5 Ways to Get Your Family on a Healthy Road

If you asked most people what the two most important things in their life are, they would probably say it’s family and health. But sometimes, reconciling the two is easier said than done. Life is getting faster and faster – we are torn between work, school, afterschool activities and social life. Add internet and TV to the mix, and the whole concoction doesn’t exactly bode well for the health of the family. Here are some tips on how to actively choose and create a healthier lifestyle for your loved ones.

An active lifestyle

For a start, cut into your kids’ sedentary time by limiting screen time. The obesity epidemic that is plaguing our children is caused in part by an unhealthy diet, but also by their lack of physical exercise. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, children should have at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. This hour should be filled up mostly with aerobic activity (cardio), but also to some extent with bone-strengthening exercises like jumping, and muscle strengthening activities like gymnastics. To prevent injuries, make sure you and your kids have the proper gear, like comfortable New Balance shoes, appropriate clothes, and even helmets and pads, if they will be engaging in riskier sports.

A wholesome diet

A wholesome diet is the foundation stone of your family’s wellbeing. Unfortunately, at the moment the world seems to be failing in setting a solid foundation for children. A staggering fifth of our kids are obese nowadays, the numbers having tripled since the 1970s. The biggest fault probably lies in the average diet which is based on too much processed foods, and contains scary amounts of sugar, fat, and sodium. Kids’ diet should be based on whole grains, protein from lean meats, fish, eggs and dairy, fresh, dried and cooked fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of healthy fats (found in olive oil, avocado, nuts and salmon, for example). Kids should have 5 meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner and two snacks), with limited portion size, and created in a way that balances the necessary nutrients.

But how do you get them to eat it?

Kids (and sometimes husbands too) often seem put off by food as soon as they hear the word “healthy”. It’s like they equate nutritiousness with blandness. To get them to eat a healthier diet, you need to resort to a few tricks. First of all, stock up your fridge and pantry with plenty of healthy options and get rid of all those processed excuses for food. Lead by example. If your kids see you devouring chocolate and chips, while you offer them veggies and hummus, of course they won’t be impressed. Kids need some time to get used to new tastes, so don’t give up the first time they say they don’t like something. And finally, trick them if necessary. There are tons of delicious recipes with hidden fruits and veggies, for instance, chocolate zucchini cake.

Healthier vacations

Even when it comes to vacations, we can and should do better. Vacations for the whole family should be filled with excitement, and provide some much needed physical activity. Road trips are particularly good for families, as the long hours in the car can prove to be an excellent bonding experience. Some planning can go a long way in keeping the trip enjoyable. Make frequent stops for rest and refreshments, preferably somewhere in the nature, and keep your fridge stocked with fruits, veggies and other nutritious snacks. When it comes to your destination, choose places where your children can explore the natural world – forests, national parks, lakes and the ocean. Allow them plenty of time for swimming, hiking and cycling. Time spent in the fresh air being physically active can do wonders for their development.

Living a better, healthier lifestyle is not a thing that changes overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, planning, organization, effort, explaining and coaxing to set your family on the right road. However, you will be setting the foundations of the way your kids live and approach their wellbeing for the rest of their lives, and there is no worthier goal. If you choose one crusade in your family life, this should definitely be it.