Staying fit and remaining healthy can be an ongoing battle if you’ve been brought up with unhealthy habits. Sometimes, staying healthy requires a fundamental change in your diet and lifestyle choices, requiring you to branch out and try new foods and new means of exercising. Involving the family is a great way of changing your lifestyle gradually, and accumulating that much-needed support.
The best way to stop yourself from snacking is to ensure that you are full throughout the day. Whether you try a shake diet or opt for sachet cup soups to close the gaps between meals, it’s imperative that you don’t let yourself go hungry. Here are a few ways in which you can ensure you stay full throughout the day:
- Avoid refined carbohydrates: simple carbs (white pasta and bread, for example) spike your blood sugar and are far easier to digest. This means you’ll find yourself craving something else to eat far quicker than if you ate something wholemeal.
- Fill your plates full of bright colors. They say to eat a rainbow, and this is true if you want to enjoy balanced nutrition. A good way of ensuring you’re getting a healthy variety is to fill roughly half your plate with fruit and veg. Adding it to sandwiches in your lunchbox also help you to rack up a higher total of vegetables in your diet.
- Protein: generally speaking, carbohydrates give you energy and protein helps you to stay full and build muscle mass. You need to have protein if you plan on exercising, too. It’s recommended that you add plenty of protein to your breakfasts in the mornings, as this is the best way to stay full for the rest of the day. When you have a little extra time on the weekends, why nottreat the family to scrambled eggs on toast, with some vegetables on the side.
- Avoid processed foods. Opting for whole foods is a far more affordable way of keeping yourself healthy. The most common way of illustrating this is to provide the example of a 100 calorie banana muffin: you could just eat a real banana and remain fuller, but with more nutrients. Processed meals, sandwich fillers, and other junk foods are pretty poor at keeping you satisfied.
- Create from scratch: it may take more time out of your evenings and mornings, but cooking from scratch is going to do far more for your satiety than pre-made meals. Making a wholemeal sandwich or a stew full of vegetables for dinner will be more hearty and easily more satisfying.
Stop demonizing foods
If you and your family see getting pizza as a ‘bad’ food, or ‘a cheat day’ then you will whisk it up into a bigger deal than it’s worth. The second you decide that junk food is not morally bad, or a big deal, the less likely you are to cave in and order it out of sheer compulsion. When you install a new health regime in your family, it’s important that you don’t tell everyone that they are on a diet of fresh vegetables and brown rice for the foreseeable future. This might in turn teach children to resent healthy food andsee it as punishment. Instead, you should phase in healthy food, and treat everyone to pizza or a takeaway every now and again.
If you’re not a particularly adventurous family, and you don’t plan on spending your weekends going canoeing or rock climbing, then this is absolutely fine. In fact, if you are planning to start staying fit as a family, it’s best to try out your new lifestyle choices slowly. Going out for long walks and easy hikes are an ideal way of spending time together and enjoying the great outdoors. Getting out of the house and spending valuable time together could even inspire you to try greater things further in the future.
If you don’t fancy making your entire weekend about long walks in the country, then just add them to your weekly routine. Taking the dog out for a walk or getting everyone out for a brisk stroll before their dinner is ready will cultivate an active mindset on a smaller scale.
Once you’ve become more active as parents and children, you can start to branch out into more adventurous activities. Visiting an adventure park could be a great way to test your limits and be active in a way that’s truly thrilling. These adventure parks could see you zip-lining and rock-climbing, and maybe even kayaking if they have a lake to play on. These outdoor playgrounds also have plenty to do for those who are more timid and frightened of heights, so you won’t have to worry about those who can’t quite face abseiling. Mountain biking, for example, could be a much more inclusive activity.
Sign up for charity
If you’re looking for fitness activities outside of family life, then signing up to charity races, and other sporting events such as triathlons, could give you much-needed motivation. Once you’ve signed up to one, there’s no backing out. Once you sign up to training too, you might start to discover an incredibly helpful community. You might make new friends, which in turn can encourage you to get you out of the house more, and give you a renewed sense of social inclusion.
Make activity fun
If your children hate any form of activity, or resent breaking away from their video games, then a good mentality to instil is one way of making tasks fun. Playing music around the house while everyone tidies away and making chores a game, will help lighten the load a little bit. It will also get everyone up and off their feet without them being entirely aware of it.
Outside of domestic duties, it’s important to have fun with your kids. If the idea of your children becoming couch potatoes worries you, then it is down to you to ensure they enjoy activity as much as their video games. Encouraging them to get up and dance and have fun and play games in the garden will benefit both them and you. If you have kids who love soccer, then try and participate in some backyard games. You might not be the world’s best goalie, but it’s the thought that counts.
Pre-book after-school time
Most people are tired and sleepy once school empties. Setting time aside to spend a few hours with your children can easily be missed if you all get home and slump on the couch. To avoid this, put time aside for just you and your children. Maybe book in an hour at the trampoline park, or organize a walk around the park for half an hour or so. It doesn’t have to be a big after-school activity, just something to keep you out of the house for a little while longer.
Keeping both you and your family healthy is sometimes an uphill battle. For instance, you may have fussy eaters on your hands, which is a struggle in its own right. It could even be a bit disheartening to put a lot of effort into a meal, only for someone to reject it. However, as with sport, it’s important to treat it as a fun adventure. Cooking should be a pleasurable task of trial and error. Equally, time spent with your children should be fun and a time for exploration. Activity should inspire your children to want to spend time outdoors, not deter them for a lifetime.