Moms and dads, get the whole family involved in moving more and eating right. If that sounds great in theory, but you're not sure how to make better health a family affair, check out the following five-step plan.

To help you start your New Year right, Lake Regional Health System is providing education to Lake Sun readers on various ways to be healthier in 2018. For more tips, check your mailbox for Lake Regional’s January Thrive magazine.

Board games, movie nights and vacations — lots of things are better as a family. And that includes getting and staying healthy. 

“Health habits — good or bad — tend to get passed from generation to generation,” said Lake Regional Pediatrician Jason Hagely, M.D. “Parents need to be conscious of the example their own habits set for their kids. This is an area where actions are a lot more important than words.”

So, moms and dads, get the whole family involved in moving more and eating right. If that sounds great in theory, but you’re not sure how to make better health a family affair, check out the following five-step plan.

Make family time active time. Explore a new trail at Ha Ha Tonka or the Lake of the Ozarks state parks. Encourage everybody to train for a charity walk or run. Is somebody’s birthday coming up? Celebrate with something active — a pool party, volleyball game or hike. And ask your kids for ideas on ways to be active as a family. Then follow through with some of their favorite picks.

Use screens with care. Every moment sitting is a moment nobody’s moving. Create a media use plan for each child that balances screen time with sleep, exercise and time away from media. For kids age 2 to 5, limit screen time to one hour a day. For kids under age 2, use screens sparingly — for high-quality content or video chatting with family — and only while interacting with your child.

Keep a family activity log. Track everyone’s progress and post the results on your fridge. For a sample log, go towww.lakeregional.com/screenlog.

Provide healthy food choices. Put a bowl of washed fruit on the table where it’s easy to see and grab. And shop smart at the grocery store. Choosing good-for-you foods is easier when foods like chips and candy aren’t in your pantry.

Gather in the kitchen and around the table. Let your kids help you plan and prepare healthy foods. Eat together as a family, too, as much as you can. Table time helps kids and parents stay close — a real win-win. 

More Free Inspiration

Want more free health tips? Sign up for Lake Regional’s free Keeping Well E-newsletter. Delivered once a month to your email, Keeping Well provides up-to-date information on health topics you choose (for example, parenting, women’s health, asthma, diabetes). Sign up today at www.lakeregional.com/eNews. 

Sources: American Academy of Pediatrics; National Institutes of Health