What are some nutrition must-do’s for 2013 to get my family on a healthy track?

A new year is always a good time to kick old habits that aren’t helping you be the best you can be, so start 2013 off right with my top 7 healthy habits for the whole family!

  1. Eat breakfast.  This isn’t “new” news, but breakfast is the most important meal of the day!  It gets your metabolism going and keeps your appetite regulated throughout the day.
  2. Research shows it’s important to stay active. Do it together as a family! (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/research/prc/)

    Exercise.  Spend time together outside with your family playing sports, taking walks, bike riding, skiing, and even gardening, which burns more calories than you’d think!  Being active helps you work up a healthy appetite, is good for your heart and blood pressure, and helps boost your mood, too!

  3. Eat fruits and vegetables.  As you can see each week on our weekly seasonal recipe blog, fresh fruits and veggies are the basis of a healthy diet.  These colorful edibles are loaded with good nutrition that will give your body the fuel it naturally needs.  I love sharing my favorite recipes with all of you—share the benefits of fruits and vegetables with the people you love!
  4. Get a Good Night’s Sleep.  Adults need approximately 8 hours and young children need at least 10 hours.  A restful night’s sleep reduces stress, anxiety and helps ease worry without any side effects.  Fix the bed-time routine to allow for down-time to get ready for the best part of the day.
  5. Share a family meal (bonus: cook together!). Get your kids involved in cooking, and they’ll pick up all kinds of healthy habits.  They’ll be excited to help you plan the menu and in the process will learn about new ingredients.  Spending time together as a family is important for children’s development, too, so make sure to focus on getting everyone at the table together at anytime of the day.
  6. Brush and Floss Your Teeth.  There are more germs in your mouth than on your hands, so make sure to keep your mouth squeaky clean by brushing and flossing at least twice a day.
  7. Recycle.  Teaching kids to respect their environment will help them find value in a healthy lifestyle.  And recycling isn’t just about bottles and cans—start composting at home and using it in the garden to help kids understand how their food grows.

Remember that these tips are all connected!  More fruits and veggies will give kids more energy to stay active.  Helping to make dinner is fun for kids, and they’ll be more excited to try the healthy dishes they helped prepare.  Get the ball rolling with these healthy habits, and you’ll see how quickly kids latch on.  Wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year!

How do you stay healthy as a family?

– Stacey Antine, MS RD, author, Appetite for Life and founder, HealthBarn USA

What puzzles you about keeping your family healthy?  Tell us what’s on your mind by emailing [email protected].  Stacey will answer those questions here weekly.

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