How fit is your family?  It’s time to take a closer look at your family’s eating habits, physical fitness, stress, and mental health.  Children aren’t likely to change their diets or activity habits on their own.  As parents, we can get involved.  One in three children are now considered overweight or obese in the United States and that number continues to rise. Creating simple, healthy habits will go a long way to helping your family embrace a healthy summer. Technology today is making us less healthy. Children sit and play too long on their video games. Even toddlers are being kept busy watching shows on ipads. It gets addicting for the children.  As parents we need to get our  children physically active. Studies show that just 30 minutes of exercise a day may help you live five years longer.  Make it your mission to work in some family fun workouts to your daily routine. Start off with something as simple as a daily after-supper stroll with the whole family, including the dog.  Walk to the park and shoot hoops, play kick ball, go ice skating,  jump rope, or play water games in the pool.  Have the family take a fitness class together.  Take them bowling; just get them moving. These days, technology is putting our health and the health of our children in danger. We must make the conscious effort to move. Heart disease, diabetes, joint and bone fragility and depression are a few risks of not exercising.  

As parents, we need to make it easy for our children to make healthy choices. Reduce the amount of junk food in the house.  

Make healthy snacks readily available.
Some examples are:

  • Small apple with single serve peanut butter
  • Piece of fresh fruit with a few nuts or low-fat cheese
  • One pack of low-fat string cheese
  • Baby carrots, celery, grape tomatoes, jicama or any portable veggies in a ziplock bag
  • Low-fat Greek style yogurt
  • Trail mix consisting of a mix of high-fiber cereal, nuts and dried fruit
  • Smoothie made with fruit, low-fat yogurt
  • Carrots, celery with hummus
  • Hard boiled egg
  • Individual unsweetened apple sauce with dry roasted walnuts

Make It A Group Effort

Whether it’s cutting back on cookies or tuning in less to TV, giving up your vices is easier when you take a group approach. Select one health-related area that you can improve upon as a family and work together to do just that. 

Do you tend to grab fast food over healthy meals just to save time? Then pick one night a week to create a nutritious dinner at home together. To make it more fun, let the kids  pick out the menu and help you with the preparation. With their assistance, you’ll get it done quicker. Plus, they’ll be so excited about their contribution to the dinner creation, they’ll gobble down even the healthiest stuff. 

Have Some Family Fun

Your family’s mental health is just as important as your physical fitness. You can keep your mental health in check by taking the time to hang out as a family and have a good time together. You might even learn that someone in the family is silently struggling with some issues. 

Turn off the TV, sit down over dinner or brunch on the weekends and chat about what’s going on in everyone’s world. Share funny stories. Make plans for upcoming holidays or events. Or, gather the gang for a night of your family’s favorite video or board games. Play parents against kids in Guitar Hero or Cranium and get ready to giggle the night away.

With technology and the craziness of life, it seems that life is flying by and we are not embracing the time with our family. Put away your phone and spend quality time with the people you love.  It is too easy to be checking your phone every few minutes. Then you’re not being in the moment with your family. This summer, let’s be proactive and pay attention where it really counts.

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