Small Changes For Your Healthiest Year as a Family

You (hopefully) care about your family’s health, and you care about your own health, so why not improve both at the same time? There are many activities and lifestyle changes you can take on as a family unit to see results across the board while keeping up motivation.

The good news is you don’t need to commit to climbing a mountain together to get positive results. You can make minor changes that will benefit the family mentally and physically, and who doesn’t want that? Here are six tips to help you towards your collective health goals this year…

Breakfast Before Bed

We’re not suggesting you eat bacon and eggs before you hit the sack—that would be unreasonable. However, Prevention suggests setting yourself up for a nutritious breakfast before you hit the hay.

The source suggests getting all the cutlery and plates set up so you’ll have one less step to deal with in the morning, so you can focus on making a healthy breakfast and spend more time with the kids before you’re all out the door. Apparently, this is also one of the habits of highly successful people, adds the site.

Be a Healthy Lifestyle Role Model

Your kids likely still follow you around (if they don’t, you might be wishing they did again), so if you do a spontaneous jumping jack, they might as well. But more than having them mime your motions, you can have discussions about why it’s important to exercise and eat healthier, notes

You can show them how good fruit is as a substitute to candy bars by grabbing one on the go, and putting them in their lunch boxes. If you go for a regular walk, invite the family along—show them how great it is to get outside for some fresh air while seeing things in the neighbourhood they may have missed before.

Make Your Home an Exercise Center

You don’t have to sign up the entire family to a gym to stay healthy together. If you have a rec room, a yard or a driveway, then you’re already ahead of the game, notes Set aside 20-minutes a day for some group activity. “If you have to go somewhere to exercise, you’re automatically going to need more than 20 minutes, and it violates the flow of your day,” notes the source.

Finding 20-minutes in a busy schedule should be doable for all family members, and you could end up enjoying it so much that 20-minutes becomes an hour— but start at 20. Suggested activities include skipping rope in the driveway, 20-minutes with a workout video, or a brisk walk around the block.

Offer Healing Time

Every member of the family is going to have a rough day now and then, but that doesn’t mean they need to suffer in silence. WebMD says for the good of the individual’s mental well-being, the family should come together and offer their time and empathy to help the family member get back on their feet.

The source refers to it as a “comfort ritual,” and the example it gives includes wrapping a blanket around the affected person and showering them with messages of love. This may be a bit extreme for some families, so you can just let them know you’re there for them, offer a hug, words of encouragement, or help them work out an ongoing problem.

Make Healthy Substitutes

Your family may be “addicted” to sugary snacks and beverages, but you can slowly wean them off those items and towards healthier items that will satisfy their cravings and deliver a nutritious punch. focuses on cutting down on fat and sugar by making some switches. Suggestions from the source include choosing leaner cuts of meat (such as skinless chicken or extra lean ground beef), lower-sugar breakfast cereals, water or milk in place of sweetened drinks, and baking instead of frying.

Teach Proper Hygiene

Many illnesses that kids get are from the lack of (or improper) hand washing and other preventative measures. Teach your kids the right way to wash their hands and ensure you keep surfaces in your own home safe with ordinary cleaners (soap and water will do), according to

Of course, you can’t always be there to see what your kids are touching or to inspect a room before they enter it. That’s why it’s also important to ensure they’re up to date on immunizations and vaccines to help spread preventable illnesses.

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching, MS, RDN, CDE

Julie Ching is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Los Angeles. She decided to become a Dietitian after traveling through Europe, South America, and Asia and discovered a passion for food. She now works with people of all ages and varying disease states to improve their health. She is passionate about teaching people about nutrition so they can live their best life while still considering their cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.