Your family schedule’s already insane—you’ve got work and household errands, the kids have homework an extra-curriculars—so how will you manage to exercise, eat together as a family, or even cook a meal instead of ordering for pizza?
Here are some tested tips from other busy families, on how to follow all that great advice that experts give but we never really have time for.
Pencil it in everyone’s calendar, just the way you schedule who gets to use the car and the kids’ pediatrician appointments.
So you’re not overwhelmed, break it down into tasks (for example, a healthy meal starts with meal planning and a grocery list), ideally something you can do in 30 minutes or less. For longer tasks, set a specific day every week or month. For example, Thursday morning can be Grocery Day.
Make it a bonding activity
The word ‘healthy eating’ or ‘exercise’ can feel boring, like ‘History test.’ You do it, but you’re not happy about it—and if you can, you’d skip it. Try to make it fun. Get the kids their own aprons and cook the meal together. Turn off the television and talk during dinner. You get to spend real quality time with each other and be healthy, too!
Now that’s a resolution you’ll all want to keep! Exercise doesn’t have to be a gym workout or a formal sport. It can be a friendly game of hoops in the backyard, playing Frisbee with the dog in the park, running in the lawn with the sprinklers on. Just 15 minutes of exercise—oops, we meant play!—can significantly lower your stress levels and burn calories.
Make it a healthy competition
We mean that in more ways than one. Who’s the family jumprope champion? How fast can you run from one end of the block to the other? Who can swim one lap faster? Or, invest in a Wii Fit! The games are great and you can play any time of the day, in any weather.
set a family goal
Make it fun, concrete, and something everything really wants to do! For example, you can plan a vacation in the mountains, and include hiking in the itinerary. Now that’s one motivation for everyone to ‘train’ regularly. Or since making your own meals is infinitely cheaper and healthier than ordering for pizza, stuff your usual ‘pizza money’ in a family piggy bank and save for a fun purchase everyone loves, like a new computer or a bigger TV.
Photo from people.uwec.edu