Healthy living is a family affair: Study after study has shown that families who commit to exercise, healthy diets, and activities together tend to be healthier overall. This post will explore five habits of healthy families that you might want to consider incorporating in your life.
The Family Dinner
When is the last time that you sat down with your family and enjoyed a meal together? These days, with everyone running off to soccer practice, band rehearsal, work meetings, and other appointments, it can be difficult to find time for the whole family to sit down together. Even when we do, we tend to sit down in front of the TV and stare at the screen rather than interacting.
Research has revealed that children who share family meals at least three times per week are more likely to have eating patterns that are generally healthier than those who share less than three meals with their family per week. They are also less likely to be susceptible to eating issues such as compulsive eating, overeating, and skipping meals. In addition, studies revealed that these kids have better relationships with their parents and are likely to perform better in school, so there are plenty of reasons to get together and enjoy a family meal!
This spring, why not get your hands dirty and plant some vegetables in the backyard with your kids? Not only will it teach them about how plants grow, but it will also give them a better sense of where their food comes from and an appreciation for freshly picked produce. Caring for your own backyard garden will also cut down your grocery bill and get your kids interested in trying new foods. There is nothing quite like the taste of a fresh ripe strawberry warmed by the sun, or a crisp green snow pea snapping as you bite into it.
Do you often cook a meal from scratch, or is your idea of cooking pressing the buttons on the microwave? Taking the time to cook and including your children in the process is a very valuable way to teach them about healthy eating. Try serving plenty of fruit- and vegetable-based dishes so your kids will be familiar with these foods and more likely to include them in their diet when you aren’t around. Your young cooks will enjoy cutting up and tasting the ingredients and learning how to use food preparation equipment. The cooking skills that they learn now will serve them well when they eventually leave home and have a place of their own.
Does your family exercise together? If not, this is another healthy habit that you might want to consider adopting. It is recommended that children get a minimum of one hour of physical activity per day, but these days young ones often spend most of their time sitting on the couch in front of the TV.
When you get into a habit of exercising with your kids, they will begin to enjoy an active lifestyle as opposed to a sedentary one. Family exercise can be something simple that you work into your daily routine. Instead of watching TV after dinner, go for a family walk or bike ride around the neighborhood. On the weekends, go to the park, the beach, or for a hike. Get some outdoor toys such as hula hoops, skipping ropes, or a soccer ball, and play outside.
Did you know that if a child is physically active for an hour on a daily basis at the age of ten, they are 75% less likely to be overweight as an adult?
Good Sleep Routines
Do your kids have a relaxing bedtime routine that helps them to calm down and fall asleep soundly? There are 40 million people in the United States who have a chronic sleep disorder and 30% of all adults have insomnia in the course of any given year. We establish our sleep habits from a very young age, which is why it is important to teach your kids how to get the sleep they need to stay healthy.
These are the five major habits that healthy families share, so why not see how you can change your family routines to help yourself and your loved ones lead a healthier life?