Over the years, kids haven’t changed much when it comes to nutrition. Left to their own devices, they’d eat pizza for breakfast, popcorn for lunch, and ice cream for dinner. And if they had to choose between a dish of broccoli and a bowl of M & Ms? Well, most wouldn’t debate long before reaching for the sugary treat.

Instill Habits for a Lifetime of Health

Unfortunately, although kids haven’t changed, the rate of childhood obesity in the United States has. Today, more children than ever are overweight. Because we know how devastating this can be to a child’s health, it’s important that we as parents and educators teach the young ones in our care how to live a healthy lifestyle. To do so effectively, we must make two essential components of healthy living into habits that our children can adopt for their lifetimes. What are these critical habits? Eating a good diet and getting regular exercise.

Provide the Guidance Kids Need

Children won’t adopt these habits on their own. They’ll eat junk food till their tummies hurt, watch TV until their eyes turn red, and play videogames long after they should have gone to bed. They’re just kids! They need us as adults to guide them toward behaviors that are good for them. We must encourage them to participate in fun physical activities. We must provide them with tasty foods that are good for them. As adults who care about children’s health, these are decisions we must make for them—for their own good.

Establish Healthy Habits as a Family

Provide your children with healthy nutrition from the start. When kids are very young, they only eat what you give them, so give them the best. That means eating well yourself. If you eat lots of processed foods, it’s likely that your kids will too. And if you reward children with food, you’ll foster emotional eating. Instead, lead your children to healthy foods by example. Cook nutritious meals together, as a family, and avoid fattening fast food that’s full of empty calories. You’ll gain a healthier family, and you might just lose a few pounds! Another healthy snack alternative (or meal) is Daily Sunshine. Daily Sunshine is a healthy smoothie made just for kids.

In addition to eating healthy daily meals, make regular physical activity a household habit. Go hiking at a nearby park. Bicycle through the neighborhood. Play Frisbee in the yard. Go window shopping at the mall. Tour a museum from top to bottom. In other words, get moving! Don’t let TV or videogames relegate you or your children to the sidelines of life. Get them off the bench by limiting viewing and playing time—and remember to practice what you preach.

Your kids won’t even know they’re exercising; they’ll just think they’re having fun. And they will be. That’s another positive result of establishing physical activity as your family’s daily norm—it will bring you closer together.

Being a good role model for kids takes work and dedication, but it’s worth it. After all, making good nutrition and regular exercise a way of life is in every child’s best interest.