With today’s busy society, raising a family can be challenging. However, with small steps and little organization, building healthy habits from an early age can become part of your family tradition. Since kids often learn best by example, here is a list of healthy habits to practice with your family.
- Eat together as a family as much as possible. It gives you the opportunity to spend quality time together and helps you pay attention what your family is eating. Try to aim for one meal together every day, and you can even get the kids involved with meal prep. This would allow the family to participate in cooking, meal planning and might even reduce problems with picky eaters.
- Exercise every day!This can be as easy as cleaning the house, going for a walk, or playing a game of basketball. The goal is to get from 30 to 60 minutes of exercise each day. You can split the time as necessary: 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes on a quick lunch walk, and 10 minutes after dinner. Make it a fun activity for the whole family.
- Drink water. This might be the easiest habit to pick up and can have a great impact. Many times we forget the importance of keeping our body hydrated, but water helps to improve our energy, build up our immune system, and maintain a healthy digestive system. Start by replacing one of your sugary beverages with a bottle of water.
- Model healthy eating. Kids are more likely to follow by example. If they see their parents or caregivers buy, prepare, and eat healthy meals, they will follow suit. Start by “being picky” or selective in the junk food you buy and limit treats to one to two a week.
- Set rules for screen time. Set a limit for time spent on electronics. This can include TV, video games, and cellphones. Screen time can lead to overeating as you are not paying attention to your hunger cues and it can take away from quality family time.
- Make a schedule. If you are having a hard time finding time for any of the things listed above, start by choosing one. Change can be overwhelming. Start by focusing on one thing at a time and work your way up. As we say in our program, every little step counts. Give it a try!
By: Elva Hooker, Certified Diabetes Educator at St. Vincent de Paul Family Wellness Program
Elva Hooker Elva Hooker is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator at St. Vincent de Paul Family Wellness Program. She is a native Arizonian and a graduate from Arizona State University. As the Family Wellness Program Director her focus has been in diabetes prevention and management education that empowers individuals and families in their health.