All parents want what is best for their children, but sometimes that means recognizing patterns of unhealthy behavior. Inactivity, poor eating habits and not enough outdoor time can all contribute to early and ongoing health problems, but it’s never too late to change. With some planning, some role modelling and the right mix of fun and fitness, your whole family can start its way on the path to health.
This article will look at physical health according to the two most important factors – diet and exercise – and talk a bit about how to maintain a healthy lifestyle for you and your family, kids included. It’s not enough to rely on your kid’s school to make sure they get sufficient exercise and the right diet. Raising healthy children starts at home.
Leading By Example
Actions speak louder than words. Your children won’t have much motivation to stay active and eat healthily if you are acting to the contrary. The first and most important rule of maintaining a healthy home, therefore, is leading by example. If you want your kids to pick their heads up from their screens and get outside, that means you have to as well! If you want your kids to eat balanced meals complete with lots of veggies, you have to eat that as well.
Getting healthy as a family is also a way of turning health into a common goal, where everyone can offer each other support. That way, health isn’t so much an order you are handing down, but rather a family-wide policy you are hoping to enforce.
One half of a healthy lifestyle is diet. You don’t have to scrutinize absolutely everything you eat and drink, and your family can still leave room for a little fun (i.e. don’t go removing the birthday cake from birthdays!), but a more considerate approach to diet is always recommended. Here are a few ways you can improve your family diet:
- Eat in more often – food from restaurants and takeout places tends to be higher in calories, which added sugar and fats.
- Keep it fun – you can still do “taco night” or “pizza night”, but try doing it with lean meats (or no meat), homemade seasoning packets, whole wheat pizza dough, and plenty of accompanying fresh veggies.
- Limit Portion Sizes – some meals are just naturally calorically dense, in which case cutting down on portion size is recommended.
The other half of the health equation is exercise, but how do you promote a fit and fun lifestyle that works for the whole family? Think about outdoor activities that the whole family can enjoy, and that don’t sacrifice fun for health:
- A Trampoline – this is one of the best ways a family can stay in shape, and kids love it; find the best trampoline for your family and turn bouncing into an evening tradition.
- Nature walks – use the weekend to get outside and take in some fresh air. Find a trail near you and pack healthy (but yummy) snacks for the trek.
- Sports – encourage your kids to get interested in sports, whether it’s team sports, solo sports, gymnastics, etc. This is a great way for kids to choose their interests and get some exercise.
Leading by example, eating well as a family and exercising together – these are sure fire ways you can improve your family’s overall health. With the world becoming increasingly automated, now is the time to tackle the issue of health – for yourself, for your kids and for the future.