You want the best for your family, but any mention of diets or exercise plans is probably met with groans and protests. Unfortunately, our society has generally begun viewing diet and exercise negatively, and even as a punishment for overindulgence. This is the wrong mind-set, and it will not help your family become any healthier.
Instead, the most effective way to get the ball rolling is to make small changes, and to approach them with enthusiasm. Get the kids involved as much as possible as you take these four simple steps to introduce your family to a healthier lifestyle.
Mainly Shop the Perimeter of the Grocery Store
While it’s true that every store is a little bit different, for the most part, whole foods tend to be set up around the perimeter of the store, while processed, preserved, or refined foods are in the center aisles.
As much as possible, stick to the areas of the store that provide nutritious, natural choices, such as fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, and healthy grains. You can begin to make these changes gradually, for example try replacing one processed snack per day with fruits or vegetables. Or try having a fresh, abundant salad as your main course at dinner one night each week.
Make Simple Substitutions
Simple substitutions are great way to begin introducing your family to healthier choices. One of the easiest places to begin is by targeting sugary drinks. Sodas, juices, and energy drinks do not help us feel full, but they do add a significant number of calories to our diet. By replacing one or two sugary drinks with water each day, you may begin to see not only some weight loss, but more even energy levels throughout the day.
While drinking a glass of orange juice provides vitamin C and sometimes calcium, it also contains lots of excess sugar. On the other hand, eating an orange will deliver just as many vitamins, with less sugar, and more fiber to aid digestive health.
Consider this: a packaged blueberry muffin could be full of trans fats and preservatives, but muffins made at home with wheat flour and fresh blueberries will be much healthier, and will taste a lot better too.
Too often, we jump into our cars when it’s not strictly necessary to do so.
If you happen to live close to a convenience store, consider walking with the kids the next time you need to pick up an item or two. If you live close to a playground, why not walk there and back? After all, the point of going to a playground is to let the kids get some exercise.
Even if you don’t necessarily have a destination, incorporating some walking into your day can be tremendously beneficial. Begin with short strolls around the block, and gradually increase your distance as everyone’s strength and stamina improves.
Play (and Work Out) With Your Kids
If your family bristles at the mention of exercise, try presenting it to them in a different way. Maybe instead of lining everyone up on yoga mats, you can take them out back for a family game of frisbee. If the kids aren’t interested in jogging, maybe you could try hanging a basketball hoop over top of your garage, and challenging them to daily games.
Exercise doesn’t always have to take the form of concentrated, timed workouts. In fact, the more your kids begin to associate exercise with fun, the easier it will be to get everybody up and moving in healthy ways.
It can seem difficult to get your family interested in living a healthier lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be. Make these gradual changes, and your family will soon be enjoying a more healthy and active life without even realising it!