When you think about what you really want for your family, success may come to mind, or love…but the foundation for all that starts with health. As the saying goes, good habits start at home, and one of the best ways to get your family happy and successful includes getting them healthy through good nutrition and overall wellness.
- Keep it positive. Whether adult or child, when eating right becomes a chore, nobody wants to do it. Instead of saying, “Don’t do X,” make it “Let’s do Y.” Make a little home garden (even if it’s in a pot) to encourage kids to try different vegetables they grew themselves. Walk the dog after dinner or choose a fun activity to get everyone moving. Celebrate successes and ask for ideas for the next fun (and healthy) activity to do together.
- Act as a role model. If you’re a parent, you know kids imitate what they see, even unconsciously. If they see you eating poorly, not exercising and burying your face in a screen, they’ll think of that as the norm and make your habits theirs. So, when you eat, make sure to have plenty of lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains on your plate, and drink lots of water so they’ll emulate what they see. If you have an exercise routine, see if you can encourage your kids to do it with you (e.g., you run while they bike, you have “your” sport and they have “theirs”).
- Do it together. When you begin healthy habits, discuss them as a family. When you lay down the law, kids (and other adults) will balk. So, form a plan together: Look around your area and see where it might be fun to take a walk or a hike–and bring along a picnic lunch for a healthy meal. Find recipes you can cook together. Ask the kids what they’d like to do…then do it. Talk about frustrations, failures and successes, and you’ll get healthier together and have a great influence on each other.
Healthy habits keep a family well and connecting together–and make for more family togetherness in the long run. So, take some of these suggestions to get them thinking and moving in the best direction.