Wednesday, March 9, 2011

10 Simple Tips To A Healthier & Happier Family

There are few things in life that I know for sure, but one thing I am certain of is that all of us want healthier, happier families.  As a mother myself, there is nothing I enjoy more than seeing the innocent smile on my daughter’s face, or hearing the delighted laughter of her older brother.  It is natural to want the best for our children and our families, and that includes creating a atmosphere of fitness and health within our homes. 

Healthy children are naturally happier.  They are more active, they perform better in school, they are better behaved, and they tend to be more obedient.  A healthy child also has a higher likelihood of being a healthy adult later in life.  Creating an atmosphere of health within your home can be simple.  Following is a list of 10 simple things that you can do to make your family a healthier, happier family:

1.  Take your children (or spouse) grocery shopping with you and allow them to pick new fruits and veggies to taste. 
2.  Teach your older children how to read food labels, especially looking for sugar content.
3.  Plant a garden with your children and let them help take care of it.  The garden does not need to be big, even a few potted tomato plants will be enough to teach your family to appreciate fresh produce from a little effort.  When you grow it yourself it always tastes better!
4.  Get rid of the high sugar soft drinks and flavored drinks and replace them with good old water.  Your kids will actually do better in school if they drink water.
5.  Trash the processed treats and replace them with something yummy and healthy.  Some of our favorites are fresh fruit, vegetables, string cheeses and greek yogurt.
6.  Start incorporating more whole grains which provide many health benefits and better nutrients than refined grains.  Some whole grains to make the switch to include:  brown rice, whole grain crackers and breads, oatmeal, barley and whole grain pastas.
7.  Take a cooking class together and invite the family to help make the family meals.  Not only can new skills be learned for later on in life, but cooking together opens up the dialogue to talk about different foods, why you chose them, and their health benefits.
8.  Discuss nutritious foods not only at home, but at restaurants, vending machines, school, sporting events and gas stations. Help them recognize that there are nutritious choices everywhere you go!
9.  Reduce the screen time and get everyone moving!  Go for a walk, play frisbee, go for a family bike ride, play tag, go bowling, go swimming, etc...  Your kids will love the opportunity to be active and they’ll love doing it with you!  Just remember, if you tell them it is exercise they will rebel, but if you just go out to have fun that is exactly what you will have.
10.             Get your kids to bed earlier so they can get a good nights rest.  Depending on their age, a child needs anywhere from 8 - 14 hours of sleep per day.   A well rest child is happier and more productive.

Do not worry about doing all 10 things at once.  Pick 2 or 3 items from the list that you can incorporate over the next few weeks.  Introduce the ideas slowly and over time, so that it is easier and more natural for your family to embrace the changes.  Be consistent, stay focused and watch as these tips help your children and your family become healthier, and by default, happier!

Article By: Trish Allen

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