Five Ways to Jumpstart your Family’s Journey to Health

How can I get my kids to stop snacking all day and try new foods? How can we get our kids to get more active and enjoy exercise? How can I get my family to turn off the TV? These are questions we at the Dallas Mayor’s Youth Fitness Initiative often hear when talking to parents, coaches and program administrators. We all wish there was an easy button to press to encourage our kids to adopt healthy, balanced and active lifestyles, but it takes a lot of patience and planning.

Instead of stressing out and trying to tackle this long-term task at once, here are five key steps to help you get started:

  1. Take a detour from the snack aisle, and stop buying junk food. The middle aisles of Mother and daughter in produce sectiongrocery stores tend to have the most processed foods with ingredients we can’t pronounce. If candies, cookies and chips are out of sight and out of reach from your little ones, they’re out of their minds and mouths as well. To learn more about smart shopping, check out the American Heart Association’s tips for supermarket success.
  2. Replace screen time with family time. Reduce their TV watching and gaming by exploring events and activities such as Zumbathons, 5K walk/runs, skating rinks, laser tag, jungle gyms, etc. Mark your calendar for April 27, 2013 to join MyFi and Oncor at Get Kidz Fit Fest at Dallas Market Hall! You might even go one step further by challenging your family to unplug during Screen-Free Week April 29 – May 5
  3. Drink more water EVERY DAY. There’s no doubt that sugary drinks are a major contributor to childhood obesity. Consider replacing juice boxes and sodas with water, milk or fruit smoothies. I tried several of these tips for getting your kids to drink more water, and I have been pleasantly surprised by how quickly I was able to eliminate sugary drinks from my kitchen.
  4. Model your healthy habits. If your child is like mine, Active-Family-1-e1344356304521he or she has no trouble calling you out: “Why are you drinking that soda?” “Why are you still on your iPad?” You can make a huge impact on their attitudes toward nutrition and fitness. Set a good example by disconnecting from your gadgets and exercising regularly with your kids. Also, try these tips for making meal time family time.
  5. Make your plate great. Check out the USDA’s MyPlate Pinterest page for fun visuals to print out and hang on your refrigerator. The placemats and posters can help teach your kids about the five food groups, smart snacking, portion control and trying new, tasty recipes.

I would love to hear more ideas for reducing screen time, cutting down on sugary drinks and family fitness. Please share your thoughts with us below. 


4 thoughts on “Five Ways to Jumpstart your Family’s Journey to Health

  1. Thanks so much Stacey for the good tips! As a mother of two girls (12 & 15) and having a very busy life as most do, it is very hard to instill good eating habits and exercise. Old habits are hard to change in your children as they dont quite get the importance. I’ve started with small steps…only water available at our house and i have switched rice for quinoa (a superfood with tons more nutritious value) ground turkey instead of ground beef (not that we are opposed to beef, turkey is just leaner) those are just a few steps we have taken.

  2. Amy – Thanks for commenting! Those are pretty big steps. Everything you are doing with your girls, especially your role-modeling is so impressive – you need to start your own blog! The water-only (and sugary drinks only on occasion) was a gradual step for us, but it has made such a huge impact.

    I meant to include the “Rethink Your Drink” link in my article for those who are interested:

    Thanks again! Stacey

  3. I love this! Get out and enjoy the day with your kids! They follow your lead, so lead by example!

  4. Physical fitness has been defined as a set of attributes or characteristics that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.The above definition from Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General is the most common currently used definition of physical fitness. ;^^-

    Freshest posting on our blog http://www.healthmedicinebook.comad

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