Top 5 Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids

By Team Ahimsa

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Time to Read: 6 min

Healthy Habits to Teach Your Kids

By Cherie Chu, MD DipABLM

Take the time to teach your kids healthy habits now, and you will set them up for success for a lifetime of wellness. It may take a little extra work on the front end, but here is just one reason why it is worth the effort. Studies show that these five habits can help prevent common health issues down the road, such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Learn more about the Top 5 Healthy Habits to teach your kids, followed by ideas to implement them for yourself and your kids.

About Ahimsa

Founded by a pediatrician and mom of three

Stainless steel is the only kid-friendly material recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics 

We are guided by a Scientific Advisory Council comprised of environmental and medical experts, guiding us in creating the safest products, following the latest science and promoting policy to protect human health and our planet

Want to know more? Check out our story and our products

#1 ESTABLISH HEALTHFUL EATING HABITS


  • Teach your baby a variety of flavors and textures as soon as they begin eating solids.
  • Incorporate whole and plant-based foods as a foundation to your meals; includes vegetables, fruit, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and beans.
  • Choose fruits and vegetables instead of packaged food for snacks.
  • Eat together as a family. Talk and make it a social event.
  • Teach kids to be mindful when eating. Be present and avoid turning on the TV or looking at your phone during meals.
  • Drink water instead of juice.
  • Help kids become intuitive eaters, eating to satisfy hunger. Avoid using food as a distraction when bored or as a reward for good behavior.
  • Make it fun! Play games like eating all colors of the rainbow to get your child to eat fruits and vegetables. For more fun and Eat the Rainbow tips, visit Dr. Chu's website. 

Mealtime Essentials

#2 PRIORITIZE SLEEP


  • Set a sleep schedule and prioritize bedtime - even if it means leaving an event early. 
  • Give your child adequate time to sleep. See below for age-specific sleep amounts!
  • Set their body clock by spending time outdoors in the daytime and turning off screens 1-2 hours before bed. 
  • Prioritize your sleep. Adults need 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

#3 MOVE OFTEN


  • Get your child moving daily. Aim for your child to be physically active for at least 60 minutes (ages 6 and older) or 180 minutes (toddlers and preschoolers) per day. In young children, physical activity is routine play!  
  • Incorporate various types of physical activities - including aerobic (dancing), bone-strengthening (jumping rope), and muscle-strengthening (monkey bars). 
  • The best type of exercise is exercise you find enjoyable. Ask your child what they enjoy and make time to do it. 
  • Go for walks as a family.
  • Have your child create a family obstacle course.
  • Model exercise by scheduling time for yourself to be active.

#4 RELAX


  • Teach kids breathing exercises so they have a tool they can use when they feel upset. 
  • Spend time in nature
  • Avoid screen time until 18 months, preferably 2 years. 
  • Schedule routine time for yourself to recharge, even if it is just for 5 minutes to take a quick walk. You will be a better parent for it.

#5 CONNECT WITH LOVED ONES


  • Stay connected with friends and family even if you are only able to do so virtually.
  • Schedule virtual playdates or lunch dates for your kids and their friends until they can see each other in person again. It helps to choose a recurring time during the week, so both parties make it a priority.
  • Make tech-free times a routine for the whole family.
  • Family game nights are not only fun but are a great way to connect as a family.

If you are ready for a jumpstart in your family’s wellness, check out Dr. Chu’s FAMILY WELLNESS TOOLKIT at Wellness Pediatrician for more tips and tricks.

Cherie Chu, MD DipABLM, is a board-certified pediatrician and a certified diplomate of lifestyle medicine. She is passionate about helping children learn healthy lifestyle habits because of the immeasurable benefits of doing so in childhood and beyond.


Dr. Chu is the founder of Wellness Pediatrician, an educational website dedicated to wellness in children through lifestyle medicine. She currently practices outpatient general pediatrics in San Diego where she incorporates her knowledge of lifestyle medicine into her daily interactions with her pediatric patients and their families. She is also the mother of twins and credits her children as being her greatest teachers.

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

About Ahimsa Founder Dr. Manasa Mantravadi

Dr. Manasa Mantravadi is a board-certified pediatrician whose dedication to children’s health drove her to launch Ahimsa, the world's first colorful stainless steel dishes for kids. She was motivated by the American Academy of Pediatrics’ findings on harmful chemicals in plastic affecting children's well-being. Ahimsa has gained widespread recognition and been featured in media outlets such as Parents Magazine, the Today Show, The Oprah Magazine, and more.

Dr. Mantravadi received the esteemed “Physician Mentor of the Year” award at Indiana University School of Medicine in 2019. She was also named a Forbes Next 1000 Entrepreneur in 2021, with her inspiring story showcased on Good Morning America. She serves on the Council for Environmental Health and Climate Change and the Council for School Health at The American Academy of Pediatrics. She represents Ahimsa as a U.S. industry stakeholder on the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) for the Global Plastics Treaty, led by the United Nations Environment Program. Dr. Mantravadi leads Ahimsa's social impact program, The Conscious Cafeteria Project, to reduce carbon emissions and safeguard student health as part of a national pilot of the Clinton Global Initiative.

She is dedicated to educating and empowering people to make healthier, more environmentally friendly choices at mealtime. Her mission remains to advocate for the health of all children and the one planet we will leave behind for them through real policy change within our food system.

More Mealtime Essentials

Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I use stainless steel instead of plastic? Is stainless steel better for health?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released a report in July 2018 suggesting ways that families can limit exposure to certain chemicals at mealtime, including “the use of alternatives to plastic, such as glass or stainless steel, when possible.” The report explained that “…some additives are put directly in foods, while “indirect” additives may include chemicals from plastic, glues, dyes, paper, cardboard”. Further, “Children are more sensitive to chemical exposures because they eat and drink more, relative to body weight, than adults do, and are still growing and developing.” While stainless steel items meet the recommendation to avoid plastic products in children, Ahimsa® products have the obvious advantage of not breaking like glass.

Is stainless steel better for the environment than plastic?

According to the Steel Recycling Institute, steel can be recycled over and over and over again without losing its integrity and requires less energy to recycle than to make anew. Most plastic unfortunately ends up in landfills and it is estimated to take 700 years to decompose. Our special coloring process that allows Ahimsa® products to be fully metal is environmentally friendly, so it does not produce toxic run-off into the ecosystem.

Will Ahimsa products break or peel?

No. Our steel is durable, so it won’t break or shatter with everyday use, like glass. And it won’t peel, like other colored stainless steel products you’ve seen. We use a special process that allows the colors to naturally occur in the metal.

Which Ahimsa products are best for my little one(s)?

Our products are meant to last, you can use Ahimsa at ages 1, 8 and 18! We thoughtfully design our products to be safe for little ones and our planet while reducing consumption. Once your child outgrows the Starting Solids Set  and can use regular cups and utensils, the training cup is the perfect size rinse cup in the bathroom, the infant spoon doubles as a tea stirrer and the bowl is great for snacks or as an additional compartment to our modular divided plate. Our plates are great for any age as they encourage choosing a variety of healthy foods at each meal and help visualize portion sizes easily. It’s the lasting beauty of stainless steel - grows with your child and reduces waste.

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