We all want our families to eat right and stay active, don’t we? The New Year is always a perfect time to set healthy living goals, but the truth is that any day is a perfect day to begin getting healthier. The bigger question is how, because without a plan of action, there will be no permanent change in lifestyle.
How do you and your family plan to be healthier? Here are some quick ideas to get you started:
– Plan an active vacation. The family that plays together, stays together! They get healthier too.
– Can’t take a vacation? Then plan regular active family day trips instead. This could mean hiking in a local park, ice skating, or playing a family game of basketball.
– Exercise together. Instead of going to the gym early in the morning or while the kids are in school, take one day a week to go for family run instead. If you run at different paces, just head to the nearest track so you can each run or walk at your own pace while always seeing one another.
– Make it a challenge. My kids and husband are always trying to “one up” each other, so make a series of family challenges for push-ups, squats, and so on. Set it up so that each person is trying to exceed their own best numbers so that nobody gets discouraged.
– Make a family meal plan together. Let everyone add suggestions of healthy foods that they would like on the dinner table.
– Cook together. Sometimes it is easier to demonstrate to kids how meals can quickly go from healthy to unhealthy by adding the wrong ingredients. Look up some healthy recipes together. (Stonyfield has some great recipes on their site.) Give them an appreciation for food, which should help them take more time to enjoy their meals.
– Join a CSA. This was a great help for my kids. When I had a chance to take them to the farm so they could really see where their food comes from, it was instrumental in their caring more about what they put in their bodies.
– If you can’t join a CSA or don’t have one local to you, plant an organic garden. With a little more work, you can reap the same rewards.
Now that your wheels are turning with ideas, how will you go about maintaining this newer, healthier, lifestyle? Here are a few tips:
– Start small. Make one change at a time. You are more likely to make it to your ultimate goal of being a healthier family by not making too drastic of a change at once. Start by switching to organic and GMO-free brands and produce. If you have done that already, goof for you! You can also begin by replacing sugary drinks with water. That one small change will make an enormous difference in the over all health of your family. Once your crew is used to drinking water, move on to the next idea.
– Put it on the calendar. Blocking out the time or writing it down is making a commitment to it. Plan family cooking nights ahead of time. Write down those family fitness days too so that nobody schedules something else during your healthy family time.
– Make a promise to not jump ship after one bad day. We all have a bad day now and then. We are human, after all. When the sun rises the following morning, focus on your long term goals and steer back towards the path you were on.
– Celebrate successes, but do so without food. This is a trap that my family has fallen into, and I think it is a common issue. (Our culture celebrates occasions and successes with food, and that has contributed to a lot of unhealthy families.) If you suddenly realize that you can now do 20 more pushups than you could at the beginning of the month, relish that accomplishment! Just find a way to do it that does not involve cake, ice cream, or other traditionally celebratory foods.
– However, with that said, watch out for deprivation. This is for me, the most important tip. Getting healthier is a fantastic goal, but if it’s done while depriving kids of what I call “kid food,” chances are that they might binge on those items while at school or a friend’s house. Focus more on making good overall choices and understanding balance.
Because overall health and wellness has become a passion of mine, and because my oldest son is extremely passionate about it too, we tend to be a fairly healthy family. However, we have had lots to celebrate lately with my son’s health at a place we had never thought possible. It was also the holiday season, which as we all know is a time when treats are served in abundance. We have been celebrating all that joy with food – too much food.
To get us back on the right track, this week I started by going through the fridge, freezer and pantry, getting rid of the unnecessary junk. Instead, I replaced them with healthier options and baked homemade treats that are gluten-free and lower in sugar while still tasting delicious.
Next up on my list for the coming months is to do a better job of meal planning. Not only will this get us healthier, but it could save tons of money too, as my friend Kelly from The Centsible Life recently demonstrated in this post. Two great reasons to give meal planning a try!
What are your health and fitness goals for the coming months? How will YOU achieve those goals?
Disclosure: I am proud to be a paid ambassador for Stonyfield Organic. All views expressed in this post are purely my own. To learn more about Stonyfield’s passion for great-tasting, organic products, go to http://stonyfield.com. You can also find them on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.