One of the biggest New Year’s resolutions in America is to “get healthier.” Unfortunately, for some adults, this means getting to a certain bodyweight. That journey can lead to behaviors that sabotage true, lasting health in favor of crash diets and quick fixes. Your children also pick up on those behaviors, especially girls. Studies have shown that young women are more likely to struggle with body image and poor relationships with food if their parents constantly dieted.
Healthy living comes from daily commitments to small changes rather than complete overhauls to your lifestyle. Here are some simple, effective ways to instill healthy habits for your Lake Forrest Prep student as well as your whole family.
Scheduling daily walks
Of all the exercises out there, walking is criminally underrated. It’s foundational for cardiovascular health. It strengthens joints and ligaments. It helps clear your mind and releases dopamine. Even something as short as a 15-20 minute walk can help chip away stressors from your day. Consider walking around your neighborhood as a family after dinner. It’s a great way to talk about your days and get in fresh air.
Committing to eating out less
It’s easy to go to a restaurant and not have to worry about fixing a meal. However, eating out (especially at fast food restaurants) limits your ability to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods. An easy way to reduce eating out more is by prepping quick freezer-ready meals. Frozen marinated chicken cooks in about as much time as a restaurant meal at a considerably lower cost. Add some rice, pasta, or roasted vegetables to the plate, and you’ve got a delicious meal that doesn’t break the bank and shows that eating healthy whole foods can be easy!
Investing in new cookbooks
Nothing gets people more excited to be in the kitchen more than a new cookbook or two! Plus, it’s a great way to familiarize your children with flavor combinations, proper food preparation, and the basics of building a complete meal from scratch. If you want more of a spark, find a celebrity chef your whole family loves and get their cookbook! There are also some phenomenal, kid-friendly cookbooks that are Disney or Harry Potter themed!
Limiting screen time
Screen time — whether it’s the TV, tablet or smartphone — impacts both physical and mental health for everyone. Try making a commitment to only watching an hour or less of television each day as a family. Maybe make the most of it by committing to a couple episodes of a show or an animated movie. Encourage your children to use their new free time to play outside, read a book, or help you around the house! Not only does it get them moving, reduced screen time breaks their dependence on screens for entertainment. You can also swap out one night of TV a week for family board game night!
Who doesn’t love a good brownie, ice cream sundae, or soda? These sweet treats can feel refreshing after a long day! However, diet culture tends to label foods as “bad,” and these labels can unintentionally set an unhealthy, fearful mentality around food. By showing your child that you can literally “have your cake and eat it too,” you can show that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean giving up your favorite treats! It just means being mindful of when and how often you eat them.
Being healthy doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s never accomplished through a magical diet, pill, or calling certain foods “bad.” The New Year is a great opportunity for you to talk to your child about making healthy habits rather than trying to rush the process. At Lake Forrest Prep, we encourage healthy habits — supporting mental and physical health. To learn more about what Lake Forrest can do for your child, give us a call at 407-331-5144 or schedule a time to tour.