5 Ways to Get Healthy with Your Family

When we think of getting healthier, often our first thoughts go to squeezing in more workouts, finally getting into a weight-lifting routine, or just picking out better foods at the grocery store-not always the most fun options. But if you’ve got a family at home, it’s time to start thinking of good health as a team effort. There are lots of smart, fun ways to get healthy with your family. Here are a few of our favorites: 

Head outside together. The outdoors is a great place to make family memories. Teaching your kids how to enjoy the outdoors is a gift that can help them create healthy lives long after they leave the house. Kids remember trips to parks, family hikes and weekend adventures. But that regular time outside also helps shape how they feel about outdoor activity, and creates a normalcy to getting outdoors. The kids who bike, hike and are encouraged to find their favorite trail in the woods will become the adults who crave time outside and teach their own families how to enjoy it. 

Learn a new activity. Exercising as a family is a great way to put an emphasis on getting healthy. More than that, it can teach kids to be fearless about trying something new. Maybe you haven’t laced up running shoes in years, but don’t let that stop you from doing a family jog through the neighborhood. Showing kids you are willing to try something new – and letting them see it can be hard at first – is all part of teaching them to love exercise. So pick some things you can all do together. It might be biking around your town, taking an online cardio class, or even finally mastering the hula hoop.  

Do a reset for family mealtimes. Breakfast, lunch and dinnertime is not just about what foods parents are setting down in front of their children. Make mealtimes a family affair by bringing kids into the mix early: meal planning, shopping for groceries, heading to the farmer’s market and prepping meals can involve the whole family. These are all great opportunities to teach kids about healthy food choices. You can show them how to pick the freshest vegetables and fruits, or even how frozen vegetables and packaged foods like low-fat yogurt and hard cheeses can be healthy. At home, young children can help set the table, scoop food into bowls and do simple prep work. Older children and teens can decide on dinner, do the cooking, or even take over meal responsibility at least one night a week.  

Healthy habits in the kitchen. Lots of healthy lessons can be built around the foods you eat as a family. Here are some tips from the American Heart Association: 

  • Make chicken, fish, tofu or cooked beans your top protein choices. 
  • Focus on the good fats: Put canola, corn, olive safflower, sesame and sunflower oils on your good-for-you list.  
  • Keep bowls of fresh fruit within reach.  
  • Pre-chop fresh vegetables and keep them on hand in the refrigerator. 
  • Swap sparkling water or unsweetened iced tea for any sodas or sweetened juices. 
  • Save big desserts for a special occasion. Serve fresh fruit after meals instead. 

Create a sun-protection stash. Blue-sky days abound in Michigan, and there are always plenty of opportunities to head to the nearest park, beach or trail for a little downtime. But this year, vow to raise everyone’s sun-protection IQ. The easiest way to do this is to keep a bag in your vehicle that has a stash of ball caps or sun hats for everyone. Add in a couple containers of sunscreen lotion or spray with a high SPF, and some tubes of lip balm containing SPF.  

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Photo credit: Getty Images

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  1. Thanks, this is helpful. Need more outside activity, need to eat right and need to lose weight.

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