How To Keep Your Family Healthy
In a world where time is a commodity its hard to keep your family healthy. We look at 12 practical ways you can keep your family healthy and not go crazy. Life is demanding and its important to protect and nourish what’s meaningful, your relationship, your health and your family.
Breakfast is an important family meal especially for growing children. Our bodies need fuel and after resting during the night your body needs a fresh start. For those who skip breakfast the result is generally unhealthier decisions later in the morning including larger portion sizes. Try different options like, oats, mixed fruit and yogurt, scrambled eggs with whole wheat toast.
Kill Soda Drinks
We know sports drinks and soda drinks provide us with little nutritional value and a lot of sugar. Evidence is now mounting to the disastrous effects refined sugar can have on our bodies including links to cancers, diabetes and tooth decay in children. This is the single most effective way to keep your family healthy. Try flavored waters, teas and the most effective thirst quencher of all, water.
Exercise 10 Mins
10 minutes, 10 minutes won’t do anything? You need to start somewhere and 10 minutes of exercise that gets your heart pumping is a great start. 10 minutes allows you to build up to a more beneficial 30 minutes at a steady pace. Starting small also increases the chances of making this a lasting habit. See our article how to exercise, even if you don’t like exercise. Don’t forget you can also get the family involved, a day out also counts as a healthy activity.
Talk To Each Other
Mom and dad spend most of their time managing all of life’s complications and chores. Whilst most articles you read tout the benefits of a healthy sex life, simply talking to each other often gets passed over. Simply asking how your day was and listening to each other is an important step in maintaining trust, confidence and support. Life isn’t always fun and games, being able to talk to each other will help you both weather most storms together.
We all know stress has a huge impact on our physical health and reducing stress is easier said than done. Start off by simply identifying what makes you stressed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, if you find that you need 30 minutes to de-stress after work discuss this with your partner and work out a plan. Meditation, mindfulness and the sound of water are all proven ways to relax and de-stress. Taking slow deep breaths and releasing the air slowly through your nose is another effective technique. Whatever is causing you stress, discuss it (see above) and make a plan to reduce it.
They call it beauty sleep for a reason, sleep keeps you young. Most Americans get less than seven hours of sleep which can cause health problems. A healthy routine is also important for your children, a story before bed or a bath can help to establish a calm night routine. Having the kids in bed also helps you have time together, to talk, to bond and to sleep.
Eat Meals Together
The benefits of eating together are not only the obvious nutritional ones but more importantly the social ones. You and your family have the opportunity to open up and discuss the day, the stresses, problems and the great or bad things that happened. Creating an environment where your children can talk to you, even if they don’t, ensures a foundation of trust. Meal time is your families time, the rest of the world goes quiet and a family that eats together, bonds together. Keep technology away and keep topics light and fun.
Be A Role Parent
Mom often gets the rap for being the tough one, the one that gives out and has to “be the mom”. Whether its mom or dad one of you need to be the role parent, or both. This means when it comes to family nutrition and shopping it’s not a democracy, food decisions are tough but having one person make those tough decisions is important. Remember if kids are hungry enough they will eat healthy fruits and nuts, buy them and lead by example. If you are responsible for your shopping in the household ultimately you are responsible for what your family eat too, buy healthy, eat healthy.
Exercise 20 Mins
Building on the 10 minutes of exercise you should look to continue to 20 minutes and then onto 30 minutes. 30 minutes of exercise a day no matter how unfit or overweight you are, has huge health benefits for physical and mental health. Exercise isn’t always about the gym too, try gardening, cycling as a family, walking the dog, walking to work, hiking, weekend exploring trips. Fitness is something that you should aim to incorporate as a healthy daily routine that you enjoy. Not one you dread and fear.
Every household faces the same problem, days you’re tired and not in the mood to cook. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering in or dining out. This is expensive and should really be a treat not a habit. Try to automate your kitchen by planning in advance and building up a stock pile of food in the freezer. Don’t try and do this all in the one weekend. Make a large batch of soup one weekend then the next weekend something else, gradually build up for those times when you want a quick, simple healthy meal.
Accountability works both ways, encourage your children to “call you out” on unhealthy decisions. If you lead by example, but are in this together, you will notice your children being much more involved, which makes it easier to keep your family healthy. And this is a great thing, you shouldn’t be petty, but you should be able to talk to each other and support each other too. We all make mistakes and its best to make fun of them and move on. Gradually healthy decisions become instinct and you won’t even need to think about them.
It sounds easy, like one of those throw away comments the doctor makes “eat less, exercise more” but eating well improves more than just your diet. By eating well, you educate your children on what’s important in life, you improve your mood and that of your family. You reduce your family’s changes of illness and boost immunity and development. You spend more time together and enjoy a common good, food. The Mediterranean diet is often touted as being a top diet, which it is. What newer studies have found, is the bond created around food, the cooking, talking, laughing and coming together is as powerful as the food itself. Eat well, laugh lots and live long.
Where To Next
If you are only starting out, have a look at our FREE online programs below. We can help you with support, advice and knowledge helping you eat, cook and live healthier. No nonsense diets, just healthy living! Give us a try.