If your family has trouble sticking to New Year's resolutions, make 2019 the year for change by modeling a healthful lifestyle and eating habits. Leading through example is a great way to encourage and provide support. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:
Nutrition that Counts
- Offer regular meals throughout the day including a variety of nutrient-rich foods. Try starting the day with a healthful breakfast, such as oatmeal with fruit, nuts and low-fat milk or yogurt. Encourage balanced choices at lunch or help pack a brown bag to take with. Promote a supportive environment and get everyone together for dinnertime at least a few times a week.
- Remember to put the focus on health, not weight. Kids and teenagers are very observant and tend to repeat things they hear or see. Try to avoid making comments about your weight in front of them as it can overemphasize looks and undervalue health.
- Encourage a healthy eating style by following MyPlate recommendations at meals. Aim to make half your plate fruits and vegetables, a quarter grains, and the remaining quarter protein, along with a serving of low-fat or fat-free dairy or calcium-fortified alternative.
Fitness and Wellness
- Get active. Add physical activity whenever you can into your day, whether it's taking a family walk after dinner or joining the gym. Fitness centers often offer group classes for kids, such as swimming or dance. Remember, children and teens should get 60 minutes or more of physical activity per day, and adults should get two and a half hours per week.
- Reduce your family's risk of food poisoning by encouraging good food safety habits – such as washing hands before every meal. Having kids and teens help in the kitchen can also be a great way to teach them about food safety.
- Stay positive! Even if you struggle to work in physical activity or to finish your vegetables, set a good example – your child is listening to everything you say, even if you think they're ignoring you.
By focusing on a few goals at a time, small steps can become great strides towards a healthier lifestyle.
If you're looking for more tips on improving eating habits in the year to come, seek help from a qualified health professional. A registered dietitian nutritionist is your best source for reliable and up-to-date food and nutrition information.