3 simple ways to improve your family’s health
40% of Gen X with kids, and 54% without kids, say it's too hard to work towards better health. Here's how to make it easier.
Having kids doesn’t have to make it difficult to improve your health. Only 40% of Gen X with kids say it’s too hard to make healthy changes, while 54% without kids say the same thing.
Here are three simple ways to work towards better health for the whole family.
1. Get moving
• Make active family time. Reduce the amount of sedentary activity you do as a family – for example, watching TV together. Instead, try to incorporate more physical activities like going for a walk, playing a game in the park or taking a family bike ride.
• Work activity into your daily routine. Find ways to alter your normal routine to allow more chances for physical activity throughout the entire day. This could be in the form of active transportation, or even everyday activities like chores.
• Move in front of the TV. Instead of lounging back while you watch TV, sit up on an exercise ball to stabilise your core and focus on your posture. You could even use the ad breaks to do a few simple abdominal exercises on the ball.
• Play with the kids. Get involved in the kids’ games. Running around with the little ones is a fun way to get your heart racing, and their energy and enthusiasm is contagious. Same goes for playing with pets!
• Swap Grand Theft Auto for Wii Fit. Get moving with a more active game and combine entertainment with light exercise. Even better if you play with your partner and/or the kids – a little friendly competition will get you working harder!
2. Food swaps
Creating a healthier lifestyle can be as simple as making a few small changes to your food choices each day. Here are some (easy!) swaps you can make now.
• Swap chips for popcorn
• Swap chocolate for dark chocolate or cacao treats
• Swap ice cream for frozen yogurt
• Swap vegetable oil for extra virgin olive oil
• Swap potatoes for sweet potatoes
• Swap couscous for quinoa
• Swap cupcakes for banana bread
• Swap white grains for brown
• Swap salad dressing for vinegar and lemon juice
3. Healthy home cooking
• Get organised. It’s easy to fall into the trap of ordering takeaway when you have no food in the fridge for dinner. Try to plan for the week ahead. Shop for the ingredients you will need for your meals and make sure you always have some staples in your kitchen.
• Make healthier choices. Again, substitution is key! You can easily swap certain food items or cooking methods for healthier alternatives. For example, swap frying for grilling, swap butter/oil for olive oil spray, and swap oily salad dressings for home-made salad dressing using balsamic, lemon juice, herbs or mustards. If you’re over cooking by the time Friday rolls around, instead of ordering takeaway, try these healthy alternatives to fast food favourites instead. You can still enjoy a yummy pizza that’s a healthier alternative to your usual Domino’s order – check out these ideas for homemade pizzas.
• Focus on balance. When cooking a healthy main meal, it’s important that you get the balance of foods right. The DAA recommends that you fill one quarter of your plate with good-quality carbohydrates, one quarter with lean protein and the rest with vegetables.