Many of us aspire to have a healthier family lifestyle, however it can be really difficult to know where or when to begin, especially if you already have a packed schedule. However, these simple ways to make your family healthier won’t take much time out of your schedule, and some of them will even save you time! Whatever your family unit looks like, these simple tips will apply to you, so prepare to feel mentally and physically healthier with your family!
Eat Everything In Moderation
The number one rule when it comes to being healthier is to eat everything in moderation. It is not sustainable at all to completely cut every food we love out of our diets, so to live a long lasting healthy lifestyle, simply cut down slightly on the food that is not so good for you, and eat more of the stuff that is!
Let’s look at an example. Say usually you buy enough chocolate bars for everyone to have two a day, one with lunch and one with dinner. Perhaps you could buy slightly smaller chocolate bars and just have one a day as a treat after your evening meal. You could replace the lunchtime chocolate bar with a sweet and juicy tub of pineapple instead. As a healthy addition, encourage the whole family to start taking a multivitamin to consume all the nutrients they need.
For your evening meals, perhaps you have oven chips 3 times a week. Swap out your oven chips twice a week with boiled garlic new potatoes, then just have the oven chips once a week. Swap out high fat meats for leaner ones, such as swapping pork chops for chicken breasts, or try to eat a few more vegetarian meals a week, like mixed bean chilli or veggie lasagne.
Rather than cutting everything out, simply make a few swaps and you should feel so much healthier as a family.
Plan A Weekly Menu
The next simple tip to make your whole family healthier is to plan a weekly menu. On a Sunday, sit down and write a list of what you will be having for snacks, lunches and dinners each day of the week. Then, write an ingredients list to take shopping so you know you have everything you need for the week.
The first benefit to this is that you save money. You will only buy exactly what you need and this also means that no food will go to waste. Additionally, you will be much healthier. If you go shopping without a list, it is likely you will end up picking up things you don’t need. You are also likely to end up with lots of mismatched foods that can’t really be turned into a week’s worth of full meals. If this happens, you are likely to end up giving up on the cooking and getting a takeaway.
Planning your weekly menu will help you to pre-plan healthy options, avoid waste, save money and save time!
Schedule Family Exercise
The next thing you should do is schedule family exercise into your week. This is a fantastic way to lead by example and get the whole family moving. It is essential that your family gets plenty of exercise and it is advised that children should get between 30 minutes and an hour of exercise a day. Adults should get around 30 minutes a day.
So, perhaps your kids do PE at school 3 times a week and a few afterschool clubs and you go to the gym those three same days a week. On the other two days after school, perhaps go for a quick 30 minute walk to the park for a bit of a run around. Then, go swimming as a family on Saturday morning and have a nice afternoon walk on Sunday.
This will become a bit of tradition, and although your kids might moan a bit about having to go out for a walk, they will enjoy it when they are out! This will help to instill healthy habits in your children that could potentially last a lifetime!
Strip The Schedule Back Slightly
Now, let’s move onto more of a mental health focus. Children have a lot on their plate and are constantly trying to adjust to the constant changes they are going through. So, having a completely packed schedule and no time to relax could have quite a big impact on them. Instead of jam packing every evening with plans, try to find a healthy balance of doing fun activities with them and also having down time.
Perhaps a couple of nights a week you can make sure you have nothing planned and have a movie night. This will be quality time spent together that is also relaxing for the whole family. You could also play a few games or something and have a chat about how everyone is feeling, which will be an opportunity for anyone to get things off their chest.
Give Each Family Member Their Own Jobs
The final thing you can do to make your family healthier is to give everyone their own jobs. When you encourage children to contribute to family life, it will give them a sense of competence and responsibility. It will also help the family to work better together as a team and reduce overall stress.
Each week, have a chart with the jobs for each person in the family. For one child, it might be cleaning their bedroom once a week, laying the table ready for food or helping to cook. Another child might be responsible for helping with the gardening, getting drinks ready at meal times and cleaning their room. These small tasks will not only make your life easier, but it will help to develop the children’s independence and confidence massively.
So, there you have it! 5 ways to make your family happier and healthier. These things will not take up any more of your time and will actually make your life much easier in the long run.