How do I get my family to eat better?
If you are the one who is buying the groceries and preparing the meals, you have a bit of an edge here! However, there is no surer way to have a household mutiny on your hands than to announce that you will no longer be buying everyone's favorite cereals and snacks in favor of "healthy alternatives." So what do you do?
The first step is to add more of what you do want your family to eat, and make it easy. Healthy snacks like fruit, veggies and nuts are more likely to be consumed if they are convenient. During evening meals, prepare lean meats that are high in protein. Avoid using unhealthy oils and excessive salt. Opt for extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Prepare vegetables and avoid processed side dishes in favor of healthier choices.
Slowly begin replacing meals and snacks that are high in carbohydrates, sugar, salt and over-processing with fresh foods that are high in vitamins and protein. Foods that are high in protein will also keep you full longer, resulting in less snacking.
The trick is to not come at it from a place of "taking away." Simply begin by adding the healthy stuff first, and then gradually subtracting the foods that are not nutritious. Your kids and partner will be more receptive rather than you just eliminating all the food they like at once.
I want my family to exercise, but how do I get them to?
Again, you want to avoid the panic that is often experienced when a dramatic "lifestyle change" is mentioned. Most people dislike abrupt change, so take a more gentle approach. One of the best and easiest ways to introduce exercise to your family is through walks. What makes walking great is that it is low-impact and perfect for just about all ages and levels of fitness. The human body is made to walk.
Make things fun by getting involved with sports. Head down to the park as a family and play basketball, or tennis. Go hiking or find a climbing wall. Trampolines are a fun way to get exercise, have fun and blow off steam. Martial arts are also a great way to get in shape. Try to incorporate physical activity every day. It's okay to go slow, in fact it's better. The important thing is to develop the habit. A daily 10 minute walk with the dog is a fine start. After everyone becomes comfortable with that, add time to it, and introduce other activities.
Moms and Dads can hit the gym together for time away from the kids. Introduce a little friendly competition to the mix. If the kids are reluctant to participate in fitness activities, find ways to make it fun. Create fitness goals, and find creative ways to reward them.
It's great to educate family members about the benefits of healthy eating and exercise, but don't necessarily expect anyone, especially the kids, to be swayed by facts or statistics. It is more important to portray fitness as a way to have fun.
The staff at Amarillo’s Downtown Athletic Club can help your family get on track. Whether you are interested in group fitness classes for you and your partner or classes just for kids, our Amarillo personal trainers can help.