Facts are, when we have a family we’ve got to shop and cook in order to eat well and be well. Although these chores are admittedly not as easy as zipping through the drive through and unwrapping a hamburger, doing these things don’t have to make us crazy. And, just like exercise it can easily become part of a routine that will add years to your life and your children’s life!

Once we get it down, we may find that organic foods and exercise are not only designed to make us feel good, they actually give us a sense of well-being throughout the entire day.

The trick is to find balance. Here are 6 habits that busy families can easily implement in their lives.

1- Make exercise time, family time. Children love to emulate their parent's behaviors. If we exercise more than two times a week, our children will look forward to exercise! 

You may want to increase playtime outside with your children (bike riding or swimming) to promote a healthy body and brain. There is plenty of evidence linking improved academics to physical activity. Young adults who have a regular exercise routine ‘routinely’ report a greater sense of productivity, less depression, and a healthier body.

2- Healthy fit families don’t rush or stress when it’s time to eat. As a mother of two children, we use calming voices at the table and focus on healthy digestion when it’s time to eat. (One can also use calming music to help decrease stress-eating.) As a family, we avoid the shoveling effect! (otherwise known as inhaling food) This practice is accomplished by chewing after every bite. This one habit ensures we take the necessary time to enjoy the taste, colors, and aromas of what we eat. Just using this one step can improve digestion.

3- Crowd out diets and diet foods. Facts are, we are more likely to gain weight when going on a diet. And if mom is always on some kind of diet her daughters will follow in her footsteps. The real key to health and fitness is replacing destructive habits with successful healthy habits. New habits are hard to form at first but much harder to break. To implement try adding colorful foods to every meal. May it art. Ask your kids to try a different color food for seven days. See how creative they can be.

4- Research tells us children can have a hard time learning on processed foods. Parents can influence their child’s food preferences and how well their brain functions, by making subtle changes to snack time. (FYI, if you eat the same foods every day-it’s time for change.)

Make sure to include organic fruits, seeds, and veggies such as: apples, celery, hummus, grapes, avocados, bananas, spinach and raw pumpkin seeds. With the right tools in the kitchen, you can create a guacamole dip or homemade summertime juices. My favorite juice recipe for 4 is: two large peeled cucumbers, five cups watermelon, five fresh apples, one stalk celery, and seven cups of filtered water. Place all ingredients in juicer.  (optional mint garnish)

5- When you know your farmer, you know where your food comes from. You may open yourself up to meet more likeminded families that enjoy good, clean foods grown without pesticides and chemicals. Some farmers may even have duck eggs instead of hormone laden chicken eggs found in the supermarkets. Seasonal fruits and veggies from a farmers market taste so much better and are more nutritious than conventional foods. Buying local isn’t just about our health and the food itself.  When we buy local, we help reduce the “carbon footprint” that exists from all the food being shipped all over the world. You’ll find it isn’t actually much more expensive. Sometimes, it’s even less.

6- Find a reward system that doesn't include food. Most schools use foods to reward children. And most parents do the same. Find a reward system that works in your household that doesn’t include food. These can include: learning a new craft or reading a favorite book.

Author:Connie Rogers is a Certified Integrative Nutritional Holistic Health Coach, Certified Brain Health Coach, Published Author, Wellness Blogger, Professional Researcher.

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