Young entrepreneurs will feel right at home at Abu Dhabi’s Youth X Hub. A place where young people are encouraged to connect, exchange ideas and bring their dreams to life, it’s open to anyone aged 15 to 35.
- CLYMB Abu Dhabi
Now, kids and teenagers with a taste for adventure can learn to fly and climb like Spiderman at CLYMB Abu Dhabi, the world’s tallest indoor skydiving chamber. Those under 14 are welcome to join the Junior Flying Club, while those over 14 are invited to sign up for the hands-on bouldering and auto-belaying group courses.
- Circuit X
All budding young BMX riders in the capital have an unmissable experience coming up for them this February. The BMX time trial race at cycle hub Circuit X on Hudayriyat Island will take place on February 12, and it tasks riders with finishing two challenges in the fastest possible time. Offering the chance to win cool prizes such as a brand-new BMX bike, it’s a great opportunity to show young people that exercise can be exciting and adrenaline filled. Open to junior riders aged eight to 13 and teens aged between 14 and 18, the cycle hub is also open daily for young people who fancy practicing their skills.
In addition to all the above, don’t forget that Abu Dhabi is filled with parks, playgrounds and beaches where kids of all ages are encouraged to run around and burn off some energy.
Ask your kids and teenagers to share their healthy habits
We love receiving inspirational transformation stories and healthy habit submissions from people of all ages. So, if you child likes to read every night before bed, always takes the stairs instead of the lift or plays football every weekend, ask them to share a photo or video of their healthy habit on social media and tag @letsconnect.ae for a chance to be featured on the Let’s Connect Instagram page. We also love seeing how our community has changed their lives for the better. So, if you have a motivational story to tell don’t hesitate in sharing your #MyTransformationStory either.