As parents, we want our kids to be happy and healthy. At times, that may mean we put our own health on the backburner. But, it is important to remember that you are the biggest influence in your child’s life. When you make smart choices about food, exercise, and stress management, you set a great example. Start with these simple family health tips to set goals you and your family can enjoy reaching together.

Set the Table

Good health starts with feeding your family healthy, balanced meals at appropriate portion sizes.

  • Include lots of vegetables, whole grains, and fruits
  • Limit sweets and processed meats
  • Drink and serve water instead of fruit juices, sodas, sports drinks, or sweetened tea

Choices like these are heart healthy, can increase your energy level, and will help with weight management. Reducing your child’s sugar intake will help reduce energy crashes and crankiness. Including vegetables in every lunch and dinner will help your child develop an appreciation for those flavors and textures.

Get the Kids Involved

Children tend to get more excited about eating healthy meals when they’ve been included in the process.

  • Take your child to the farmer’s market to pick out fruits and vegetables together. Healthy, balanced meals feature a variety of colors on the plate. And who loves colors more than children?
  • If you have a green thumb, consider growing some produce and getting your kids involved with the selection and care of the vegetable garden.
  • Encourage your kid to help you in the kitchen with manageable tasks like pulling items out of the fridge and pantry, measuring, stirring, and setting the timer. Just like us, children feel good about helping others and being useful.

When your children see a meal come together from the market to the plate, they’ll be happier to eat it.

Bonus: you get a little helper who eventually learns how to handle a few meal-prep tasks on their own.

Get Active Together

To be heart-healthy and maintain a healthy weight, both you and your child need regular physical activity. Of course you can try squeezing in an hour at the gym before your kid’s soccer game. Or, you could be active together!

  • Go on a walk/run/hike together (also a nice time to engage them in conversation)
  • Kick a ball around at the park, shoot hoops, or play a round of tennis
  • Find yourselves laughing through family tag in the backyard
  • Let loose and dance in the living room

Whatever activity you and your family enjoy doing together, you’ll find that it’s not only a good form of exercise, but also a way to connect with your child and reduce stress for everyone involved.

In good health,