Making New Year’s Resolution to improve your family’s health may be one of the most important things that you do for your family. The New Year is a great time to get started making healthy resolutions, resolutions that will ultimately result in a healthier family.
Many popular New Year’s resolutions focus on how to improve our health. That is good news, considering that being healthy provides us protection against disease and injury, as well as strength and energy to help us have a good quality of life. Here are a few general goals to incorporate for a healthier family:
- Protect yourself from injury or disease by wearing a helmet, sunscreen, or insect repellent when necessary.
- Make an appointment for a check-up, vaccination, or screening.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Get adequate sleep and rest.
- Buy your food fresh and prepare healthy dishes at home.
- Make healthy food choices. Grab a healthy snack such as fruit, nuts, or low-fat cheese.
- Be active. Try simple things such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
- Be smoke-free. If you are ready to quit, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW for free counseling.
- Reduce auto-related injuries by using seat belts, child safety seats, and booster seats that are appropriate for your child’s age and weight.
- Develop and enforce rules about acceptable and safe behaviors using electronic media.
- Serve healthy meals and snacks.
- Encourage and support physical activity.
- Get pets vaccinated and keep pets healthy.
The easiest way to get healthy as a family is to simply get moving. Instead of sitting around the television after dinner every night, make that time healthy family time. Take a family walk together after dinner and have your kids wear pedometers. Record the number of steps they walk each day on the calendar.
It can be overwhelming to come home from a long day at work and then try to figure out what to make for dinner. This can easily turn into making bad choices for family meals. Don’t fall into a cycle of fast food dinners. Instead, get organized and plan your menu ahead of time. Start by stocking your pantry and refrigerator full of whole foods and staples. Then, create a weekly menu based on those ingredients. It is a good idea to cook ahead of time and freeze meals for the week.
Remove the Temptations
If your family is full of snackers, remove all of the temptation foods that are unhealthy and replace them with healthy alternatives. There are plenty of fantastic healthy snacking options available for your family. Set up a snack bar inside of your refrigerator that holds carrot, celery and cheese sticks, grapes, orange wedges, yogurt, hummus and any other snacking items that your family will enjoy. Put the snack bar at eye level so it is the first thing that your little ones see when they open the door. If you make healthy foods as simple and convenient as traditional snacks, your children will gravitate toward them.
Limit Media Time
Limit the amount of time that both you and your children are allowed to spend on media every day. It can be too easy for you or your children to end up spending hours and hours in front the screen if the time is not scheduled and monitored. Have TV and technology free meals. Avoid TV, texting, and phone calls during mealtime. Instead, enjoy time with your family and have your kids share their experiences from the day.
Eat Together as a Family
When it comes to time spent together, the family dinner is sacred. If there is one healthy family resolution that you should definitely make and keep this year, it is eating together as a family. It the perfect time to reconnect with your family after a long day at work and school.
Pack Don’t Buy
A great way to make sure your family is getting healthy is to make sure that everyone packs their lunch. Not only is it healthier to pack your own lunch and snacks, it is much better on your family budget.
Have Kids Help
Bring kids into the kitchen and have them help prepare the meal. Children who participate in the meal preparation tend to eat healthier foods. Include a vegetable and fruit at every meal. Let kids help choose the fruits and veggies at the meal. If you have two children have one pick the fruit and the other pick the veggie for that night, then switch the next night.
Plant a Family Vegetable Garden
Plant a vegetable garden with your children and have them help care for it. Kids who participate in gardening tend to be more interested in fruits and vegetables.
Encourage your child to incorporate their own New Year’s Resolutions. Include some of the following ideas:
- Drink reduced-fat milk and water every day
- Apply sunscreen before going outdoors on sunny days
- Find an activity or sport to play at least 3 times a week
- Wear a helmet when biking
- Wear my seat belt in the car
- Never give out personal information or photos on the Internet