GET THE KIDS INVOLVED
Some days, it just feels easier to grab a couple of cookies or a handful of chips for the kids for a snack or to accompany a sandwich for lunch. You should set a goal to reduce the processed foods your family consumes. The best way to do this is to stock your fridge with healthy foods, like apples, bananas, berries, fresh vegetables, hummus, cottage cheese and low sugar greek yogurt. Make sure your fruit basket is out on the counter and visible - when kids see the fruit basket out, they will be more likely to want to grab a piece of delicious fruit versus an unhealthy option.
Another way to get your family involved is to include them in your weekly meal planning. Let your kids flip through the cookbooks or look for healthy recipes on Pinterest. It is also so important to plan ahead and make a list before you go grocery shopping. Make a list of the ingredients you need and try to shop the outer perimeter of the store, where all the healthy options are found. You can even have your kids help you prepare meals. Find age appropriate tasks they can do in the kitchen.
If your children need to bring a packed lunch to school, let them be involved in packing. Some kids prefer a mixture of snacks and fruit versus the typical hot lunch offered at school. Get a fun reusable lunch container at the beginning of the school year complete with a reusable water bottle. And don't forget about the ice pack to keep items cool. Yogurt, string cheese, whole wheat pitas, veggies with hummus, fruit, unsweetened applesauce, and hard boiled eggs are just a few healthy options for your children's' lunchboxes. Check out Pinterest for many more healthy and fun ideas. Be enthusiastic and let your kids help pack their lunches every evening for the next school day. Before long, they will be making suggestions for what you can pack in your own lunch!
Finally, it's a great lesson for beginning readers to help you grocery shop. In the yogurt aisle, for example, ask your elementary aged children to compare the sugar content on two different brands of yogurt to find the healthier option. I bet both they- and you- will be surprised with what you see on packaging labels.
EVERYTHING IN MODERATION
Now, this isn't to say that you can never feed your kids chicken nuggets or mac and cheese from a box again. This is simply not true and not realistic. But, it's best to practice moderation. Ice cream is a great treat - but measure out a small portion and it doesn't have to be every night. You could even look for a healthy frozen yogurt recipe using fresh ingredients that you can make with your kids. My personal goal is 80/20 or even 85/15 - this means 80% healthy choices, and 20% "within moderation" choices.
Your children are watching. This can be taken literally some days, when your kids are in the room when you exercise. You want to set a good example for them by participating in regular exercise. It's also a great idea to let them get involved. Put in a dance workout dvd, or even play a motion game on the Wii . You can also just go for a walk with your family, or play outside. Fitness doesn't have to fit into a small box - any type of movement is beneficial for your body. Some gyms even have family classes, such as family Zumba. By instilling healthy habits at a young age, your kids will want to exercise and stay active throughout their lives because they'll know how great exercise makes them feel.
Hopefully these tips will help you create excitement about healthy eating and exercise with your family! If you need any more fitness tips or healthy food suggestions, as a fitness coach, I am glad to assist! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to send me a friend request at www.facebook.com/MyCoachAlissa.