- Go grocery shopping alone. This can be very difficult to do, especially for single mothers or stay-at-home moms. However, going grocery shopping alone will prevent spontaneous purchases because you are in a rush, or because kids are pleading for a certain item. You will likely buy fewer unhealthy items if you go grocery shopping without the kids.
- Do not drink soda. It's widely known that soda is very unhealthy, even (and especially) diet soda. One reason is soda contains high fructose corn syrup which is a man-made, processed sweetener (see #3). Diet soda contains other artificial sweeteners, like aspartame (or NutraSweet), which have been shown to cause cancer in rats. Mercola and Natural News have articles concerning the strong health concerns over artificial sweeteners.
- Limit high fructose corn syrup. HFCS is widely used today. It is used in place of table sugar, primarily because it is made from corn starch and is cheap to produce. It is found in most processed foods, even foods one would not describe as sweet...such as crackers. TLC Cooking has an informative post about HFCS, the health risks, and ways to limit it. I rarely buy anything with HFCS. If this is too big of a 1st step to take, then start watching labels more closely and finding healthier alternatives. They are easy to find, just read the labels.
- Go to the doctor. Schedule regular wellness check-ups for your kids...but don't stop there. Mom and dad needs annual check-ups too. Check for cholesterol and blood pressure. Everyone should know his/her cholesterol number...LDL (bad cholesterol) and HDL (good cholesterol), as well as his/her blood pressure. If you have any curious ailments, or feel something just isn't right, go to the Dr. It's better to be safe than sorry. Understandably, health insurance concerns may limit your doctor visits, but the point is to be in touch with your body, and if something is occurring that isn't "normal," you should get it checked out...before it is too late.
- Don't smoke. This is such an obvious one. Cigarette smoke is filled with toxic chemicals. These cause cancer, heart disease, strokes, etc. Would you suck on the exhaust of a car? No...then don't smoke.
- Exercise. This is another obvious one. You've heard it all before. If you cannot start a regular workout regimen, then do the following: take the stairs, park farther back in the parking lot, do more household chores, walk around the neighborhood, do jumping jacks during commercials, dance to some music, etc., etc. Point is, get up and get moving.
- Watch portion size.... Ever go to a restaurant and receive a huge plateful of food? Portions nowadays are way, way too big. Eat slowly. Ask the restaurant to put 1/2 the food on your plate, and immediately put 1/2 in a to-go container. Split meals. Skip the appetizer...or skip the dessert! It takes time for your stomach to tell your brain you are full. This is why sometimes people continue eating and eating, only to realize later they are stuffed like a Thanksgiving turkey. Pause before you take another helping. Give your body some time to adjust...time for your stomach to tell your brain you are full.
- Limit fast food. This is another obvious one. Eating McD's everyday...bad, bad idea. I believe it should be cut out altogether. Simply don't feel so dependent upon fast, cheap, meals like this. There are other fast, healthier alternatives. Some people rely on fast food for financial reasons, and it is unfortunate. Hopefully this trend changes in the future.
- Buy whole grain. Consumption of whole grains, vs. refined grains, has been linked to lower risk of type II diabetes and heart disease. Wikipedia explains the basics of whole grains. Key takeaways: buy 100% whole wheat, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and venture into quinoa (gluten-free and chalked full of protein). Stay away from white breads and white pastas. Brown is better.
- Limit stress. Take some time for yourself. Even if it is 5 minutes of alone time in the morning and before bed. Close your eyes, mediate, relax. Read a book, take a bath, sit in silence. Every person needs time for himself. Have you heard the saying "if mom's happy, everyone is happy?" It's true. If mom is crabby, depressed, or anxious, these feelings most likely are evident in her actions or words, and it affects the whole family. So, take some time for yourself each and everyday.
10 Ways to Better Manage Your Family's Health