You’ve embarked on a new approach to healthy living and you’re starting to see and feel the benefits. Now it’s time to get the whole family on board. For some, trying to get everyone on board might be tough but don’t be disheartened. Making small and simple changes to your home, routine and lifestyle can have a big impact on your family. Be positive and we hope these tips help!
- Simple actions will go a long way. Research has proven that small and simple changes can make a big difference.
- Make time. Take time out for family meals as this can help your child consume more nutritious foods and maintain a healthy weight. Experts say that other tweaks like keeping fruit on the work top and in plain sight can improve your family’s diet and intake of healthier foods.
- Create a positive experience. Habits are usually formed when people enjoy the activity or experience. If you’re trying to encourage the family to eat healthier then look to get everyone involved in the preparation of the meal. If you’re looking to exercise more, do it as a family and think about new and exciting places you can go. Maybe a treasure hunt around a park or a bike ride.
- Out with the old and in with the healthy. If you’re house is a shrine to sugar and unhealthy treats and foods, then get rid of what you can. If unhealthy goods aren’t around they are no longer a temptation. Replace these foods with healthy and nutritious foods such as fruit and veg.
- Shop as a family. If you do your weekly food shopping in the supermarket, why not take the whole family with you. Ask them to select foods which they believe to be healthy and which they will like to eat. This way, they will feel as though they are contributing and being part of this new healthier lifestyle.
- Dare to be different – try something new! Meal times can be a challenge at the best of times – trying to prepare a meal which everyone will enjoy can be hard and all too often we slip into a routine of offering the same meals week in week out. Aim to introduce at least two new, healthy meals into your weekly routine. And then the week after try one more and one more after that. This way you’re making small, subtle changes which won’t be too burdensome for you and they are changes which the rest of the family can accept.
- Healthy can still be tasty! Just because you’re trying to be healthy doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the family favourites. If pasta is a firm favourite, that’s fine. Just replace normal or white pasta with wholemeal or wholegrain pasta. And instead of getting a pizza from the shop or takeaway, could you make it at home and choose healthy toppings?
- Add spice and flavour. Many people believe healthy foods aren’t as tasty as their unhealthier counterparts. That’s a myth. You can jazz up vegetable, lean meat and fish dish with fresh seasoning, herbs, spices as well as homemade sauces too.
- Write a shopping list and plan your meals. Before you go shopping try and plan the meals you’re going to prepare and write a list accordingly. This way you’re less likely to forget something and less likely to panic and put unhealthy foods in the trolley. Again, this is something the whole family can get involved with.
- Educate the family. Teach the family about the importance of eating different vitamins and the important role they play in helping our bodies to function. Education leads to empowerment and will give your family ownership of their health.
- Exercise together. Exercising together is a great way to have fun and bond. Click here to read an article about how you can get your children interested in exercise and physical activity.
- Turn off the TV. Eating together as a family is great as it creates a positive dining experience. Try and turn off the TV and instead talk to one another about your day. Eating around the table provides a great platform for your family to connect with one another and eat more mindfully. And it also gives the children an opportunity to ask questions and learn about the food on their plate.
- Keep quiet. If you’ve cooked or prepared a healthy meal, serve it to the family and sit back and don’t talk about what’s on the plate. This might be hard, especially if they start asking questions but children typically intuitively eat. They eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. Don’t force them to clear their plates as you risk overriding their ability to control their food intake.
- Trackers! Use child-friendly, healthy tracking sheets and planners to record and monitor individual and family goals. Track the goals on a daily and weekly basis and make sure the planner or tracker is somewhere where everyone can see it. Use this as a topic of conversation at meal times or when you’re out and about.
- Celebrate successes. Small or large, achievements and successes should be celebrated.
- Be excited and enthusiastic. Your energy and enthusiasm will be infectious.
It might take time. Your family might need lots of support, encouragement, positively and even stars on their planner before these small steps create a new habit and behaviour but it will happen if you stay commitment. Every positive change, no matter how small will add up to a healthier, happier family.
Here as some websites full of ideas for healthy meals:
BBC Good Food
Good To Know