It is hard to believe that 2015 is only one day away. Millions of people across the nation are making plans to achieve their New Year’s resolutions involving healthy eating, weight loss and physical activity.
If you are like most Americans, you start out your year with the best of intentions regarding your resolution. You go to the gym and eat fruits and vegetables every day, just as you had planned. However, a few months later, your work schedule gets busier, and your kids’ afterschool activity schedules change. Everyone’s New Year’s resolutions suddenly fall to the wayside.
This year, why not try something a little different to help both you and your kids stick to your New Year’s resolutions? As one of your child’s most significant role models, take the initiative in 2015 to create and model healthy lifestyle and eating habits for you and your entire family.
The University of Georgia Extension and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics provide some useful tips to help you accomplish your family’s healthy lifestyle resolutions in 2015.
Serve regular meals and snacks that include nutrient-rich foods. Some of the most nutrient dense food includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products. To reduce stress around meal times, set aside time at the beginning of every week to plan meals with your children. By getting the kids involved, they are much more likely to try healthier dishes that you incorporate into meals.
Fuel up the family for the day with a nutritious breakfast. Be sure to include whole grains, fruit and low-fat dairy in your breakfast each morning. The protein in the dairy will keep you full for a longer period of time, and the fruit and whole grains will provide an abundance of vitamins and fiber. If your family prefers cold cereal for breakfast, be sure to opt for cereals that are unsweetened or contain only a few grams of sugar per serving.
Make health your focus rather than weight or clothing size. When you are having a conversation with kids or when they are within hearing distance, do not talk about your weight or make comments about weight. A healthy lifestyle includes so much more than just how much a person weighs. The last thing we want to do is give kids a false impression of health.
Enjoy family meals together each day or as often as possible. Many parents and guardians think that family meals can only be at dinner. However, any opportunity to share a nutritious meal or snack with children and discuss everyone’s day is worthwhile.
At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Here in Middle Georgia, we are blessed with an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables from farms. When produce is in season, plan a family trip to a you-pick farm to allow your kids to learn about where food comes from and to get them more excited about consuming fruits and vegetables. When produce is not in season, opt for frozen produce as it is often times less expensive but just as nutritious as its fresh counterpart.
Fit physical activity into your family’s day. Take a family walk or bike ride after dinner or go for a weekend hike. If you have older children, go outside and shoot basketball or help them practice for upcoming baseball or soccer games. Keep in mind that children and teens should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and adults should get at least 150 minutes of activity each week.
Although achieving your family’s health and wellness resolution may seem difficult at times, be sure to take small steps toward larger goals and try to remain positive. Your child is listening to everything you say. When you complain about disliking physical activity and vegetables, your child is much more likely to adopt the same attitude toward healthy lifestyle changes.
Rebecca Creasy is the Houston County Extension agent for food and nutrition and family and consumer sciences. Contact her at 478-987-2028 or firstname.lastname@example.org.