The beginning of a new year is a natural time to think about and set personal goals. However, when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, family support is key for success. Bringing the whole family together for a new year goal-setting session not only provides an opportunity to discuss the importance of exercise and a healthy diet with your children – but also the opportunity to decide upon a shared goal to work towards together the rest of the year.
“Getting everyone in the family involved in setting goals and planning to get healthy together ensures commitment and support from each family member,” says Olivia Munger, a Registered Dietitian in the Children’s Health℠ Get Up & Go program.
Olivia shares a few ways to motivate your family to live a healthy lifestyle in the new year.
3 tips for a healthier new year
1. Make it about fun and exploration: When it comes to food and activity, focus on fun! Even though you may want to focus on health, framing it that way can seem not exciting. When we think of healthy food, boring salads usually come to mind.
Find recipes for new vegetables or try new recipes for vegetables your family already loves. Just try mixing things up! Learning how to use new spices can go a long way to adding excitement to your menu. Try new cuisines like Thai or Mediterranean that have healthy options and new flavors.
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 everyone’s input on how to reach goals: If you want your whole family to eat better, get them involved in the meal planning. Children can help choose their favorite vegetables, and the older kids can help you plan the entire meal.
Learn how your kids can help in meal preparation. Also, ask children what changes they would like to see in the family and how they can help to make them happen.
3. Organize your house for success: Keeping junk food in the house 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. Wash and cut them as soon as you get home from the store for easy access.
Small steps like these can get your family involved and set you up for success in the new year!
Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor! Learn some healthy food swaps to make easy changes that will keep your family healthy in the new year. Plus, learn more about our pediatric weight management program and services.
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