We live in a world that makes it challenging to determine what we should or shouldn’t do when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle. Many of us try our best to get it right because we know how much good health matters.
But for many, sorting through all the noise is frustrating. Life is stressful, and slipping into bad habits becomes easier and easier with each passing day. Although some seem to judge those who are overweight with great ease, the truth is anyone—and I mean anyone—can slip into unhealthy habits. Anyone can gain weight. Sometimes the root of the behavior is emotional, and sometimes it’s environmental, but whatever it is, it happens.
If you want to make healthy changes in your life and in the lives of the people you love most, how can you do it in a way that encourages a positive response? How do you introduce more physical activity without nagging? How do you encourage healthier food choices without your family feeling like they are being deprived?
Simply put, you do it slowly and you make it fun.
Easy, right? It can be—especially if you don’t overthink things and make it your mission in life to implement these simple tips.
Here are nine super easy ways to help your family get much healthier and a whole lot happier.
- Only eat out 1 to 2 times a week.
Not only is it expensive to eat out often, it is also potentially harmful. Even if you avoid traditional fast food restaurants, the tacos or salads you purchase at the healthier places probably still have a lot more calories and sodium than anything you would have made at home.
- Make water everyone’s best friend.
Water should be the go-to drink for everyone in your home. Get each family member a refillable water bottle and encourage them to go everywhere with it. Avoid sugary drinks. But if you really want to have them occasionally, just dilute them with water.
- Make everyone earn sweet treats
Sweets like ice cream and cake should not be a daily treat. Limit sweets to certain days and make everyone earn them. For example, a 45-minute family walk in the park earns everyone an ice cream cone on Saturday. Pretty fair, right?
- Enter at least one family fun run/walk quarterly.
Even if you aren’t a runner, consider a family race. You can usually opt to walk instead of run, and these races usually have fun things for the kids to do afterward. It’s a great way to bond as a family while having fun and staying fit.
- Slowly eliminate processed foods.
This is hard because so many of the foods available today are processed. Don’t stress yourself out about it. But when you have the opportunity to replace a processed food item with a much healthier alternative, make the change and never look back.
- Make your own version.
Whether it’s ice cream, french fries, burgers, or cookies, if you have a chance to make it yourself at home, go for it. It will probably taste better, and it will likely be better for you. And a bonus is that the kids can even help you prepare it.
- Move up everyone’s bedtime.
Most kids are pretty cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. What people rarely talk about is how most adults are the same way. Not getting enough sleep has a long list of damaging effects, so it would benefit everyone in your home to sleep one extra hour daily if you currently aren’t getting enough.
- Use games to encourage dinnertime conversations.
Being healthier isn’t just about exercise and diet. It’s also about building strong relationships and learning how to cope with different emotions. By creating dinnertime games that encourage discussions, the whole family gets a chance to laugh, talk and decompress.
- Dance together. You think your kids don’t know a thing about your old school dance moves? They probably don’t. Why don’t you show them a thing or two and find out what kind of moves they have. Dancing together incorporates physical activity, laughter and bonding time. You can’t go wrong.
The key to success is to implement one new habit at a time. Also, it needs to be a family affair. No one wants to be told what to do by someone who isn’t walking the walk. If you want your kids and spouse to be healthier and happier, you have to show them how it’s done.
BMWK fam, what can you do to create a healthier, happier life for your family?