Most parents I know find it challenging at times to keep up with all of the day-to-day demands of parenthood – especially those who commit to living and teaching their children healthier lifestyles. After all, it can be admittedly tough to carve out dedicated time to exercise while at the same time resisting the allure of fast food in favor of cooking up and serving healthy family-style meals. That said, there’s good news on the parenting front for all of you who strive to do just that. The fact of the matter is that there’s more than meets the eye to many of the most common and even the most seemingly mundane of household chores. The following are but a few of the many ways to open your eyes to new possibilities and re-think the way you approach everything from gardening to grocery shopping.
Grocery Shopping. Grocery shopping is all too often an overlooked opportunity. Not only does it provide a good opportunity to get up and get moving (burning up to a rumored 150 calories an hour), but walking the aisles of the grocery store with your child can prove to be a healthy learning experience. You can engage even very young children by getting them to help identify the wide range of colors found in the produce aisle. Older children can get some extra exercise of their own by holding your hand and walking alongside the cart as you stroll the aisles. Don’t forget to look at labels together, discuss how to choose good, healthy options and learn to compare prices.
Cooking. Solo cooking at the end of a long day can easily seem like yet one more daily chore. But by simply adding a few extra pairs of hands to the mix, you and your children can accomplish a whole lot more than simply getting dinner on the table. Involving children in cooking has all sorts of added perks when it comes to instilling healthy habits, not the least of which includes learning how meals are made and finding ways to use healthier ingredients and techniques (think baked not fried). Add in the extra math skills inherently involved in learning to use measuring cups, measuring spoons and following recipes’ step-by-step instructions, and making time to cook together is sure to deliver your child plenty of extra healthy food for thought.
Cleaning. Parenthood and a clean house may seem mutually exclusive, but they really don’t need to be. Not once you shift your mindset and think of cleaning house as a fun multi-tasking opportunity. That’s right, just Google “cleaning” and “exercise” and you’ll be happy to see that this dust-combating combination yields some pretty healthy calorie-burning results. So turn on some motivating music, put a little extra spring in your step and invite your children (once they’re old enough) to join in the fun as you dust, polish, scrub and vacuum your way to a cleaner and more active life.
Gardening. I do not have a green thumb, per se, but once you take a step into the great outdoors and take a moment to think about it, I think you’ll agree that gardening has a whole lot to offer even the most amateur of gardeners – fresh air, plenty of physical activity and digging in the dirt (which for most children truly is a treat). There’s also sure to be lots to be proud of when it comes to the fruits and vegetables (and even spices) of one’s labor. In fact, I can think of no better way to get children excited about eating more fresh fruits and vegetables than giving them the opportunity to help plant, weed, pick and serve them themselves.
How do you fit healthy habits into everyday activities?
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