Keeping a whole family healthy takes some serious work - and when you're strapped for time, it's tempting to let things slide. But staying in tip-top shape is easier than you might think.
Try these ten simple tips to keep your whole clan fit and happy.
10 TIPS TO KEEP YOUR FAMILY HEALTHY
1. BANISH SUGAR
Seriously: it's the fastest, easiest way for a busy family to improve overall health. If you can't completely eliminate it, cut way back.
And, beware of hidden sugars in products such as peanut butter, nondairy milk, ketchup and other condiments. If you do buy packaged snacks, look at the sugar content and stick to those with 10 grams or less per serving.
For dessert, serve a small portion of a low-sugar dessert like berries with whipped cream or pears and dark chocolate. This neutralizes the idea that dessert is a reward and makes the sweet stuff less of a Holy Grail.
2. COOK SLOWLY
Slow cookers are the fastest way to make a home-cooked meal. While your coffee (or tea) is brewing in the morning, fill your Crock Pot with meat, beans, or both. It's so easy - add broth, sauce or water and a handful of spices and turn it on low. When you come home, stir in frozen vegetables and you'll have a ready-to-eat meal by the time you set the table.
Family-friendly suggestions: pulled chicken, barbecue brisket, turkey chili, pot roast, short ribs, tacos, black bean soup and white beans with kale. Make more than you need and freeze extras.
When slow cooking won't work, embrace your microwave. Skip the high-fat, high-sodium prepackaged meals, and look for instant or frozen foods with less than 450 mg of sodium, 300-500 calories, 10-20 grams of protein, and less than 4 grams of saturated fat.
Or, make your own ultra-fast, zap-able meals:
-Microwave chopped vegetables with scrambled eggs and cheese for an instant omelet.
-Combine blueberries, mashed banana, oats, ground flax, and an egg, and microwave for breakfast.
-Microwave preseasoned chicken fajitas and peppers until done and serve with tortillas for instant dinner.
-Combine frozen vegetables with canned chickpeas, coconut milk and curry paste and microwave until hot for vegetarian curry.
4. TURN TV TIME INTO FITNESS HOUR
Get your little potatoes off the couch and let them watch the tube if they're moving, too. Do crunches, squats, or jumping jacks during commercials. Stretch or jog in place while channel surfing. Keep a set of hand weights in a basket by the sofa and bust out some curls or overhead presses during your favorite show. Do tricep dips or incline pushups using the couch as a prop. Make it a contest: whoever does the most burpees gets control of the remote.
Be the role model for your kids. If they see you doing it, chances are they will want to join in on the fun!
5. MAKE BREAKFAST EASY
It's the most skipped meal, which can have health consequences, especially for young ones. Kids who skip breakfast have diminished academic performance, a greater risk of being overweight and a lower fitness level.
Stock up on quick morning meals-to-go: make smoothies the night before and freeze in ziplock bags, or keep a bowl of boiled eggs, small containers of fruit and individual packets of almond butter ready for grab-and-go. Another great option for a quick and healthy breakfast is overnight oats. They are super quick to make the night before and they pack quite a punch in the nutrition department, all the while tasting so delicious! Make them however you like and you're sure to have a hit! Check out our 15 tips for the best overnight oats, here!
6. KEEP YOUR CREW WELL
Busy families don't have time to be sick! Keep everyone healthy with safe, effective immune-boosting supplements. For daily maintenance, use probiotics; dozens of studies have confirmed their ability to reduce allergy symptoms, improve immunity, lower inflammation and more.
IF your family does get infected, try elderberry, echinacea and andrographis; look for combination formulas in capsules or alcohol-free tinctures for the whole family. Or, try a kid-friendly nasal wash.
As always, be sure to wash your hands relentlessly. That 30-second ritual can save you days of sickness from colds or flu.
Another daily ritual that can keep you from getting sick is drinking oolong tea twice a day. The antioxidants in oolong tea help to build up your immune system and keep those pesky germs at bay. Personally, I have been drinking Okuma's oolong tea for 5 years now and I have yet to catch a cold! Brew up a big batch to share with the whole family and keep everyone's immune systems strong!
7. PRIORITIZE SLEEP
It's easy to skimp on the Zzz's when life is full, but lack of sleep can impact brain development, immune function, mood and even weight. Kids who don't get enough sleep are at a higher risk of being obese as adults.
To encourage a restful night, shut down electronics at least 30 minutes before bedtime and start dimming lights and noise levels throughout the house. For younger kids, create a nighttime ritual: brush teeth, read a story, or sing a song.
If kids struggle with sleep, try gentle herbs such as passionflower, chamomile, or catnip. Look for them as single or combination formulas in capsules or alcohol-free tinctures. Or, choose a homeopathic sleep remedy designed for kids; they're safe enough even for little ones.
8. DECREASE STRESS
You may think your kids are too young to be burdened, but studies show that even school-age children may have high levels of chronic tension and anxiety.
If your kids struggle with stress, help them cope; be sure they're getting proper sleep and nutrition. Don't overschedule them; down time is the fastest rejuvenator for kids (and grown-ups). Keep your home environment calm and peaceful, especially during high-rush, stress-prone times like mornings. And be sure to set a good example; it's hard to teach kids balance when you're a basket case.
You can also support your tech-loving kids with apps. One to try: HelloMind, a kid-focused app that offers guided hypnosis sessions.
9. WATER YOUR FLOWERS
Be sure your family is drinking enough water! Dehydration can lead to headaches, muscle cramps and even changes in mood. Encourage hydration by keeping water around; buy everyone his or her own reusable water bottle and post a reminder note on the front door to take water bottles before leaving the house. Other easy tips:
- Stock up on cans of sugar-free, fruit-flavored fizzy water to encourage sipping.
- Fill a big jar or pitcher with water and slices of orange or sprigs of mint for flavoring.
- Invest in a countertop water dispenser; kids love the novelty of refilling their own glasses.
- Fill ice cube trays with water, lemon and fruit and freeze to add novelty to iced water.
10. DRINK TEA
Did you know that Oolong tea is abundant in antioxidants, which combat free radicals (chemical by-products known to damage DNA and suppress the immune system)?
Oolong tea, specifically our WuLong and SlimTea, is also loaded with polyphenols, which have antiviral properties to aid in keeping you healthy. By drinking Oolong tea on a daily basis, you will be boosting your immune system to keep illness away. If you do fall ill, drinking our tasty oolong could shorten the duration of your cold. For an immune boost, add in some lemon, honey or ginger to your daily cup of tea!
This school year, be sure to keep everyone safe and healthy with these tips! Do you have any other tips to add? If so, let me know in the comments below!
Yours in Health & Happiness,
P.S. Always make sure to have plenty of Oolong tea on hand to keep your family healthy! You can drink it hot or cold so you can sip it year round! What more could you want? Pick up a box (or more!) and keep your pantry stocked for the upcoming cold & flu season. Just be sure you are drinking a safe tea with no added fillers or hidden poisons. Not all Oolong is created equal! Buy from a company who tests each harvest to ensure the highest quality and only the best!