Creating a Healthy Family in 2016

Creating a Healthy Family in 2016With the new year full of hope, many Syracusians have vowed (at least on paper) to improve their health. Why not tackle it as a family? Whether you have children struggling with their weight, or normal weight kids who just need to move more and eat better, here are some ideas that can help you get 2016 off to a healthy start.

  • Make it a family affair. Have a family meeting, and vow to get healthy as a household. Never single out or set different rules for one child that are not followed by the rest of the family. What applies to one, applies to all.
  • Eat out less often. Research has shown that the more a family eats out, the more the family weighs. Try to limit it to no more than once per week. To help you make good choices, look at menus online and decide what to eat before you go out.
  • Eat breakfast– that means everyone! Churning your child’s metabolism from the moment he wakes up will help concentration, energy and fat burning throughout the day. If they are running out the door, hand them a protein shake or bar.
  • Limit Electronics time (exercise for it!) As parents become couch potatoes in the cold weather, kids become tater tots! Most of us need to move more either way. Consider having the children exercise for their electronics time- 30 minutes of exercise for 30 minutes of gaming.
  • Sit down to dinner as a family at least once/week – the average American family sits down to dinner together once a week. Work to beat those odds. Children who do have less drug and alcohol problems and perform better in school.
  • Just eat. When did eating become a passive event we do while doing something else? Surrender the cell phones, turn off the TV, step away from the computer and just eat! The reasons are endless.
  • Model good behavior. Are you eating in front of the TV. with the remote in 1 hand and the other in a bag of chips? Do you binge when you have a bad day? Remember, they are watching you.
  • Get the junk out of the house. Out of sight, out of mind. Unless you have older teenagers, the only way the bad food gets there is if mom or dad brings it home.
  • Eliminate or strictly limit sugar sweetened beverages. With the exception of pulpy OJ or fresh squeezed juices you prepare at home, fruit juices and soda are high in calories and low in nutritional value. With the exception of special events, children should drink water and milk- period.
  • Don’t give up on fruits and vegetables. It may take ten or more exposures to a fruit or vegetable before a child develops “memory” of it. Be creative with smoothies, omelets, and even sauces. But don’t give up!
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