Be Your Family’s Healthy Living Advocate: 10 Tips to Improve Your Family’s Overall Health

By Ruwanthi Ekanayake January 17, 2017

Healthy choices are always easier to make when you have a strong support system. That’s one of the reasons that I launched the first-ever 4‑H Healthy Living blog: to create a platform for 4‑H’ers to share their stories and create national discussions about health.

A strong support system for health starts at home and YOU can be the change agent!

Try these tips with your family to get healthy together!

  1. Get active together.
    Plan times throughout the week when your family can exercise together. For example, I love going on walks or swimming at the beach with my parents and little brother. Try something new, like training for a half marathon or yoga classes–it’s a great way to bond and work out!
  2. Turn off the TV.
    I’ll admit, binge-watching my favorite shows is a huge temptation. But it’s also an easy way to waste a ton of time being inactive and even mindlessly snacking. Decide as a family how much time to spend per day in front of the tube, gaming or playing on the computer. For my family, two hours is a good limit.
  3. Bake healthier.
    Cookies, cakes–they’re delicious! Try substituting unsweetened applesauce or mashed bananas for butter or sugar for a healthier twist.
  4. Enjoy leftovers.
    Instead of throwing out food, transform your leftovers into delectable new dishes! Try adding a lean protein like turkey to soups or salads or use veggies to create omelets, sandwiches or stews.
  5. Get active with chores.
    Chores are a pain, but they’re also a great way to get the whole family to move! Yard work like raking, weeding or planting can be great exercise. Or, if you’re like me, blast some music and work on your killer dance moves while washing dishes, sweeping, or vacuuming!
  6. Make meal-planning a family activity.
    There’s nothing more fun than cooking with the fam! Collaborate in the kitchen to decide on nutritious foods and recipes to make throughout the week. Check the MyPlate guidelines to ensure you’re using ingredients from all the food groups!
  7. Share the love – include other families.
    The more, the merrier! Invite other families to join in some healthy activities like bowling or beach volleyball.
  8. Celebrate successes.
    Change doesn’t come easy, so reward yourselves for making progress! Take a fun hike or enjoy some healthy fro-yo ?