Warm weather means barbecues and social gatherings focused on food, but it also provides more opportunities to get outside with your family and make good on your goal to lead healthy, active lives. Getting outdoors together for a regular activity or sport increases both fitness and your bonds as a family. The following simple tips may help you think about other ways your family can get active and work together on healthy eating.
* Exercise without realizing it. Physical activity is something you can incorporate into your family’s daily life. When going to the mall, park in the farthest spot in the lot and walk to the entrance. Use stairs instead of escalators.
* Fool your eyes and your belly. Trick yourself and your family into eating less by using smaller plates. The larger the plate, the more food you’re likely to put on it — and the more you are likely to eat.
* Be a role model. Learn about portion control, read labels and look for smaller packages of your favorite foods. “No one ever said you need to give up the foods and drinks you love to be healthy, but you just need to enjoy them in moderation,” says Alisa Winters, a registered dietitian. Many companies offer portion-controlled options to help manage calorie intake. For example, Coca-Cola now offers a 90-calorie Mini can for quenching smaller thirsts.
* Put down your fork. Slow down and enjoy your meal. Take time to concentrate on what you eat and really taste the flavors and feel the textures of the meal.
* Bond together. Make dinner about enjoying time together. Encourage everyone to help in preparing healthy meals, and don’t use the dishwasher after dinner — wash, dry and put away the dishes as a family. It will give you a few more minutes together.
“Living a healthy lifestyle as a family can still be fun. The key is to balance calories you consume with regular exercise,” Winters notes.
And last, but not least, don’t plop down in front of the television after dinner. Get out and take a walk — and bring the family!
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