Healthy habits for families
It’s back to school time! Mums around Spain are getting books, backpacks and lunch boxes, checking shoes and uniforms and getting ready to return to the routine of the school year. This is a great time to establish healthy new routines and eating habits to ensure that the whole family are fit, healthy and eating the right food to provide the nutrition you all need.
Here are some tips for starting the new school year as you mean to go on and helping your family be healthy, eat well and support you to reach your target weight.
Integrate exercise into your daily routine
We know life is busy, so think how exercise can be incorporated into your daily routine. Can you walk into school each day, or at least walk at the end of the day if mornings are too tight for time? Walking is a great way to burn calories and also have time to talk.
If you’re dropping kids off at sports or activities, can you fit in a trip to the gym, a fitness class or walk round the field while they train? Rather than all watch TV can you do something active, even if it’s playing the Wii? Can you practice a sport together as a family?
Think of ways that you all find motivating to make sure you’re getting active and use a tracker to make sure you’re moving enough each day. There are lots of great resources for getting active on our website, check out our Cambridge Active section for guides and ideas on increasing your fitness and exercises you can do at home.
Drink lots of fluids
Most of us don’t drink enough water and we can mistake feeling thirsty with feeling hungry and eat when we don’t really need to. As a rule of thumb, you should drink 2-3 litres of fluid a day to maintain good health and when you’re dieting, we recommend drinking more as you’re not getting as much fluids from your food. Drinking plenty of fluids during the day is an excellent way to keep us feeling full and get rid of the waste products associated with the breakdown of fats resulting from weight loss.
Encourage your whole family to drink more and to swap sweet, fizzy drinks to water, or low sugar alternatives. Give each member of the family a 2-litre bottle or jug at the beginning of each day and get them to drink from this to track their fluid intake and make sure everyone is drinking enough throughout the day.
Make simple food switches
We know it’s hard to change food habits, so don’t do it all at once. First step is to explain to the family why it’s important to eat healthier and try to change your attitude. Then think about reducing processed foods which are high in calories, fat, salt and sugars and replace them with healthier choices.
Go slow and steady and start small so you don’t have a revolt on your hands. Here’s a great resource from the NHS on healthy food swaps. They recommend things like swapping whole milk for semi skimmed or skimmed milk, swapping white bread for wholegrain and choosing tomato sauces over creamy or cheesy varieties.
Snacks are a big culprit for empty calories and loads of sugars, fats and salt, but there are lots of naturally delicious options you can try. Try your kids on raw carrot, cucumber and red pepper sticks and olives for munching in front of the TV rather than crisps. If that’s too much of a stretch, popcorn is a good low-calorie alternative which is also high in fibre. Rice cakes are delicious and low in calories. Top with peanut butter, cream cheese or marmite for a healthy snack. Hummus or guacamole are easily made at home and offer nutrition as well as a great snack for after school. Try it in a wrap or with wholemeal bread sticks and crudité for dipping. And of course, fresh fruit is sweet and delicious and a great way to get those nutrients.
It may be a struggle at first, so don’t push too hard, but if you can get your family to make one healthy switch a week, you can make the change for the long haul and start getting your family to love healthier food and make better choices.
Cook at home together
Learning to cook is a great skill to give your children and cooking together is one of the best ways to learn about food, appreciate the ingredients and calories in food and make better choices. Most importantly it’s fun and something to enjoy together – it even encourages reading and maths if you’re following recipes. Cooking from scratch with fresh meat, fish and vegetables is the easiest way to reduce your calories and fat and get lots of great nutrients.
If you’re trying to lose weight there are some excellent low-calorie recipes which you and your family will enjoy. Hayley Blackburn lost four stone and five dress sizes following the Cambridge Weight Plan and is developing great recipes for the different stages of the plan which fit into your calorie requirements and are totally delicious. Follow Hayley on Facebook
Get the right support
Do your research and get educated on healthy eating, nutrition and exercise to help your family on their path to better health. It’s essential that you have someone with you on this journey to better health and weight loss, as it’s not easy to make a change. Buddy up with another Mum to encourage each other, or join up to Cambridge Weight Plan Spain and get your very own consultant who will be by your side to support you, encourage you, advise you and keep you on track to achieve the best results.
Cambridge Weight Plan was developed, tested and validated by expert nutritionists and researchers to help thousands of people worldwide lose weight and live healthier, happier lives. We know Mums lack time to dedicate to themselves, but also want to set a good example for their families. This is why the combination of convenient, delicious and nutrition packed products, with healthy “real” food choices and consultant support really works.
From Step 2 onwards you’ll be able to enjoy a healthy, low calorie meal with your family, each day. Our consultants have lots of great recipes to share with you and you can get their advice on nutrition and lifestyle for you and your family. Best of luck with making these changes, we are here to help you every step of the way. Find a consultant near you.