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Embracing a New Year: Simple Tips for Family Wellness

Say hello to the dawn of a brand-new year that is filled with promise, possibilities, and a great opportunity to focus on your family's health and well-being. As we bid a fond farewell to 2023 and usher in 12 months of endless possibilities, let's embark on a journey together to continue cultivating healthy habits that your entire family will enjoy!

Nourish Each Day with Thoughtful Meal Planning

The cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle begins in the heart of your home – the kitchen! Kickoff 2024 and incorporate a weekly family meal plan that everyone loves. This not only saves you time (because #parentlife gets busy!) but also ensures that your family enjoys a variety of nutrient-rich meals every week. Whether you’re coming home from a long day of work, needing a good dinner plan after a busy day filled with your kiddos’ sports events, or you have an abundance of Pinterest recipes you’ve been wanting to try…a weekly meal plan may just be the perfect answer for you!

Start simple by creating a weekly meal schedule that incorporates a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats. Feel free to get the whole family involved in selecting recipes and even preparing meals together. Something we’ve heard and love is asking your little one, “What color do you want to try and eat more of this week?” This not only fosters a sense of togetherness but also empowers your kiddos to make nutritious choices.

Here are 3 simple steps to get you and your family started on making these delicious meal plans:

  1. Create a “Master List” of meals that your family will actually eat (and enjoy!)
    Categorizing recipes—whether that be “10 minute meals” or “Family Favorites” means that you have an arsenal of recipes on hand when you need to prepare for the upcoming week. Don’t forget to also include recipe ideas that your family can cook without you too if you know you’ll have to travel for work or activity from time to time.
  2. Leverage your weekly “reset” time to decide on the recipes.
    If you dedicate time each week to look at the upcoming week’s events and plans, use this time to also plan out the week’s meals. Planning around events you and the kiddos have during the week will transform dinner ideas from a scramble to a cinch in no time!
  3. Shop for the meals you’ve planned for.
    Now that you have a set of recipes and a game plan in mind for your week’s meals, it’s time to create your shopping list! Rather than trying to remember specific ingredients, having a designated shopping list for your week’s meals means you’ll get to pick up any household essentials that are needed without overbuying. And don’t forget to “shop” what you may already have on hand in your pantry and fridge as well!
Pro Tip: Batch cooking on weekends can be a game-changer. Prepare large quantities of family favorites and freeze individual portions for stress-free, wholesome meals on busy days.

Building Balanced Plates

There’s no universal, “one-size fits all” solution when it comes to a balanced diet as every family has unique dietary and nutritional needs. That said, an easy, simple way to work towards a well-balanced diet is to build balanced, delicious plates for the entire family to enjoy. It’s normal to instantly think of chicken breasts, broccoli, and brown rice when you hear “balanced plate,” and while this is a delicious sounding meal that we personally love, it is only one of endless meal options for you and your family.

Achieving a well-balanced diet is like orchestrating a symphony of flavors and nutrients on your plate. Encourage your family to create balanced meals by following the simple rule of filling half the plate with colorful vegetables, one-quarter with lean protein, and the remaining quarter with whole grains.

Pro Tip: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different recipes to keep things exciting and explore new tastes together with your family. Think outside the box – try quinoa, brown rice, or whole-grain pasta as alternatives to traditional starches.

Stay Active, Even in the Winter Chill

Turn winter into a wonderland of fitness by exploring activities that embrace the season. Take family walks in the crisp air, build snowmen, or engage in friendly snowball fights. Indoor activities like dance parties, yoga sessions, or even home workouts can keep the whole family moving.

Pro Tip: Don’t forget that everyone—especially kiddos—should wear sunscreen and stay hydrated when playing outdoors, even during winter!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate!

Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily life, it's easy to overlook the importance of staying hydrated and refilling our water bottles. Here are some tips and ideas to make sure your family stays hydrated all year-round:

  • Get creative and flavor a bottle or pitcher of water with sliced fruit (such as strawberries, oranges, and cucumbers)
  • Make smoothies and popsicles with your kiddos! It’s a great way to try out new flavor combinations and your little ones will enjoy a fun and exciting way to hydrate.
  • Let your kids pick out a fun water bottle with their favorite character on it or let them enjoy a new beverage with a silly straw!

Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection

Remember, the journey of a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Give yourself extra grace (because we all need it) on the not-so-great days and make sure to take a moment and truly celebrate the wins, no matter how big or small they are. Parenthood and family life can make the days feel like a complete blur (we’ve all been there!) but fostering healthy habits translates into your emotional and mental wellbeing as well.

Being a parent is one of the hardest, and yet most gratifying, jobs out there. It’s easy to find yourself constantly thinking about “what’s next,” feeling burnt out, and like you have little to no space to breathe (especially when it comes to the ever-fun flu season each year…). Here’s your gentle reminder that it’s completely okay to take some quiet time for you to regulate so that you can continue being the incredible parent you are.

Whether it's trying a new vegetable, achieving a fitness milestone, or simply enjoying a delectable meal together, take the time to celebrate and relish in this healthy journey for you and your family. Each of you represents a unique part of this journey so make sure to celebrate one another and all of the special moments you’ll experience—together.

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