Friday, March 22, 2013

Becoming Healthier As A Family

Today I have a guest post!

Carolyn is a 20-something year old with a passion for life, fitness and overall well-being. She is an avid cycler, golfer and has been known to bust some serious moves on the dance floor. Check out Carolyn’s blog at

Becoming Healthier as a Family in 2013

Since March is National Nutrition Month, it has been my goal to raise as much awareness as possible about the need for proper nutrition in today’s families, particularly in kids. With obesity rates and Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis on the rise, it’s as important as ever to make sure your family is eating as healthy as possible and getting enough exercise.

For some families, that won’t be a big deal because they already do that – but looking at today’s health statistics, there are many families that are struggling to get their family’s health under control (mine included….). If you are concerned about your family, take a pledge to start a healthier lifestyle today. Here are some tips to get you started:

Eating Healthier
Make Easy Swaps
Making easy and healthy food swaps was one of the first things I taught my own family members. For dinner, we've been using brown rice instead of regular white rice and we've switched to lean meats instead of fattier cuts.

Use Smaller Plates
One of the best ways I've found to eat less is to simply use a smaller place. A small plate tricks your mind into thinking that you're eating a lot when the plate is full of food, while you're actually eating a lot less.

Avoid Fast Food and Cook at Home
It can be easy on your way home from work to stop and pick up something from the fast food restaurant near your house, but it is a lot healthier and rewarding to cook dinner at home. If possible, prepare meals ahead of time and freeze them so that you need only heat them up when it's ready to make supper.

A Quick Healthy Snack Recipe
A healthy afternoon snack that will take care of your sweet tooth is to take an apple and cut it into pieces. Drizzle honey or sugar-free caramel onto the apples and top with mini dark chocolate chips. This is delicious,  and a healthy alternative to chips or candy bars!

Regular Exercise
Introduce Cardio
Cardio exercises are any that get your heart pumping and your skin literally dripping with sweat. These types of exercises might include walking, jogging or running, or some other combination like Crossfit or Bootcamp.  Be sure to find one that fits your needs perfectly so you will stay with it!

Lift Weights
You do not have to become a bodybuilder, but lifting light weights can help tone muscles and get rid of excess sagging skin when you're in the process of losing weight. For kids, a great way to do “weight training” is to use resistance bands – they use your own body weight against you, so there is no issue with dropping weights on feet, lifting weight that is too heavy, etc.

Exercise with the Family
One of the best ways to keep things interesting is to do your workout with the whole family. You can either go to a local park together or you can exercise in the backyard while playing a sport, or even go to a class or do fitness activities at home. My family loves to do Zumba and Yoga in our basement. According to orthopedic doctors from Syracuse’s Orthopedic Center, yoga can increase balance, posture, flexibility, and even one’s ability to regulate stress, which are all great things that can benefit people of any age!

Exercise According to the Season
Be sure to change your exercises according to the specific season you're in. Try to workout indoors or in a local gym when it's cold outside and do all of your exercises outside when it is nice and warm. This will keep things updated and interesting for you and your family.

You can visit Carolyn on her blog!

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