“You are what you eat” is a statement one has grown up hearing but as soon as the yummy burgers and mouthwatering pizzas comes forward, this statement is eradicated from the mind. Eating healthy is a huge challenge where all you can see is fast food chains around you. Moreover, even the internet is filled with adverts pointing towards best takeaway and delivery deals, how could it not be so tempting?

Preparing your family is a huge challenge. You maybe all set with healthy recipes and imagining yourself with a healthy, happy glow feeling energetic, but is your family ready to ditch the fries and ice cream? Kids of today enjoy the grossest of foods filled with calories and fat leading them towards obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other such long term health issues.

Having the entire family follow a healthy routine helps stick to goals and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Families serve as a motivation factor for all and make the entire switch feel more of a family achievement than a torturous change. Firstly, when switching to greens and salads, make sure you are buying organic food. Organic food not only tastes better because it has travelled less, it is picked when closed to ripeness thus making it more intense and delicious. Moreover, organic food is grown in fewer pesticides and is hormone and antibiotic free. By switching to organic foods you also end up supporting local farmers, hence a part of greater good too! Take the kids out to grocery shopping where they can pick fruits and vegetables. Give them a chance to figure out how to prepare their picked vegetables in a healthy way and serve it for dinner. This will make healthy eating a new and enjoyable experience for them.  When introducing salads and greens, do not suddenly change the entire meal plan, start with small steps and small changes so that they are easy and fun to follow.

If you want to introduce a change, you should lead the change. In order to prepare your family to eat healthy, you have to be a role model for them. You have to begin by eating healthy and exercising so that they have an example to follow. Do not push the issue if your family is not readily accepting the change. If they see you practicing a healthy lifestyle, they will follow too, stay patient. Usually, the new taste is not appealing. Look for fruit powders or vegetable powders to begin with. These will provide the nutritional values and promote a healthy living.

Snack time is one time where eating habits tend to fall apart. People go towards food that is readily available. Having dried fruits, vegetables or healthy frozen food available at that time will ensure that the wrong eating choices are not made. These will be healthy and quite fulfilling too! Also, cooking at home helps ensure you stick to your healthy eating goals as you can control the portion size and choose ingredients that are healthier. Instead of frying food, options like grilling and baking can be easily used. Switch to whole grains such as whole wheat flour, whole wheat bread, brown rice etc. When cooking at home, also realize the difference between good fat and bad fat. Fats such as in nuts, dried fruits, and vegetable oils of canola, corn, olive, sesame are good substitutes and should be incorporated in daily eating. Chicken, fish and beans should also be incorporated in the healthy cooking meal plans as they are high in protein.

Cooking at home also reduces the intake of salt. Salt is a dangerous ingredient that is very high in processed and junk food. By cooking at home you can control the amount of sodium intake that is consumed in the form of salt. Sugar is another ingredient that needs to be controlled when moving towards a healthier lifestyle. Sugar is high in carbonated drinks, alcohol, desserts, chocolates and juices. Pledge to stick to consuming water rather than these sugar loaded substitutes. Lime or berries can be added to the water for extra flavor and to avoid sugar cravings.

For a healthy lifestyle forty minutes to an hour should be dedicated towards exercise. This can be one hour of sports in the park or dance classes for the family. Walk and jog are great ways to stay fit too. Since the entire family is involved, try thinking of activities that are fun and engaging. This way exercise will feel like a family time rather than a necessary activity towards the new lifestyle change. Exercise keeps the kids active and releases happy hormones which strengthens the love and optimism in the family. Apart from exercising, a proper sleep pattern is very important too. Sleep is very important towards a healthy growth. “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise,” try incorporating this proverb in daily life and you would feel its importance. Prepare a daily plan where the entire family starts its day together and ends it together, this way everyone would be synchronized. Plan activities such as movie time or storytime in between so that kids do not feel that a robotic schedule has been set for them.

Switching to a healthy lifestyle requires a lot of self-control, resilience and determination. It cannot be enforced on the family but rather be adapted by looking at the role model. Prepare for good, healthy meals, try engaging the family in exercises and activities that involves them having fun and the road towards healthy living will be paved. However, remember not to force any new changes all at once, give it time and slowly you will be prepared. Surely, then your mission to lead the family towards a healthy lifestyle will be accomplished.

Guest Poster: James Smith

James Smith is an avid prepper with a passion for self-protection at all levels. He loves to write about medical skills and how we must be prepared for any kind of emergency situation.