“I have a family now, there’s no time to exercise and eat right!”
Sound familiar? Unfortunately, I bet it does. This is the most common excuse I hear from people who’re out of shape. Not only is it completely lame; it’s worrisome.
Sure, kids change your life. But you mold theirs, and bringing kids up in a house where exercise and good nutrition take a back-burner to videogames and T.V. dinners will create unhealthy habits that’ll stick with your kids for the rest of their lives.
Childhood obesity is no joke. Kids with poor nutrition are more likely to:
– Do badly in school
– Develop diabetes, asthma, high-blood pressure and a slew of other health problems
– Have low self-esteem and, worst of all
– Die at a much earlier age than their health-conscious peers
Getting your family on the right diet and exercise track is the one of the most important things you can do as a parent. A family who’s healthy together, stays together. What steps can you take to kick your family out of an unhealthy routine? Here are five habits healthy families got into.
Steps To A Healthier, Happier Family
Rise and Shine
Sunday, Tuesday, Friday, Christmas Day—wake up at the same time and wake up together. Whether your kids are five or fifteen, getting into a habit of rising and shining synchronously will get your internal clocks ticking at a healthy rhythm.
I know it’s tempting to turn off your alarm on the weekend, but getting your body on a set sleep schedule seven days a week, 365 days a year, will give you more energy, mental stamina and lead to a longer life. Lead by example and get your kids on an eight-hour-a-night sleep pattern, rewarding them with a healthy, delicious family breakfast every morning.
Take Turns Choosing Meals
The kids want McDonalds, you’re dying for a burrito and your spouse is ready to settle for whatever leftovers are in the fridge. Families rarely agree on what’s for dinner, so stop trying and start delegating. Make some ground rules— no fast food, each meal has to have veggies, protein and grains, and eating out can only happen, say, once a week—and then draft up a “Meal Wheel” with everyone’s name on it.
Tuesday, little Johnny picks dinner. Wednesday, it’s your turn. Tomorrow your spouse is in charge and on Friday, Susie gets to map it out.
Getting the entire family involved in the decision-making process will make dinner more fun while putting health at the forefront.
Work It Out Together
Whether you plan to go hiking once a week or take a karate class as a family, you need to make exercise a group activity. A great way to build this habit is by getting the whole family up—like I suggested above—and going for a run (or walk) together every morning. Exercising in the morning is proven to reduce stress and increase energy, and it’ll start you off with a great feeling of togetherness every day.
Plan “Off” Days
Just because you’re getting your family’s health together doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it. Plan a night once a week when everyone gets to indulge. Maybe “Sundae Saturdays,” when you watch a movie as a family and prepare a healthy family movie night snack; or “Whatever Wednesdays,” when two hours of T.V. and a healthy (but indulgent) comfort food is acceptable.
Emotional well-being is an often ignored, yet crucially important, part of overall health. Getting your family in the routine of spending a little designated kick-back time together will bring you closer and make staying healthy that much more rewarding.
Walk And Talk
Open lines of communication between you, your spouse and your kids are the foundation of a healthy family dynamic. Having weekly, or even daily, catch-up sessions—where everyone gets to share their worries, gripes, accomplishments and silly jokes—is an excellent habit for any family. Why not turn it into an excellently healthy habit, and take a stroll while you and your loved ones bare your souls?
Give one of these ideas a whirl. Not thrilled with anything on the list above? Then let my suggestions inspire you to draft up your own healthy habit for you family. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it. You owe your family a healthy you, and your kids deserve a great health role model.