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6 Reasons healthy kids are happy kids

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

How to raise happy and healthy children

We all know that kids need a variety of nutritious foods and regular exercise to stay healthy. However, staying healthy is also essential for your child's happiness. Read on to learn about why healthy kids are happy kids.

happy, healthy boy playing lacrosse

Healthy foods give kids energy to learn and play

From a young age, you should teach your children about eating healthfully. Talk about how nutritious foods will make them grow big and strong, and also provide the fuel and energy they need to learn and play. Without protein, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, your kids won't have the desire or capability to experience new things or stay active.

Team sports allow kids to gain confidence and make friends

Organized team sports help kids gain confidence and improve their self-esteem. Plus, these programs offer opportunities to learn about teamwork as they make new friends. Friends, socialization and camaraderie are vital for children to be happy and healthy.

Read more about how kids benefit from organized sports >>

Trying new, colorful fruits and veggies is exciting

Healthy foods aren't bland and boring -- well, at least they shouldn't be. Instead of serving up peas or broccoli every night, expand your horizons and provide your children with a variety of colorful fruits and veggies. Aim to try a new food every week. Visit your local farmers market with your kids and allow them to pick out something they've never tried before. Make food look fun by cutting it into unusual shapes or presenting it in new ways.

Cooking together encourages family bonding

Family bonding time makes children (and their parents) happier and healthier. The kitchen is a fabulous place for bonding. Allow your kids to participate not only in shopping for groceries, but also in preparing and cooking meals. Young kids can rinse vegetables, mix ingredients in a bowl and set the table. Always select safe activities for kids to do in the kitchen, and keep a close eye on young children.

Read about the importance of family mealtime >>

Growing food at home is healthy and fun

The best way to assure your vegetables aren't covered with harmful pesticides and other toxins is by growing them at home. Set aside a small area in your yard to plant a vegetable garden. And if you don't have a yard, you can easily grow peas, tomatoes, herbs and other items in pots or window boxes. Kids love being involved in the garden -- from digging and planting to watering and harvesting. And what's great about gardening with kids is that if they are involved in growing the food, they are much more likely to eat it.

Eating right is important for emotional well-being

We also know that nutritious food is essential for kids to grow well, to develop strong bones and healthy teeth and to get the energy to play and learn. However, eating right is also important for emotional health. Children that start the day with an unhealthy breakfast are more likely to be tired, irritable and upset. Kids who eat well-balanced, nutritious meals, on the other hand, are more energetic, sociable and happy.

We all want our children to lead enjoyable lives. And while healthy decisions are not always instantly satisfying, those decisions will lead to both happiness and good health over the long-haul.

More about kids' health

Quiz: Are you teaching your kids healthy eating habits?
10 Healthiest foods your kids need to be eating
Healthy lunch ideas your kids will love

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