My theory is: start the kids young with healthy habits, and hopefully they will have them for life. I try to model healthy behavior, but these days I think I should be following their lead — or at least trying to live by the healthy rules I try to make part of my daughters' daily lives. Here are five habits I have taught (and now hope to share with) my girls.
Raw Cake Batter Is Not Food
When the girls and I bake, I am a stickler on the "no raw batter" rule. I fear salmonella will wreak havoc on their immature immune systems. With my own "mature" system, I throw caution to the wind and save the beaters, bowl, and spatula all for myself, sneaking these tastes of raw dough and batter when cleaning up the kitchen solo. Generally, I give myself a belly ache by ignoring this rule. Maybe the solution will be to involve my girls in the cleanup so I am not left alone with the temptation. Seems like a win-win to me.
Brush For a Full Two Minutes
Dentists recommend brushing for at least two minutes, followed by flossing, but I know I often shortchange my teeth. My daughters use little two-minute timers so they can't cheat on dental hygiene. The Sonicare electric toothbrush may have a built-in timer, but my internal one is off.
Sugar Is Not an Everyday Thing
I keep the sweets to a minimum at my house; we generally don't have dessert after dinner unless it's fruit. Borrowing a tactic straight from the first lady's  playbook, I have been known to respond to the question "Can I have pie?" with "Didn't you have pie last night?" To help keep my own consumption down on the baked goods we make together, since my willpower is not the strongest and I have no trouble reaching the cookie jar, I try to share the leftovers with neighbors.
Respect Your Bedtime
My daughters function better the more they sleep — pretty obvious, right? There's just a little reading in bed after brushing teeth, for two minutes of course. I know that I function better on eight and a half hours of sleep, but many a night, I push myself past my healthy bedtime. A good book can keep me turning the pages well into the wee hours. Creating a bedtime routine for myself should do the trick. I just also have to self-police.
Limit Screen Time
I like to tell my girls that TV will rot their brains, which may be going a little bit overboard, but I have worked to keep their screen time down. Maybe this is why they were always stoked to watch any televised coverage of bike racing? They do watch movies occasionally, and on a plane, forget about it: DVDs are my savior. Unfortunately, once they're tucked into bed, the TV comes on for me and I end up feeling like I've wasted an evening. The Mayo Clinic Diet  recommends limiting television time to the amount of time you have exercised that day. This rule may not be as strict as the TV rule I use for my girls, but I'm going to try it.