04 January 2018

10 small changes for a healthier family in 2018

Struggling to stick to your health resolutions alone? Get the whole family on board.

If you made a resolution to become healthier in 2018, it might be difficult if you are the only one in your family who did so. However, by making small changes for the whole family, you can get everyone on board, making it easier for you to stick to your plans.

For starters, "make an effort to make small, manageable changes that work towards everyone being healthier," Amy Rosenfeld, a registered dietitian with Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, New York, said in a hospital news release.

Then, get everyone involved, she said, turning your New Year's resolutions into a family affair. This will turn the dreaded return to school and work into a healthier new routine. 

Consider these steps, Rosenfeld suggests:

1. Eat the rainbow

Aim to eat fresh fruits and vegetables in a variety of colours. That will help you get all the needed vitamins and minerals. "Make it a game to get all the colours of the rainbow every week," Rosenfeld suggested. "Create a sticker chart for all family members, and take note when everyone reaches their goal. Try doing this every day, and make it a contest to see who can get to the end of the rainbow first."

2. Experiment

Try a new vegetable every week. Select it as a family or let your children choose it.

3. Play in the kitchen

Cook together, as a family, at least once a week. Also try to eat meals together.

father and son in kitchen

4. Throw it all out

Check your cupboards and get rid of unhealthy food items.

5. Grow your own

Consider starting an indoor herb garden.

6. Pack leftovers

Cook extra at dinners so you have healthy leftovers for lunch the next day. "Or, take the extra step and make meals just for lunch, such as a large pot of chili or a stir-fry dish with the kids' favourite veggies and protein," Rosenfeld said. "This will save money and get everyone eating fresher all day long."

7. Create a healthy snack station

Prepare ready-to-eat healthy snacks. "On Sunday nights, pack individual bags of healthy snack choices and set them up in the fridge so they are ready to go for the busy week ahead," she suggested. "Some good choices are hummus cups with baby carrots, pre-portioned bags of trail mix or whole-grain crackers and cheese."

8. Choose restaurants wisely 

When picking a restaurant, try for "family style". That can help you lighten the portion. "Choose options that are grilled, baked and roasted, rather than fried and creamy," Rosenfeld said. "Ask for modifications, such as extra veggies with Asian dishes and pizza, or whole-grain options when possible."

family dining out

9. Exercise as a family

"Exercising together doesn't have to mean a family trip to the gym," she said. "Go for a family hike or a walk on the beach. Go ice skating and take a yoga class together. Even a simple family walk is a great start."

mom and child cycling

10. Ban negative body-talk 

Practice a positive mindset when you talk about your body, especially in front of your children. Encourage the whole family to be body-positive and boost their self-esteem.

Image credits: iStock


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