Creating Healthy Family Traditions
By Daddy Nickell
One of the most important things you can do to maintain a healthy family lifestyle is to create family traditions. What kind of healthy family traditions does your family consider important? Do you play a sport together, swim or make healthy dinners as a team? Now is a great time to start incorporating healthy activities into your own family. I guarantee your kids will be game as long as you’re doing it together. And as your children grow older, you can share the details about how your family traditions got started and why they’re important. They may even continue the traditions with their own families someday. Here are a few ideas you can incorporate into your own family:
1-Exercise as a family. Incorporate it into your family fun such as day trips to nature preserves with hiking, going swimming at a local pool or lake, biking together as a family on bike trails or within your neighborhood, or even a game of kickball in your own backyard.
2-Be good role models for kids for healthy eating and exercise. It’s hard to ask your kids to do something you’re not planning to do yourself. Provide the family with balanced meals and snacks and show them how important physical exercise is for the mind/body/spirit.
3-Introduce your kids (and you!) to new types of exercise and healthy activities. Attend a yoga class together, sign-up for a dodge ball league, sign up for a run that’s fun for even young kids like the Color Run, or try trail running as a family.
4-Make healthy food fun. We convinced our kids early on that each veggie or fruit gives you some sort of super power—like carrots for amazing eyesight, green beans make you run faster, and bananas give you big muscles to lift heavy things.
5-To get your kids to try new foods, play the dice game. They roll the dice and are required to eat as many bites as the number on the dice. This could be used for new foods or just foods on their plate.
6-Start a backyard garden with the family. It does double duty as it provides exercise and healthy foods. Kids love to dig in the dirt and are so proud of foods they’ve grown themselves. Once they are a part of the action, they are far more likely to find a love of new fruits and veggies.
7-Incorporate the family in meal planning and grocery shopping. My kids love nothing more than to push the kid cart around the super market and help me find foods we need to complete our meal plans. We take a few minutes each week to put together the weekly meal plan and when they provide input it’s more exciting for them.
8-Cook meals together whenever possible. Kids love to help in the kitchen from stirring, to chopping up lettuce for salads and buttering bread. Kids take pride in helping out and will be more inclined to eat what they’ve helped prepare.
Parenting Expert and father of 7, Robert Nickell (aka Daddy Nickell) offers his “5 cents” worth of advice to expectant and new parents. Daddy Nickell is the founder of Daddy & Co., delivery room duds and daddy gifts and apparel for every stage of fatherhood, and the Daily Daddy Blog. He is also the creator and producer of “My Life as a Dad,” the groundbreaking new web series that showcases celebrity fathers offering their personal experiences and parenting tips.