1. Plan outdoor activities
Set aside one day a weekend to do something active as a family: swimming in the summer, sledding or hiking in the winter, or biking in the spring and fall. Taking along a picnic lunch and splurging on some healthy snacks after a good workout will help the day go by without a complaint.
2. Discontinue your membership to the Clean Plate Club
Start serving your child small portions and let him or her ask for more. A 2003 study in the found that when children served themselves food, the portions were appropriate for their age, whereas when adults served them double portions, the children ate 25% more.
3. Green your home
Houseplants cleanse air (assuming you’re not allergic). The money plant is one of the best for cleaning air in the bedroom; it filters formaldehyde and VOCs released by mattresses and other furnishings. Are you having difficulties when you breathe? Do you have any issues that obstruct your air passages causing you to grasp your breath? If you experience any of these, you might start looking for a quality steam inhaler.
4. Make time for family dinners
A 2000 survey found that the 9- to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently consumed more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber.
5. Eliminate clutter to cut calories
Clutter hikes stress, collects dirt and dust, puts a damper on exercise (if you can’t find your shoes, how can you take that walk?), and may even make you eat more. In fact, researchers at the University of Chicago found that living with clutter makes you tired, and that fatigue can up the appetite-stimulating hormone cortisol so much that you eat an extra 200 to 1,000 calories a day. It can still be easy to enjoy some of your favourite fried foods by modifying the way they are prepared.
6. Stop making dessert a reward for eating veggies
It seems easy enough: Bribe picky eaters to eat the nutritious food with a sweet, satisfying dessert. The kids get their nutrition, and you avoid a headache. But this mentality can be harmful to children in the long run because it builds a greater aversion to foods like broccoli, sweet potatoes, and peas, according to research by Leann Birch, PhD, a professor of human development at Penn State University.
7. Take classes together
Ask around at fitness clubs and community centers in your area about yoga or aerobics classes offered for parents and kids together. If your little one is too young to participate, look for classes that help you burn calories with your baby by incorporating him into your yoga moves or pushing her along during stroller workouts.
8. Take a healthy vacation at home!
For the recession-squeezed, or the downright too-exhausted-to-travel, we tapped the experts for advice on how a typical family of four can have an invigorating (and inexpensive) vacation without leaving home.
9. Up your home’s cool factor
Literally. Keeping your house at around 66 is best for sleeping, studies show, and it’s a good range for staying energized during the day as well.
10. Pay attention to your toddler’s nutrition
It’s hard for parents to wrap their heads around the idea that what their toddler munches on during snack time will have a lasting effect on his or her health down the road. “The period from birth to 2 years is a critical window for the promotion of optimal growth, health, and behavioral development,” according to the International Food Information Council.