When it comes to healthy eating and exercise, one of the secrets to the success is getting the whole family on board. When everyone is working towards being a healthier family, you are more likely to stay on track and enjoy the journey. You grow towards a shared notion of wellbeing and health and, you know what they say, the healthiest people are those who have relationships with other healthy people.
How many times have you tried to stick to a program but the demands of running a family have undermined your efforts?
If you’re not a star pupil at self-motivation then simple hurdles such as your kid’s cookie jar, the husband’s lack of interest in fruit and vegetables or a lack of time to (apparently) fit in a workout can be enough to fall off the wagon.
That’s why it’s in your best interest to have everyone in the family in sync, working towards better health with the same goals and attitude. Instead of just you working towards becoming a ‘better version of yourself’, why not include the whole family?
10 easy changes for a healthier family
1. Choose sports everyone in the family loves
Is it a water sport, a ball game, cycling, running or even abseiling?
2. Get it done early
As the day creeps on so do missed opportunities to find time to exercise. Tag-team alternate mornings with your husband so you can exercise and model a positive attitude towards fitness for your kids.
3. Change your family favourite meals into healthier versions
You know the ones I mean … choose unprocessed meat cuts, reduce the trans fats, bulk up meals with vegetables – there are heaps of superb ideas out there!
- Roasted chicken dukkah balls with quinoa salad
- fast, healthy family meals for chaotic days
- gluten free banana muffins
4. Don’t go cold turkey, make small modifications
You’ll only find yourself frustrated and unmotivated to you aim too high at first; choose do-able goals that you can break down into achievable weekly goals. Start with things like drinking more water instead of soft drink or juice. Having one meat-free meal a week. Choosing wholemeal bread instead of white …
5. Don’t think to much … you will talk yourself out of it
There are no bad consequences to healthier living, just you and the magic you create! Don’t make it a chore or over-think it – just do it.
6. Consistently encourage each other and be interested in health and fitness in general
This is a key factor. It’s no good having a ‘bad egg’ in the house. Encourage each other with words and actions to make it a choose or lose situation. Emphasise that you are all in this together and that this is the way your family lives now. It won’t take long for everyone to become used to the changes you make.
7. Find healthy snacks for work or school that you can make together
Make up a scrapbook of healthy recipes you find in the newspaper or online and keep them so you never run out of ideas! Make snacks in bulk and package them up in portion sizes so you are not tempted to over-indulge. Ensure that snacks are an integral part of your family’s overall daily nutrition – not an add-on that doesn’t support your quest for good health.
8. Make a pact: drink water during the week and juice and fizzy drinks are a weekend-only treat
Treat yourselves on the weekend for doing such a great job during the week, if this is something that you feel is a rewarding goal. Keep water cool in the fridge in 500ml bottles that are labelled with each family member’s name. This way it’s an easy choice to grab and everyone can keep track of how much they are drinking.
9. Cut back on daily dessert and swap to a healthier fruit option
Instead of saying ‘I won’t get to eat dessert every night any more’, focus on the positive and say something like, ‘I will eat fruit 2-3 nights a week for dessert’. Sometimes focusing on what you can’t have means you miss out on the joy of what you can have.
10. Be aware of the family’s takeaway habits
I’m talking about work lunches, school tuckshop and quick-fix dinners. Being organised with a healthy meal plan can minimise a large amount of hidden fats and sugars found in takeaways and processed foods. Make sure you plan your meals each week and stick to it.
Allow yourself time to change. Quite often you find yourself trying to modify habits that your family has had for years, so be patient. If you consistently make small changes towards your long-term goal, you will eventually get there. Remember to give your family time to get used to one change before introducing another. Good luck!
How do you rate your family’s overall health?
If this post seems familiar that’s because it appeared on Kidspot first 😉