The Y. For A Better Us.
Improving your family’s health isn’t easy, but with the increase in childhood obesity, an active and healthy lifestyle is important for not only maintaining a healthy weight, but also preventing issues such as diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and high blood pressure. You don’t have to completely overhaul your family’s diet and exercise routines and become an intense, fit family, but you can improve the overall quality of life and health by making these simple changes.
Make simple healthy changes
There are many little changes you can do to make a big difference in your children’s eating habits. Do they eat breakfast every morning? If your family doesn’t really do breakfast because they value sleeping in or mornings are just too busy as it is, make it easy for them! Cut up fruit and have it ready to go in containers so they can just grab one, add a healthy bar, and head out the door.
Another easy change to make is to swap your family’s staple foods for healthier options. If you love taco nights, use corn instead of flour tortillas. If pasta is a frequent dish in your house, swap your normal pasta out for whole grain pasta. Once it’s mixed with sauce, you can’t taste the difference!
Get creative with cooking
Getting your kids to eat vegetables is one of the most common struggles among parents. It’s time to get creative with it! Take a trip to the grocery store with your kids and buy a vegetable you’ve never tried before. Then, find a healthy recipe that includes that vegetable and have a fun night of cooking the meal together. Having a part in making dinner will make your kids more open to trying new things and excited to eat the meal they made.
You can also incorporate healthy foods that your family once didn’t like and give them a second chance. Tastes change and evolve all the time, so try preparing foods that you and your family originally didn’t like in a different way, such as sautéing or baking it instead of eating it raw. Introducing foods in a new way can create a newfound love for a healthy food that you would have otherwise been ignoring.
Cut back on screen time
Unplugging from electronics a little bit can have many benefits for your family, especially improving sleep and behavior with one another. Work towards eliminating electronic screens from all bedrooms, including televisions and phones. This will help your family go to bed easier and sleep better. Set limits around electronics, such as no phones at the dinner table or only a certain amount of time watching TV per day. This allows your family to connect with each other over dinner conversations and finding other activities to do, such as board games.
Eliminate unhealthy options
It’s a lot easier to make unhealthy choices when they are easy options. Make sure your kitchen is stocked with healthy snacks and get rid of things like chips, candy, and other items high in sugar or salt. That way, when your children get hungry and reach for a snack, they don’t have the option to gorge on unhealthy foods.
Make exercise a family affair
Working out doesn’t have to mean going to the gym for an hour a day, lifting weights and doing the cardio machines. Make exercise a fun activity to do with your family! Catch up on each other’s days with a walk after dinner. Make a Saturday morning tradition of going on a bike ride to the local coffee or bagel shop. Get a little competitive with a 2-on-2 basketball game at the park. By incorporating exercise into family bonding time, you will make it a fun activity that your family looks forward to, instead of working out being a chore that everyone dreads.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, and you don’t need to completely eliminate anything unhealthy to get your family on track. Making simple changes to your daily habits can make your family overall healthier and happier. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati is committed to helping your family incorporate healthy and wellness into your everyday life, so check us out today to learn more about our group fitness classes, healthy living programs, and activities for the whole family.