Building Healthy Family Habits

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All parents want healthy children, but with demands on time and energy, it’s easy to fall into bad habits – eating fast food while watching TV and getting very little exercise.

Considering the alarming rise in child obesity, a healthy family lifestyle is more important than ever. Take the time to teach your child about the importance of nutrition and exercise. Better yet, make the changes necessary to improve the overall health of the whole family.

  • Healthy Eating. Stock up on healthy foods, since most kids eat what’s available at home. Have a variety of fruits and vegetables on hand, and be a role model for your children by eating and enjoying these foods yourself. Substitute fatty foods with lean meats, whole grains and healthy snacks such as low-fat yogurt and peanut butter and celery.
  • Make meals together. Kids are more likely to try new, healthy foods if they have a hand in cooking the meals. Involve your children in the entire process of making a meal, starting by allowing them to choose a recipe from a cookbook. Talk to them about the importance of making choices and planning a balanced meal.
  • Eat meals together. Eating meals together as a family lead to healthier food choices for children, as well as decreased risk of kids smoking, using marijuana or drinking alcohol. Dinner is not the only time families can eat together – consider Sunday breakfasts or summer lunches. Turn off distractions such as TV and cell phones so you can have conversations.
  • Bedtime. Make sure everyone gets enough sleep. Kids who have had plenty of sleep are happier. Commit to a bedtime and begin rituals leading up to it, such as a bath and reading a story together.
  • Exercise together. Kids should get at least an hour of exercise each day –  and it doesn’t hurt parents to indulge in some physical activity too. Some ideas for fun exercise include turning on music the whole family enjoys and dancing around the house together or heading to the park after dinner for a family walk. Another way to get exercise as a family is to play sports together. A family game of softball, rollerblading or kicking around a soccer ball gets everyone’s heart rate up while having a good time.

Need a physician or specialist? Our Baptist Health Physician Referral Service can help you find a physician near you. Go to baptisthealth.com for more information.