Summer is officially here and much like the first few weeks after the new year, we are all in a frenzy to make healthy choices. Whether we are inspired to get rid of that holiday hangover or we want that beach bod, it is always the season to get healthy. As moms, when we are on a health kick, we want to get the whole family involved. Before everyone starts groaning, you can actually make getting healthy fun!
5 Ways Being Healthy Can Be Fun!
Make Grocery Shopping an Adventure
You know how you make extensively detailed lists and map every single place to visit when you are planning a family vacation? Do the exact same thing when you are planning a trip to the amazing and fantastical grocery store! Get your kids in on the action.
If they are old enough, ask them to help you research recipes online or in your favorite cookbook. Or, If you have a toddler, as I do, ask them to flip through a cooking magazine and point out their favorite pictures. If it looks appetizing to a picky toddler’s palate, it is bound to be good.
After you have made your list and checked it twice, take your kids with you to the adventuredome known as the local grocery store. Yes, you read that correctly. I am suggesting you bring the whole family, Clark Griswold style, to the grocery store. Put older kids to work by asking them to help gather items from your list.
For your younger kids, make your first stop a visit to the green beans. Arm your tyke with a bag full of fresh green beans and wait for the sigh of utter contentment. Green beans are not only healthy, they fun to play with and do wonders for teething woes.
As you shop, point out all of the healthy ingredients you are purchasing and build excitement for the upcoming meals by equating the week’s meal plan to a movie trailer for the season’s blockbuster.
Make Meal Preparation a Team Sport
After putting forth all of that effort to plan your trip to the fabulous grocery store, the next natural step is to get everyone in on the cooking action. Following a recipe naturally lends itself to developing your child’s reading and math skills. I often make this a homework assignment for my students because it involves following directions, decoding, and using measurement.
Even the youngest of prep cooks can get in on the action. I give my one-year-old her own bowl and a whisk and she makes her own scrambled eggs “by herself”. I also point out each of the ingredients and ask her to taste test. This year for Christmas, she will receive her very own cooking set to embark on her very own culinary adventure.
Give everyone a job and work together. Let your kids take over the job of head chef and put you to work. Yes, your kitchen will most likely be a disaster, but messes are a sign of creativity at play! A great rock anthem can help make cleaning up after your meal a little more enjoyable for all, as well.
Eat Together as a Family
I think every parent I know holds dinnertime as sacred, but it is not as easily said as done. Perhaps with everyone’s work schedules, soccer practice, and music lessons it is impossible to eat together every night, but if you can try your best to make family dinner a regular occurrence, you will be richly rewarded.
This is the time to discuss your thoughts, feelings, and of course, how your meal turned out! It is perfectly okay to become your own food critics. Did your dish need more salt or garlic? What would you do differently next time? How many stars would you rate it? These discussions will fuel your next week’s grocery list!
Develop a Good Palate
Eating healthy foods does not mean sacrificing flavor. Food is life. On my first date with my husband, he asked me what my favorite food was. I told him strawberries and French Fries and he was horrified. He realized how ignorant I was in the ways of food and made it his mission to show me how amazing it is to explore the world through food. I now can out order him in a restaurant and I am attempting to pass along his teachings to my daughter.
You cannot claim to “dislike” a food until you have tried it three times, prepared three different ways. If not for this rule, I would have never realized the magnificence of escargot.
Do not be afraid of food. Try exotic foods. Be adventurous. We may eat with our eyes first, but sometimes foods that look unappetizing are the most delicious morsels you will ever have the pleasure of putting in your mouth.
Do not be afraid to get messy. Some of the best foods you eat with your hands and you do not have to be a toddler to enjoy it!
Get Up and Dance!
Maybe dancing is not for you, but staying active and exercising as a family is a great way to model a healthy lifestyle. I am a big fan of family walks. I like to load my daughter into her Radio Flyer red wagon while my husband wrangles our dog on her leash and stroll about the neighborhood.
We have so much fun chatting with neighbors, discussing our day, and pointing out things of interest to our daughter that we do not even realize that we were just exercising.
Maybe your family loves watching football. At half time, take a ball outside and toss it around. Or maybe yoga is your thing. For example, my daughter and I love “Mommy and Me Yoga”, which is a great workout and also immensely entertaining as babies climb all over their mommies, who are attempting to contort themselves into a yoga pose.
If you make staying active a part of your regular routine, it does not have to be placed upon your list of resolutions because it is already a part of your lifestyle. If you make eating healthfully and regular exercise fun, it does not seem like such a chore. It simply comes with the added bonus of making family memories.
This article was originally published on Creative Child. Check out this article and my other articles for Creative Child Magazine by clicking here.
How do you make being healthy fun with your family? Please comment and share below!