Most of us want nothing more than for our families to be happy and healthy. While there are plenty of factors that contribute to living a happy and healthy life, there’s no doubt that our health and happiness are inextricably linked.
There’s plenty of evidence out there that demonstrates the links between a poor diet and low levels of physical activity with conditions like depression, anxiety and stress, so surely if we can make some improvements in terms of our overall health, it will have a positive impact on your overall levels of happiness.
With this in mind, I’ve pulled together a list of some simple things you can do in terms of nutrition and physical activity to help improve the health of your family, and in turn foster increased happiness levels at home.
Many of us endorse the theory that good health is 80% nutrition and 20% exercise, so if you want your family to live a healthier life, diet is a good place to start.
While there are plenty of schools of thought about what’s considered ‘healthy eating’, the biggest challenge for most of us being organised enough to whip up some quick and healthy family meals at the drop of a hat so we don’t resort to ordering from the local take-away.
Here are some tips to help you get organised in the kitchen and promote good nutrition for your family:
- Your freezer is your best friend. It’s proven that freezing food doesn’t diminish the nutritional value of most foods, so you’re not doing your family any harm by serving up a frozen meal that’s been reheated. A good way to ensure you always have some fast, nutritious meals that can be on the table within a matter of minutes is to set aside a Sunday afternoon each fortnight to cook up a storm, making double batches of dishes that freeze well like bolognese, casseroles, curries, soups or zucchini slice.
- Start meal planning. Finding inspiration for what to make is often one of the biggest hurdles stopping people from cooking at home, but if you plan your meals for the week in advance, you’re more likely to follow-through with your healthy eating plan. To make meal planning easy, start maintaining a list of all your favorite recipes in your phone or on your computer and try to add a new recipe every week or month so you’ll never be stuck for meal ideas. You’ll also gradually build your cooking repertoire which is a bonus!
- Outsource your grocery shopping. If you struggle to get to the grocery store each week, try ordering online and having it delivered to your home instead. Most supermarkets now offer online ordering services where you can set up a regular shopping list so you can order everything you’ll need to cook for the week in a flash so your pantry will always be well stocked.
- Use a meal delivery service. If all else fails, sign up for a meal delivery service that takes care of everything for you. Whether you choose a delivery service that sends you all the ingredients you need to cook the meals yourself, or you opt for frozen meals that you can simply heat and eat, you’re less likely to order in if you always have ready-made or easy-to-make meals on hand.
Once you’ve got the families’ nutrition sorted, it’s time to focus on how you can encourage them to be more active. Before you start Googling for ‘Fitness Clubs near me’, there are countless ways you can get fit and healthy for free. Here are some favorites:
- Avoid using the car. Many of us get in the habit of jumping in the car every time we need to go somewhere, but before you turn on the ignition, think if there’s a better way to get there—like walking or cycling. If you need to get somewhere that’s too far away to walk or ride to, see if you can go halfway then catch transport the rest of the way.
- Recruit some friendly competition. Making fitness fun is often the biggest challenge, so why not turn your exercise into an event by inviting some friends to meet your family at the local oval for a friendly football or cricket comp. Guaranteed to be loads of laughs!
- Plan some family outings. Being active doesn’t necessarily mean you need to work up a sweat. By simply planning a family outing to the zoo, beach, theme park or museum, you’ll be getting everyone out of the house and walking around.
- Set them a challenge. In an age where we can track our every step and movement through on our phones, fit bits or smart watches, why not set your family a challenge to see who can be the most active. You can even include a prize for the winner for some extra enticement!