Ingredients for a Healthier Family: Cooking, Eating and Playing Together

By Laura Bartron, Regional Nutritionist, Leisure Sports Inc.

You want the best for your family, especially when it comes to their health. But sometimes it can be overwhelming to make changes when you face resistance, feel overstretched, or simply aren’t sure where to start.

Experts recommend you start by making changes as a whole family. Parents are the key to helping children learn about healthy lifestyle choices. As the team leaders you should lead by example and through education.  Talk to kids about exercise and about why you eat fruit as a snack, take an exercise class, or go for walks.

If your kids are young, now is the time to start. Don’t wait until your child is at an unhealthy weight to institute good eating and activity habits. It’s much easier for kids to maintain a healthy weight and develop taste buds for healthy foods while they are young.

Cooking together is an excellent way to get kids interested in food.  It may not be possible to do it every day, but invite kids into the process of preparing food. To them it’s another form of play and experimentation. Kids are more eager to try new things if they’ve had a hand in the preparation. Young kids can learn math skills by measuring and they’ll begin to understand the principles of cooking.

Eating together goes with cooking together. It gives parent get a chance offer nutritious food and note their kids’ likes and dislikes. It’s also an important time for families to connect with each other and talk about daily triumphs and troubles.

Being active together may seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. This can be as simple as taking the dog for a walk after dinner, after all Fido is part of the family and deserves to be fit too. If you go to the gym regularly, take your kids with you. Many fitness centers provide age appropriate activities so that everyone can benefit from a trip to the club.

Creating a goal chart can be fun for the whole family and is a good way to remind everyone to eat enough fruits vegetables and protein; drink water and exercise. Make it fun by setting family goals, such as exercising every day and eating fruits and vegetables. Keep track of and praise those who meet their goals by adding stars or stickers to their chart. And when the whole family achieves the goals, do something fun together to celebrate the accomplishment!

If you’d like ideas on ways to engage your kids in the kitchen www.thefamilydinnerproject.org is a wonderful resource.

 Laura has been transforming people’s lives for more than a decade with her holistic, clean eating programs specially designed to fit the unique lifestyle and goals of each individual. Laura offers private consultations and a variety of seminars and programs encompassing weight loss, sports performance, detoxification, hormone balance, anti-aging and disease management and prevention. She is also available for corporate wellness seminars offsite or at the club. Laura received her Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition at Clayton College of Natural Health in 1995 and went on to obtain certifications as a Nutrition Consultant and Instructor through Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts. This past year, she became a certified personal trainer through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Her contagious passion for health and wellness combined with her unpretentious teaching style and actionable programs appeal to novices and the nutrition savvy alike. Named Best Nutritionist of the East Bay three consecutive years (2006, 2007 and 2008), Laura has become a widely-respected authority on holistic nutrition. She has worked as the Nutritionist for Renaissance ClubSport for eight years and as the Regional Nutritionist for Leisure Sports Inc. for the past five. She invites you to actualize your greatest potential for optimal health and longevity by taking advantage of the innovative classes and services she offers through Renaissance ClubSport. Laura can be reached at (925) 942-6366 or via email at laura.bartron@clubsports.com.