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Creating a healthy lifestyle for your family

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Fitness_Hike_Kids

We all need to make fitness and health a priority! What motivates me is knowing that I need to set an example and model it for my kids. We all know that chasing after our kids in the park or driving them all over town for their sports or doing laundry may burn off a few calories but it does not count as exercise. It is easy as parents to get busy and forget to prioritize our own workouts. I am more motivated when I can involve the whole family with weekend hikes and walks/runs on the beach or a long bike ride. This is also a great way for our kids to see exercise as fun rather than a chore. A few months ago, we implemented a monthly family hike in our house which gives us more quality time with our teenage daughters and an opportunity to get outdoors … each month, a different family member gets to pick the trail.

It is important to teach kids about healthy lifestyles that include exercise and balance in what they eat so they do not get into the yo-yo mentality of extreme dieting. In school, we have seen girls as young as nine talk about dieting and making hurtful comments about other girls body shapes. It is challenging to know how to address this and support your child in having a healthy body image.

This year, my girls asked me to limit the amount of “snacks” in our pantry so that they would be forced to pick up an apple rather than a granola bar. We also made a decision to not keep sweets in the house… we have baking supplies on hand so that if they really get a craving, they can make something but it limits the daily sugar intake. We bought clear storage containers that we load with healthier snacks that make it more appealing… rice cakes, nuts, dried fruit and pretzels. We keep the fruit and veggies stocked and for school lunches, they cut a bell pepper in half and fill it with tuna or chicken salad.

How are your family’s eating habits? This is a good time to get back on track with healthy eating and cooking dinners and sitting down as a family each night.  Stop by Lazy Acres, Gelsons, or Whole Foods and you may find that you’re more inspired to cook when you see all that fresh produce, great fish counters and even healthy take-out. Cut up fresh fruit and vegetables and make them accessible so that your kids are not grabbing for the packaged foods first.

We are fortunate to have great fitness programs in our community. You can find full gyms, small specialized yoga and pilates studios, kickboxing classes, master swim programs, boot camps… there is something for everyone and many offer trial programs! The key is finding the perfect fit that will keep you motivated. If joining an existing program does not fit your schedule or budget right now, consider walking a few days a week with a friend or ask your child to bike next to you while you go for a run. Check out the many options available in our FITNESS DIRECTORY >

January 23, 2015

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