Simple but Effective Healthy Lifestyle Habits for Your Family to Try

As a parent, your ultimate goal is for your family to lead a healthy lifestyle, but sometimes that’s a little easier said than done.

When you’re feeling motivated and eager to live a healthier life, it’s tempting to want to make big changes to your family’s current lifestyle. However, trying to maintain big changes in your diet and exercise routine is really tough and doesn’t always work well, especially with kids. A much more effective approach is to incorporate new healthy habits by gradually replacing less healthy ones.

Here are 8 really effective—but super simple—swaps you can make to improve your family’s health overall.

1. Replace a glass of fruit juice with a glass of fruit-infused water.

Did you know that fruit juice can be just as bad as soda? Most fruit juice is sweetened with sugar, but even 100% fruit juice is still loaded with natural sugars and acids that can cause havoc with your kids’ general and oral health.

If your kids love fruity drinks, start the transition by replacing just one glass a day with natural, fruit-infused water. Try adding some lemon and mint to their water bottles for a subtle flavor, or up the taste sensation with berries, watermelon, or mango. It can be a lot of fun to try different fruits to see which flavors taste best!

2. Make one dinner a week a meat-free vegetarian meal.

Adding in more vegetable-based dishes to your family’s meals is absolutely worth the effort. Not only does it help you meet or exceed your family’s recommended nutritional needs, but it also gives you and your kids a chance to experiment with different vegetables, whole grains, and other meat-free sides.

Incorporate this habit by simply making one dinner a week a meat-free vegetarian meal. From there you can gradually build up to more veggie meals or even find new favorite vegetable sides you can serve all throughout the week.

3. Replace an hour of video games with a family board game.

Video games can be a fun outlet for kids, but most parents will agree that the less screen time, the better. If your kids love games, try to replace an hour of video game time with an hour of board games or card games. The little ones might be excited by a simple game of snap, and you can introduce more complex games like monopoly or checkers as they grow older.

Even if your kids aren’t excited about the idea, we bet that once they get into a board game they’ll be hooked! You might even start a weekly family game night.

4. Trade 30 minutes of outside play for 30 minutes of TV.

On the topic of screens, are your kids spending a bit too much time in front of the TV? Rather than banishing television or YouTube, consider doing a bartering system instead. A great starting point is to offer your kids 30 minutes or one episode of their favorite show for an equal amount of time outside playing or exercising.

Most kids will often get so involved in playing that they’ll be busy for longer than 30 minutes.

5. Swap potato chips with homemade veggie chips.

Salty potato chips are delicious, but definitely not the healthiest option. If your family loves snacking on crunchy chips, try making vegetable chips instead. Using just your oven, you can experiment with all types of veggie chips, including kale chips, zucchini chips, beet chips, and sweet potato chips.

Here is an easy recipe to start off with.

6. Chop up real fruit to replace super sweet fruit cups.

Fruit cups are a favorite for many kids, but just like fruit juice, they’re often loaded with sugar. You can save money and offer a smile-friendly alternative by making your own fruit cups.

You can find small food storage containers about the size of a fruit cup at the local store. Gather up your kids’ favorite fruits and get to chopping! Be mindful of which fruits you choose and the size of the pieces so as to not pose a choking hazard for youngsters.

7. Switch ice cream for low-fat frozen yogurt or sorbet.

Family movie night doesn’t feel quite complete without a bowl of ice cream. You can keep the sweet treat but take a healthier approach by swapping ice cream for low-fat frozen yogurt or a fruity sorbet.

If your family enjoys making sundaes, a vanilla frozen yogurt with chopped fresh fruit and sugar-free candies or chocolate syrup can be a nice touch!

8. Exchange hectic nights for the brush, book, and bed routine.

Oral health is important to your family’s overall health. If your kids seem to struggle at bedtime with brushing and flossing, try to change up their routine the Triple Bs: brush, book, and bed.

At around the same time every night, gather together in the bathroom and brush your teeth as a family. You can even play a two-minute snippet of a song to make it fun. Afterward, pick out a book to read and get cozy in bed.

Reach out to We Make Kids Smile for guidance on your kids’ oral health.

You already know that diet has a big affect on your kids’ oral health, but sometimes knowing what foods and drinks are best for your child’s smile isn’t so straightforward! Whether you’re wondering if orange juice is okay with breakfast or if your child should be having more dairy for calcium, the team at We Make Kids Smile is here to help.

If you have any questions or it’s time for a check-up, you can either call our closest office or fill out this form to book a time with your child’s pediatric dentist.

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