As a parent, one of our greatest goals (and challenges!) is to set a good example for our children. We teach them to share with others, do their homework on time, and learn good manners…but are we instilling the important lessons of eating well and staying physically active?
Here are 10 Fun Ways to Keep Your Family Fit!
1. Take your kids to the supermarket: Next time you are cruising the produce aisle have your kids choose an interesting fruit or vegetable they’d like to try. Being a part of the food shopping expedition can be both educational and empowering for your youngins’.
2. Let your kids take on the role of assistant chefs: Studies show that when kids are actively involved in food prep and cooking at a young age, they are more likely to try new foods and take an interest in eating well. Have them help you by washing foods, stirring ingredients, or chopping veggies if they’re old enough.
3. Create-Your-Own Special Snacks: Have everyone create their own family-fun-style smoothies, pizzas, trail mix or oatmeal bowls using a variety of healthy and yummy ingredients. One of my favorites is to add spinach to a fruit smoothie. Call it a BananaBerry Blast and add baby spinach. The spinach gets so small they won’t even taste it. I’m not a believer of being sneaky in the kitchen and tricking your kids.
4. Go to the local track: Paying for gym memberships for an entire family can be expensive. Instead, plan weekly meet-ups at the local track and run laps. Add a little friendly competition by creating “mini-Olympics” relay races!
5. Find a trail: Disconnect cell phones and reconnect with family and nature by finding local walking trails in the area. It can be the perfect time to get fresh air, enjoy the scenery, and catch up on each others’ day. Check out www.TrailLink.com to find trails near you.
6. Play the game: Instead of yelling at your kids for playing sedentary video games all day, make it a family affair! After dinner, plug in the Nintendo Wii and play active games like Dance Dance Revolution, Kickboxing or Tennis! You’ll burn even more calories from laughing so hard.
7. Family Fun Run (or walk): Build character and fitness by signing up for a Family Fun Run. Together, you’ll raise money for a good cause and get a great workout to boot. The shared memory of crossing the finish line as a family and working as a team to help your community will be the best feeling of all!
8. Plan Fam-Fit vacations or day trips: Head to a nearby mountain for a day of skiing, go for long bike rides, or go apple picking at a local farm. Combine these heart-pumping outings with a healthy picnic lunch to optimize the experience.
9. Taste Test Challenge: Each week, have every member of your family write down one or two nutritious foods they’d like to try and place into a hat. Each week, draw a food selection from the hat and incorporate the ingredient into a crowd-pleasing recipe! Not only will this make healthy foods fun but it may also inspire the picky eaters in your family to be more experimental! Some ideas: quinoa, edamame, tofu, and avocado!
10. Plant a garden together: Become a green-thumbed family by planting fresh fruits, vegetables and herbs! The family will get a great workout cultivating the garden. There’s always something special about healthy, organic food grown straight from your backyard that makes it taste extra delicious.
Article written by Mitzi Dulan, reprinted courtesy of 435 South  magazine.