Like it or not, you are one of the most influential role models in your children’s lives. This is a big responsibility, but it’s one that you should be excited about. Use it as motivation to harness healthier habits for yourself (and your kids) and boost your overall well-being.
Eat Breakfast Daily
Avoid daily breakfast battles for sugary cereals and doughnuts by setting a good example and eating a healthy breakfast with your kids every morning. Starting the day with a good breakfast boosts brain power, increases energy, aids your immune system and reduces your risk of obesity. A recent study by Harvard Medical School found that those who regularly skip breakfast are four times more likely to become obese. Find a few healthy and easy-to-prepare meals that the entire family can enjoy together to start the day off right. Here are a few ideas:
Avocado toast topped with an egg
Overnight oatmeal with fresh berries
Whole-grain, low-sugar cereal with almond milk
Use a Health Tracker
One easy way to boost your overall health awareness is to use a comprehensive health tracker. Apple Health is a great all-in-one option, and the app is native on the newer smartphones like the iPhone 6s. This user-friendly and accurate tool tracks your nutrition, calories burned, calories consumed, daily steps, workouts, reproductive health, vitals and sleep patterns. Share your health and fitness goals with your kids and have them help you track your progress to teach them some healthy habits.
Get Kids Involved in Meal Planning & Prep
Being the sole family member responsible for meal planning gets old quickly, making it easy to slump into some not-so-healthy habits. If you involve your kids in meal planning, they get to feel like they have some impact on family decisions and you also get help in the inspiration department so you can add some variety to mealtime. Give each of your children a day of the week to choose dinner and gather Sunday morning to share your ideas and compile the weekly grocery list.
Don’t let your child’s dinner planning involvement stop there, though. Have your kids help you make dinner a few nights a week. Delegate age-appropriate responsibilities like cleaning veggies for young kids and peeling and chopping for older children. Not only are you lightening your own load of responsibility, but you’re also teaching your kids valuable life skills.
Make Mealtime Fun
Eating together as a family isn’t a chore, it’s a privilege. To keep everyone present in the moment, have a strict no device policy. Leave the smartphones and tablets in another room and turn the TV off. For a little ambiance, play some music that the whole family enjoys in the background. Ease picky eating struggles by serving everything family-style at the dinner table, rather than plating it all in the kitchen. This way, everyone can choose what they like and skip what they don’t with minimal complaining (hopefully). As a bonus, seconds will also be within arm’s reach.
Take the opportunity to connect with your spouse and kids over dinner. One way to do this is by going around the table and having each person share the high point of their day. It’s a great conversation starter, especially if you’re tired of hearing monosyllabic replies when you ask how school was that day.