Your home environment is one of the top places that can make and break your health and nutrition goals. By creating a “healthy home” environment that promotes healthy eating decisions, physical activity, positive body image, and general support and love between you and those within your household, you are much more likely to be successful in achieving your overall healthy lifestyle goals! We have 7 great tips to help you develop and strengthen this positive home environment to help make your goals easier to reach!
1. Make Family Dinners a Priority. Family (or friend/roommate) dinners provide a device free opportunity for a family to reset, communicate with each other, and practice healthy eating habits. Make sure food is plated in the kitchen to promote healthy portion sizes and set aside at least 20-30 minutes for the meal to allow for light, positive conversation and time to develop slower, more mindful eating habits that can minimize over eating. If schedules prevent this from being a consistent habit, choose at least a day or two a week where dinner or breakfast can follow this model.
2. Schedule Family Walks. In the evenings or on weekends, set aside time to get the family together for a walk around the block. This also allows for device free conversation, promotes positive communication, and allows for accountability to promote consistent physical activity. Usually try and do this as a bridge between a busy work day and dinner to allow time to “wind down/de-stress,” creating a more positive evening routine and ability to gain good quality sleep.
3. Do not utilize food as a source of reward or punishment. Using food in this way promotes negative behaviors surrounding food and can lead to binge eating difficulties or other disordered eating type behaviors. Create food as something that is enjoyable and a good source of sustenance. Provide a variety of foods to try, with a wide range of colors and allow each person the option to determine when they are hungry or full; do not promote the “clean your plate method.”
4. Let everyone have a say/take part in the food preparation and meal choices. This allows for increased variety and creativity of meals, development of cooking skills, family bonding, as well as an increased appreciation for the meal provided. This is a way of making “meal prep” more fun and allows for food choices to not become monotonous or just a chore.
5. Minimize less healthy options that are kept in the house or only make the available in healthy portions. Not having less healthy options available makes you less like to reach for them on a stressful day or when you are having cravings. This being said, if less healthy options become “forbidden” it can also create a strong desire to binge on them or sneak them when they are made available. Therefore, if a couple less healthy items are portioned out in the house (e.g. in Ziplocs or single servings) and discussed that these items are included a couple days a week where only one bag is taken at a time, it will begin to promote healthy inclusion of these tasty treats.
6. Create a “stress free zone.” We all inevitably have stressful days or times where we need a moment to ourselves. Create a space within your home that is the “stress free zone” where family members/roommates can go when they need a moment to decompress. Include an option for some relaxing music, possible essential oils, a comfy place to sit, and some positive artwork/quotes. This can create an escape to stop stress from “blowing up” earlier on, to keep the mindset in the household calmer and more promoting of healthy lifestyle.
7. Make it a priority to point out the positives. Promote self-care and self-love by helping identify positives about a family member’s attitude, successes, or something that makes them beautiful/handsome. This promotes a mindset that creates self acceptance and positive body image that can minimize negative behaviors surrounding food and exercise.
What tips do you utilize in your home to help promote a healthy lifestyle from food and physical activity all the way down to communication??
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Wishing you a week filled with positivity, health, and wellness,
-Ricci-Lee Hotz, MS, RDN
Denver’s Dancing Dietitian
A Taste of Health, LLC
“Improving Quality of life one bite at a time”