Promoting Family Health & Fitness

FamilyLiving an active and healthy lifestyle means getting the whole family involved. Sounds easy enough. But, with picky eaters and different schedules, it can be a challenge. I’ve collected top tips from Registered Dietitians to help you and your family live happier healthier lives.

Tomorrow is…
National Family Health & Fitness Day !

Use this day as a way to kick start your family into being more active and making better food choices. If you’re already doing these things, keep it up!

Be a good role model. As I’ve seen my kids grow into their adult years, I see how many things they have picked up over the years. From preparing healthy foods, to exercising, to being able to stay on a budget. And, in fact, it works both ways—my kids have even inspired me to take up running in my 50s.”
– Sandy Nissenberg, MS, RD
“To increase interest in vegetables, take your kids to a farm stand or supermarket produce department.  Have each child select a vegetable of the week for the whole family to try.  First do an internet search on what makes it healthy, then on how to prepare it.  Have the child help with age appropriate preparation from washing, peeling, tearing or chopping to seasoning and cooking. Or serve raw, if acceptable with hummus or low fat ranch dressing.  Talk about how it looks feels, smells and tastes. If possible, prepare it a whole new way a second time that same week.”
– Amy Shapiro RDN, CDN, CPT / 
“Here are some ideas to make holidays and get togethers about more than just food
  • family touch football game
  • family soccer tournament (or skills challenge)
  • generational ping-pong challenge
  • backyard tag game
  • morning family yoga session

– Kathleen Searles, MS, RDN, CSSD, LDN / 

“Get the family moving together!  Find activities that you all love and can participate in together such as biking, hiking, bowling, or tennis. My family loved to play tennis when the kids were growing up! We would hit against each other at least twice a week : boys vs. girls, kids vs. parents or single championships! When the kids were younger they loved being ball boys/girls or scorekeepers! My son went on to play varsity tennis and tournament tennis and I played for many years on a USTA tennis team. Our family fun turned into fitness and training! The more you love it, the greater the benefit!”
– Kathy Birkett, RDN, LD / 

Sit down to dinner with your family every night—no matter how busy you are; even if it’s just 30 minutes. Ask your kids how they are doing in school, talk about things that are important to your family, and show an interest in everything they do. Make a simple, healthy meal, which offers lean protein sources, vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. It can be as easy as a stir-fry with brown rice; chili with cornbread and coleslaw; or taco night with beans, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, and avocados. Studies show that kids do better in many ways—performance, mental health, and physical health—when they sit down to dinner with their family every night.

Introduce your family to vegetables at every meal. Studies show that kids will try vegetables when they are included at the meal consistently. Offer them vegetables in their lunches, such as snow peas, edamame, baby carrots; at snack time, such as broccoli florets with hummus, cherry tomatoes with guacamole, and cucumber slices with sunflower seed butter; and at dinner time, such as crisp green salads, crunchy roasted vegetables, such as cauliflower and sweet potatoes, and vegetables in dishes, such as vegetable lasagna, soups, and pizza.
– Sharon Palmer, RDN / Plant-Powered for Life /

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