The beginning of a new year is a natural time to think about and set personal goals. As parents, it is a great opportunity to not only discuss the importance of exercise and a healthy diet, but also to teach children the importance of setting goals. However, when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, family support is key for success. "There is power in numbers. Sitting down as a family to plan and discuss goals for the upcoming year encourages children to get involved and motivated to adopting life-long healthy habits," says Ashley Kim, a Registered Dietitian in the Children's Health℠ Get Up & Go program.
Ashley shares three ways to motivate your family to live a healthy lifestyle in the new year.
3 tips for a healthier new year
1. Make healthy resolutions fun
New year's resolutions should be fun for the whole family. Introduce resolutions as an opportunity for children to challenge themselves, focusing on fun activities for them. If you want your family to eat healthier, get all family members involved from grocery shopping to preparing a meal.
Find new vegetable recipes or use vegetable recipes your family already loves. Give children the opportunity to choose new veggies to try at the store each week and encourage older kids to find new recipes and help prepare new meals in the kitchen.
If you want to be more active, look for new ways to incorporate physical activity. Rent a Zumba video from the library, set up a soccer game with family and friends or visit a new park every week to keep things interesting.
2. Get children's input on how to reach goals
Ask children what kinds of goals they would like to achieve and help them break down a large goal into smaller, short-term goals. For instance, if the long-term goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, a short-term goal may be to challenge your children to eat fruits or vegetables as an afternoon snack. Support your children by keeping your refrigerator stocked with healthy choices. Wash and cut produce as soon as you get home from the grocery store for easy access.
3. Organize your pantry for success
Keeping junk food in the pantry is a surefire way to break your New Year's resolution to eat healthier. It seems very simple, but don't keep tempting foods around the house.
If you and your family want to have ice cream, it's best to make a special trip rather than keep it in the freezer for constant temptation. Buy fruits and vegetables for snacking. See more tips for healthy pantry options.
Small steps like these can get your family involved and set you up for success in the new year. Lastly, parents play a pivotal role in their children's health so modeling healthy habits is key to healthy changes for children in the new year.
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