A healthy lifestyle should be enjoyed by all; therefore, I want to encourage you to try a few of these ways to make healthy living a family affair! It shouldn’t be only up to mom or dad to try and force family members to eat healthy and exercise; instead, it should be a family effort. Allow everyone to participate by bringing their healthy living ideas to the table and discuss what would work best for the family. To go along with that, here are 7 ways to make healthy living a family affair!
1. Keep a Well-stocked Pantry
One of the first ways to make healthy living a family affair is to keep the house stocked with healthy foods. As the parent or caretaker of the family, it is up to you to keep a well-stocked pantry. By keeping everyone’s favorite healthy foods on hand, they won’t even miss the unhealthy ones that were left at the store. Keep a fruit bowl on the counter, chopped veggies at eye level in the refrigerator and whole grain snacks and unsalted nuts in the pantry so that when hunger strikes, a healthy snack is only an arm’s reach away!
2. Keep Unhealthy Foods out
Along with keeping a well-stocked pantry and fridge, it’s equally important to keep the junk food out of the house. In today’s society there is junk food everywhere, so do your entire family a favor and keep it out of the house. This way, when they are hungry for a meal or a snack, the temptation of sweets doesn’t overrule their need for fruits, veggies, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins!
3. Avoid Fast Food
The easiest way to make healthy living a family affair is to keep fast food out of the family’s diet. Take a little bit of time at the start of the week to prep and plan a few meals and that way you won’t rely on fast food when the week gets busy. Fast food provides extra calories, unhealthy fat and sugar with very little nutrition involved. Let everyone get busy in the kitchen and make healthy cooking a family affair too!
4. Teach Your Kids through Demonstration
As a parent, one of the best things that you can do regarding living a healthy lifestyle is to teach your kids through demonstration. Don’t just tell your kids that they should eat their vegetables, be an example and eat yours! Children tend to grow up and do the things that their parents did while they were raising them. Show you child that a healthy lifestyle is fun, exciting, tasty and rewarding!
5. Make Recipe Modifications
Another easy way to make healthy eating a family affair is to make recipe modifications. By substituting unhealthy ingredients for healthier options, your family will learn to love healthy foods. This way, no one has to give up their favorite dishes; instead, they can just prepare them differently! I like to do this in my family by making panko crusted baked chicken instead of fried chicken, using Greek yogurt in place of sour cream, making whole grain pasta for spaghetti instead of white pasta, etc. My entire family now loves these healthier substitutions!
6. Enjoy Family Meals
Along with being a positive healthy living role model, it is also important to teach your family the value of sitting down at the dinner table together. Research suggests that families that eat at least one meal together per day have lower rates of obesity, lower rates of negative body image, have a better relationship with food, do better in school and more. Make it a point to sit down at the dinner table as often as you can (preferably at least once a day) and enjoy a family meal together. Use this time to talk about the day, encourage one another and build a strong family bond.
7. Get Active
Another fun way to help your family live a healthy life is to get active, together! Play games in the front yard, go on a family walk after dinner, go swimming or take a class together – all of these things can be fun for the entire family and provide quality bonding time too! If you are the caretaker in the house, limit the amount of TV and computer time and encourage that everyone get active instead!
A healthy lifestyle can be enjoyed by each of your family members if you all work together to help one another make the best decisions every day! Each person should play a part in encouraging one another when negativity might arise. Does your family live a healthy lifestyle or are you (or someone else) the one that’s always trying to get everyone to eat healthy and active?