#1: Get Moving
The easiest way to get healthy as a family is to simply get moving. Instead of sitting around the television after dinner every night, make that time healthy family time. It doesn’t matter where you live or what the weather is like, there are plenty of ways to get moving as a family both indoors and out. If you live in a climate that is simply too chilly to head outside after dinner, consider making a list of activities that you family can do indoors. Some examples include; yoga, dancing, zumba, jumping rope, or simple circuit training moves such as jumping jacks, sit-ups, running in place, and push-ups. If you live in a climate that is warmer, your options are much easier – take a family walk, run, jog, bicycle ride or play a game of tag.
#2: Get Organized
It can be overwhelming to come home from a long day at work and then try to figure out what to make for dinner. This can easily turn into making bad choices for family meals. Don’t fall into the fast food, out-of-the-box dinner. Instead, get organized and plan your menu ahead of time. Start by stocking your pantry and refrigerator full of whole foods and staples. Then, create a weekly menu based on those ingredients. It is a good idea to cook ahead of time and freeze meals for the during the week, this can be done on your day off or the weekend. Another option is to split the cooking duty with your spouse or older children, this takes the cooking pressure off of one individual in the family.
Image © Ken Roberts Photography
#3: Remove the Temptations
If your family is full of snackers, remove all of the temptation foods that are unhealthy and replace them with healthy alternatives. There are plenty of fantastic healthy snacking options available for your family. Set up a snack bar inside of your refrigerator that holds carrot, celery and cheese sticks, grapes, orange wedges, yogurt, hummus and any other snacking items that your family will enjoy. Put the snack bar at eye level so it is the first thing that your little ones see when they open the door. If you make healthy foods as simple and convenient as traditional snacks, your children will gravitate toward them.
#4: Take the Stairs
If your grocery store is nearby, why not ride your bicycles instead of taking the car? When you need to run errands that are further away, park as far away from the front door as possible and walk the rest of the distance. When you are in a building with an elevator, take the stairs. The more time that you spend walking, biking or simply moving, the healthier your family will become in the long run.
#5: Schedule Media Time
In this day and age of iEverything’s, it can be hard to motivate your child to walk away from the screen. A good idea is to limit the amount of time that both you and your children are allowed to spend on media everyday. The rule in our home is that media is not allowed during the school week (for my son)- between school, chores, homework, extra-curricular activities, and family time, there just simply is not enough time leftover for media. And that as adults we are not allowed media time, once the little guy is home from school. On the weekends, media time is also limited to a set amount of minutes per day. It can be too easy for you or your children to end up spending hours and hours in front the screen if the time is not scheduled and monitored. This time could be spend together as a family, which is the point.
#6: Eat Together as a Family
When it comes to time spent together, the family dinner is sacred. If there is one healthy family resolution that you should definitely make and keep this year, it is eating together as a family. It the perfect time to reconnect with your family after a long day at work and school. It is like having a captive audience when it comes to your children, and making family dinner part of your routine will strengthen your family bond. Studies show that child who grow up having dinner with their family every night, lead healthier, happier, longer lives too.
#7: Pack it to Go
A great way to make sure your family is getting healthy is to make sure that everyone packs their lunch, reusable bottles and snacks for school and work each day. If anyone is your family is eating fast-food or grabbing a snack from the vending machine, this is the year to stop that bad habit. Not only is it healthier to pack your own lunch and snacks (as long as you are packing healthy options) it is much better on the environment and your family budget.
What ways will your family get healthy in 2013?
Lead Image © volantra