Making Healthy Decisions as a Family

Making serious decisions to improve your health and the health of your family often requires lifestyle changes. For those decisions to actually work, it’s always best to include your family’s input and participation. Getting everyone on board makes it so your loved ones can all do their part to support your family’s goal of improving its health. 

But how can you involve your family in making healthier decisions? Take a look at the following ideas and concepts as a starting point on how you can all work together toward a healthier lifestyle.

Find More Time for Healthier Eating

When parents work all day, it’s hard to come home to clean, help the kids with homework, and make a healthy, home-cooked meal. Some things end up falling by the wayside — and it’s usually family meals. Missing out on the tradition of sitting together and having a healthy, home-cooked meal together has more repercussions than the quality of the food. Kids who eat at least three meals with their parents per week are less likely to be overweight, have better general fitness, and stronger social skills.

There are some ways you can avoid turning to pizza or fast food repeatedly during the week as a means of getting everyone fed and to bed after a long day. And the best part is, you can enlist the whole family to get involved.

Start with meal planning. You can visit the weekend farmers market as a family and buy your local produce, meats, and more. When you get home, you can work together to pre-cook some dishes to refrigerate for the week. 

You can also prep ingredients ahead of time to be quickly cooked. For example, use your weekend food and meal prep time to chop up a variety of vegetables, tofu, or pre-cooked chicken. You can then stir-fry handfuls of your pre-chopped ingredients in just a few minutes to serve a quick and healthy, nutritious meal.

Eating healthier (and food prepping) together as a family can build lifelong healthy habits for your kids. Reducing the risk of preventable diseases is possible when you make wholesome food choices. 

Balance Your Work and Family Life

The adults in the household are responsible for the direction the family takes. But they may be stuck working a demanding job full-time, leaving the kids to turn to others for help and support. Family bonding or a healthier lifestyle may fall by the wayside. 

As much as working parents and caretakers want to be everything for everyone in the family, they’re only human and have a finite amount of energy. As a parent or grandparent, it’s all too easy to feel overworked, burnt out, anxious, and neglectful of your health. Stress has physical consequences — it can impact your health by lowering your immunity or even lead to heart disease. Finding a healthier work-life balance, so you can take care of your needs, and have more time to spend relaxed, quality time with the members of your household is essential. 

It’s important for a caretaker to look at their priorities. Most parents don’t have the luxury to stay home full time with their kids because the financial responsibilities are too great. There are some ways you can still find more quality time with your loved ones but it requires the help and support of all your family members. Older kids may need to help around the house with chores. A spouse may need to take the kids to their sports and extracurricular activities. And perhaps the whole family needs to sit down and look at your lifestyle and spending to determine if it’s worth all the work to keep you in a large house with new cars every couple of years. Cutting back on your living and choosing more earth-friendly, sustainable choices can save a family money in the long run.

For example, driving a hybrid instead of a large SUV is better for the environment and can save you hundreds of dollars at the gas pump. Encouraging the kids to walk to school or ride their bikes could also cut down on the cost of gasoline and your family’s carbon footprint. Downsizing to a smaller house may save you money on the sales price or rental cost, the time it takes to upkeep the house, and the cost of the utilities. 

Once you cut back on some of your monthly expenses, you may be able to ease back on the number of hours you work per week. Examine your work schedule next. Does your company have a remote work program where you can work from home on certain days of the week? Or is there a flex option where you can alternate hours with coworkers? Consider how you can work with more flexible hours so you can spend more time at home to provide support and bond with your family. 

Committing to a Healthier Lifestyle as a Family Is a Process

When you decide to make changes as a unit to improve and protect your health, you may all find other ways to continue along in the process. Your kids may want to add a vegetable garden in the backyard. Your spouse may surprise you by asking to start a fitness program together. Continue evolving as a family and expanding your healthy lifestyle choices as a team.

Indiana Lee

Indiana Lee lives in the Northwest and has a passion for the environment and wellness. She draws her inspiration from nature and makes sure to explore the outdoors on a regular basis. Indiana loves experiencing new things and sharing with others what she learns through her writing. You can chat with Indiana on twitter @IndianaLee3