With nearly 15% of American’s youth being obese, it’s no surprise that people are looking for answers. In an economy where both parents are needed in the workforce, some parents aren’t there, and other parents are struggling to get by it can be a complete mystery on how to keep a healthy family. The good news though, is healthy families are not impossible.
There are a lot of ways your family can work together to make sure that health isn’t as big of an issue as it is statistically in this country and it starts with you, the parents.
Perhaps a more shocking fact about the obesity crisis is that 1 in 7 of low-income preschool aged children are obese. These children are 4, 5, and maybe 6 years old and they’re already at a higher risk for diabetes, heart problems, stroke, and high blood pressure. What does this mean? Essentially, obesity is higher for lower income families and there are really very few doubts about why that is. There’s a stigma associated with eating healthy that makes people think it’s impossible to do on a budget.
I’m here to report some great news America, and please share it with your friends, health is attainable on almost any budget! You have to be willing to work for it, you have to know the importance of it, and you have to above all else – protect yourself and your family.
What is the secret to a healthy family in today’s society?
The secret is – drumroll please – knowing that it’s possible. You absolutely must get past the excuses. They are crutches and when you continue to allow yourself to rationalize your unhealthy habits you simply will not get healthier and as a result, your family will not get healthier.
So there’s three key components to leading a healthier family, cutting your medical bills, improving your children’s quality of life, and being happier as a unit.
- Cut out excuses; decide why it’s important for your family to be healthy and active, and remind yourself of that every time you come to an obstacle. Stick to your guns, and don’t let anything stand in your way.
- Get back to basics; keep things simple and go back to grass-roots efforts. Try implementing more natural whole foods slowly. Don’t go on a diet! Simply switch from frozen to fresh, processed to pure. You’ll see a huge difference in that alone.
- Get creative financially; going raw or natural may seem expensive, but if you get creative, shop farmers markets and local deals, and ask for help, it can be really affordable. Check the video(s) below to find out more about healthy cooking and healthy shopping on a budget.
Video: Cooking Healthy on a Budget:
Video: Family Shopping on a Budget:
Important rules for keeping your family healthy and happy
So now that you know the big secret about eating healthy as a family, what are some basic rules that you can follow to keep your family healthy on a budget? What’s important to stick to, what can wait?
Rule #1 – Go with frozen, Skipped canned!
Choose frozen over canned, every times. It can be easy for busy moms and dads to grab some canned veggies with the plan, “hey, this is healthy, it’s a veggie” but the truth is, canned foods are chalk full of sodium and you’re getting a lot less for your money. Buying frozen veggies in bulk saves you dollars and it also has more nutritional value.
Rule #2 – Get prepared to pack your lunches!
It can be tempting to pay the school for your kids lunches, and for some parents who’s kids get free lunches, it makes it all the more tempting. Not to mention the junk foods like lunchables that are as cost effective as a dollar for lunch. But munch on this – by opting to spend more money right now, you’re saving a TON of money on medical bills. A recent study shows that the medical costs associated with obesity alone have reached 147 Billion dollars a year, that’s a record high.
Video: Healthy Lunch Ideas
Rule #3 – Cut out processed foods!
Artificial coloring, additives, synthetic sugars; these things not only cause addiction in your children, but as they get older, they cause cancer. Recent studies have even compared allowing your kids to drink soda, to allowing them to drink whisky. It’s not far-fetched either. If you haven’, I’d encourage you to watch this Ted Talk on how much sugar is in our kids MILK alone in one year. The data is absolutely shocking. We should be preparing our kids for healthy and happy lifestyles, which means giving them the best foundation we can.
Video: Saving Strategies
Ways to get the whole family involved in a better life
Whether you can believe it or not, most often our younger kids are really dying to spend more time with us. I mean quality time. So, there are a few ways you can not only enhance your household’s health, but you can build your relationship with your children simultaneously and I want to talk about those a little bit.
Grow your food
Growing your food has a few advantages to it. You’re not only contributing to your own healthy family by reaping some delicious home-grown veggies, but you’re also adding value and teaching your kids the importance of self-sufficiency. Let your kids help choose some foods to grow, and give them daily tasks like watering their plants. This teaches them responsibility and they get to enjoy the food they make.
Video: Teach Every Child About Food – Jamie Oliver
Family fun ideas that involve being active
If you want to have a healthy family, that means getting outside and getting active as often as you can. I’d make it a point to at least do one outdoor family activity a week to get that heart pumping and introduce your kids to all life has to offer. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out these active family fun ideas.
- Going to the park
- Horseback Riding
- Mystery hunt (scavenger hunt)
- Family walks (bring the fur babies!)
- Apple picking or fruit picking at local farms
- Water balloon fights
These are just some of the fun ideas you can do with your kids to keep them active and heck – what better opportunity to be a kid again?
Video: How to stay ACTIVE with the family: 3 FUN tips!
Resources for your Healthy Family:
- No Kid Hungry – Educational program.
- HealthyAmericans.org – Quick information and resources.
- Health.gov – Learning, government resources, etc.