Do you like giving gifts even more than receiving them? Well, that's no surprise. Giving makes us feel good, and it can be healthy, too. The sheer act of giving can help boost your mental and emotional health, and giving specifically in ways that promote activity and healthy eating can help your physical health as well.
Even the smallest acts of kindness go a long way. If we teach our kids this philosophy from a young age and find ways to connect it to healthy activities, they're more likely to grow up to be healthy givers! Start getting your kids in the giving spirit with these three activities:
Create a lemonade stand. With the summer heat in full swing, tis the season for lemonade! Kids love the idea of running their own franchise, and making a stand gives them the opportunity to become little chefs, entrepreneurs and philanthropists. Give them a little nutrition 101 and teach them how to make their own healthy lemonade. It's an easy, fun way to get your kids in the kitchen and inspire a love for homemade food and drinks. Have them choose a charity they'd like to donate the money to, and bring them along to present their earnings to the organization in person.
Volunteer at a farmers market. Volunteering is an excellent way to keep your kids busy and active. See if your local farmers market needs help setting up booths or cleaning up at the end of the day. This activity will immerse your kids in a sea of fresh produce and healthy goodies. We all know kids are naturally curious, so encourage them to ask the farmers and vendors questions about the veggies they've never seen before. At the end of the day, let them choose a few vegetables to take home for dinner.
Get active as a family. The great outdoors is calling with plenty of ways to give back to your neighborhood and get your kids moving. Show your kids the importance of staying active by getting active with them. Get your family involved in a family fun run. If your community has a 5k or 3k run for charity, have your children help raise the money for the race and "train" as a family for the big day. If there aren't any races in your community, create your own. Let your kids choose a charity, raise money and set a date to run your own mini marathon as a family. Everyone stays active, a deserving charity benefits and your kids feel a sense of accomplishment.
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Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, is the founder and president of Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City, and Nutritious Life Meals, a gourmet, healthy, daily diet delivery program available across the country. She is a member of Women's Health Magazine's advisory board and has authored Slim Calm Sexy Diet, The O2 Diet, and The Snack Factor Diet. Her fourth book, The New You and Improved Diet, will be released in December. Her expertise is regularly featured on the Today show, Good Morning America, and Access Hollywood Live, among others, and she hosts "A Little Bit Better" on YouTube's Livestrong Woman channel. Read more of Keri's tips every day on Facebook!