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Family Fitness: 10 Tips for Making Healthy Living Fun for the Family

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Raising a well-balanced, happy child is a significant accomplishment for any mother, one which takes skill and attention to detail. And since each child doesn't come with a custom guidebook, sometimes as parents, we are left to our "mom know best" intuition to figure out just the best ways to parent not only each child individually, but to raise a healthy family.

10 Tips for Making Healthy Family Living More Enjoyable

Check out these 10 tips shared at a MomItForward Twitter Girls' Night Out (#gno) with Together Counts for ideas on making healthy living fun for the whole family.

  1. Mix it up when it comes to packing lunches. In addition to the usual whole wheat bread sandwich with carrot sticks or fruit, try adding things like bok choy, which is a valuable source of folate and vitamins A, C and K.  @Vidia2Be packs it daily, vacuum sealing it for freshness. @OhioCatfish packs frozen strawberries, which thaw by lunchtime. And @MarlaMeredith offers a whole list of healthy lunch box tips.
  2. Plan theme dinners. Categories like Mexican, Soup Night, etc. are common. But what about Dinner Roulette, Finger Foods, Ghoulish Creations, and Colors, which is what @Vidia2be does?
  3. Add music to your dinner routine. @Bodhi_Bear says: "You know who is great at theme dinners that are meatless? BryantTerry: themes include music soundtracks.
  4. Make healthy versions of family favorites, like mini pizzas (see @Whyveg's video recipe), or chili with Quinoa, from @SavorTheThyme. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked.
  5. Schedule frequent family meals. If possible, plan more than one meal together a week. Try these conversation starter cards from @CherishBound to help spark conversation.
  6. Try unique ways to be active together, such Muggle Quidditch, which is apparently becoming all the rage, according to @WriterUnblocked and @CBSNews.
  7. Play paintball together, which @EarthAngel2Be says is better in cooler temperatures because of all the gear.
  8. Use computer/video gaming/TV time as an incentive. Have computer, video game, or TV time be the reward for spending active time playing. @EarthAngel2b says it was easy with her five kids.
  9. Cook with sweet potatoes more. @WhyVeg provides this great plan for Lily Pads, Yam Yums, and a fabulous dipping sauce, and says: "I have found that with my 3 year old daughter just renaming some foods with silly substitutes or cutting the “usuals” into cute shape will get her interested and eating some different foods."
  10. Involve the family in the meal-planning process, as recommended by @Bodhi_Bear, or at least have them write down a list of their favorite foods, as a starting point to thinking about what they do and don't like about healthy foods.

Ultimately, no one will live healthily if it's not enjoyable in some way, especially our kids. Making healthy living fun or interesting can make a mother's job easier. And ultimately, a son or daughter who is healthy is more able to think outside themselves and consider the needs of others.

How do you keep your family fit and healthy? What tips do you have for making healthy living fun for your family?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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