by LORI-ANN MARCHESE
As we are reaching the peak of summer, many parents are in the middle of bringing their kids to summer camp, organizing their family’s weekly schedules and chores, or are searching high and low for at least one day off from work to go to the beach.
Summer is full of endless events and commitments, and it seems almost impossible to balance your schedule with family time.
I am here to tell you that carrying out these small steps, will make it possible for your family to be healthy, strong and connected throughout your busy summer. It is possible to be the fit family that you have always wanted to be.
Of course, it will not be easy, but making small progressions will be your key to success.
As my summer involves a restless, and ongoing routine every day, I not only devote my life to my family, but I have learned to balance my vigorous schedule with managing my full-time business, and taking care of my newborn. To this day, I am constantly finding ways to make sure I spend as much time with my family as possible, and keeping them as healthy as can be.
First things first, before you follow these tips on how to keep your family strong, healthy and connected this summer, you must be fully committed to this motion.
The first step toward making your summer all about you and your family is make sure you schedule time for it. Create a timeframe that is meant for “family time” and make sure it is written in your schedule for at least once a week.
If you struggle with persuading your family to get together, plan something during that “family time” that will pique interest for everyone. The best way to use your time to its potential is to include either fitness or nutrition.
Whether it’s going on a bike ride with everyone, taking an early morning hike, a walk on the beach searching for shells and sea glass, or going to the nearest public lake where you can rent out kayaks, these are perfect ways to keep your family healthy and active. The possibilities are endless. Go to your nearest public pool, and create a water game that the entire family will enjoy. Water activities will not only keep your family healthy and strong, but it is the ideal medicine for beating the heat.
If you have a baby, grab a stroller and bring your child along for the journey. If you are somewhere that you cannot use your stroller, use your baby’s weight to your advantage, and build up your arm strength. Once you have become fatigued, pass your baby onto your partner. There are many ways to incorporate your little ones, you just have to be creative.
Focusing on doing activities that involve the outdoors will only better your family’s immune systems, and open the door to many activities that keep you active all summer long.
To better your family’s health and wellness, chose activities that keep each member in your family moving, but most importantly, make it enjoyable!
We must not forget about your family’s nutrition. This summer is dedicated to you and your family’s health and wellness
When shopping in the grocery store, bring one of your kids along, and find an assortment of food that you know they will enjoy while balancing out the nutritional value of those items. This is the time to try to persuade your kid into trying something new.
When you are preparing snacks or family dinners, ask the entire family to pitch in. More helping hands not only mean that dinner will be on the table quicker, but it is an opportunity to make your own decisions on what you add to your food. When you prepare your food at home, it allows you to control the sodium and fat values. Not to mention, this is the perfect occasion for creating memories with your family. Snack ideas entail homemade yogurt parfaits, homemade popsicles, and finger sandwiches that are in fun shapes using cookie cutters.
As for dinners, better alternatives to cooking would be grilling and baking with minimal sodium and fat flavorings. Straying away from the high sodium flavor packages, and choosing whole, dry ingredients, such as oregano, basil, etc. will nutritionally upgrade your meal. Choosing to make grilled vegetables, lean meat of your choice, and a lower caloric, wholesome carbohydrate will result in a well-balanced meal!
Splurge and enjoy your favorite fish that you have not had in a while. Swap out that French onion dip and potato chips with homemade low-sodium hummus or guacamole paired with whole wheat chips/crackers. Instead of ordering a pizza to go, grab your family, and create your own personalized pizzas. Take your creations to the grill, and it will guarantee a taste that you will always be craving. This allows you to choose whole wheat pizza dough, low-sodium sauce, low-fat cheese, and natural ingredients for your toppings. For your protein, the addition of grilled chicken is seamless, and a few pieces of pepperoni won’t kill you.
The best way to make your meal planning easier is to make time during the day, or laying out the schedule for the week of what you and your partner will be serving your family for dinner.
Nutrition is absolutely necessary for fueling your family, and keeping them strong and healthy.
A point I must not stress enough is to always drink your water. Staying hydrated throughout the summer is crucial. If your family has a completely packed day, make it a rule that everyone in the family must drink at least one glass of water before they leave the house, and when they all return home, they replenish as soon as they can. With that said, make sure you pack water bottles for your family members, so throughout the day they will not have the worry of being too thirsty or the possibility of becoming dehydrated. Water is crucial for your body processes as well.
Finding something that the entire family enjoys is essential for the health, strength and connection of your family. Making small progressions makes all the difference in order to succeed, and before you know it, your family’s health and wellness will be unlike you have ever seen.
Lori-Ann Marchese is the owner of Body Construct LLC in New Britain.