Health. It’s a huge priority in my life. It’s such a big priority that I spend most of my day reading and learning about up and coming nutritional topics. I’m always trying to challenge myself to learn new things in the area of wellness because I just LOVE health.

I love health SO much that I literally dedicated my career to helping others understand what it means to be healthy. I want YOU to know what I know, so that you can go out in this world and make wise choices at the grocery store, at restaurants, or that backyard BBQ. I also want any knowledge you learn from me to be spread around to your family, friends, and even co-workers. Let them know what you know!!

Unfortunately, it saddens me how little this happens, especially with ladies (no offense).

It is all too often that I see families where the wife and/or mother is in peak physical condition OR always trying a new diet, but then her husband and/or children are overweight or just plain unhealthy.

Why would you want yourself to be healthy, but not your entire family? Why is it okay for your husband or child to eat French fries and burgers, but you wouldn’t touch it with a 10 foot pole? Why would you let your husband finish YOUR meal after he’s already consumed a day’s worth of calories in his OWN entree?

Why are we, as women, only worried about ourselves?

If this sounds familiar, keep reading.

– It’s time to STOP using your husband or children as your personal garbage can.
– It’s time to STOP keeping snack-y “junk foods” in the house because your kids eat them.
– It’s time to STOP living vicariously through your husband and children because YOU are the one who really wants the ice cream or burger.
– And it’s time START getting your WHOLE FAMILY healthy!

If you are guilty of any of the above, be sure to tune in tomorrow when I discuss ways in which YOU can ease your whole family in to a healthy lifestyle!

I am keen in sharing how important it is to spread the health to everyone around you, especially those living in your household. I received several comments yesterday from ladies who said they can’t control their significant other and that they are old enough to make their own decisions. However, lots of readers agreed how important it is to keep our kids healthy.

When it comes to getting healthy, every single person has to start somewhere and persistence and education are key! Even if you have to spend YEARS, STILL be an influence! Experiment with the following 5 ways to help spread the health!

1. Start slowly
Change won’t happen overnight. My husband didn’t know a darn thing about nutrition before we started dating. He lived off of Mountain Dew, white bread, fast food, and spaghetti for years while living on his own. These are not habits that just go away. You must ease your family in to health. Start by keeping fresh fruit and veggies that you have pre-cut on the counters, or offer to pack your husband or boyfriend’s lunch; pack him what he usually likes but then add a banana to the mix, OR get the kids in the kitchen with you! Have THEM pack their lunch and give the kids choices. Have them pick between two HEALTHY foods. For instance, tell them they can pack an apple OR an orange. Don’t even make chips an option. Just a few ways to get the health ball rolling.

2. STOP cooking two meals
Besides being a pain in the butt, there is no reason why your husband or children cannot be satisfied with the meals you are cooking. Children should be exposed to a WIDE variety of foods from the get go and your husband should be on board with that. If your children see that Dad isn’t eating something, why should they? Exposure and imitation are the BEST ways to get the kids to try new foods. So how can we get Dad on board? Pair foods that you know he likes, with new foods he’s never been too fond of. For example; beans have ALWAYS been a tough sell to Brandon. He claimed he NEVER liked them. I think it was more that he just wasn’t exposed to them. I LOVE beans and since they make an excellent source of protein and fiber, I made quite an effort to show him how wonderful they really are. I found casserole, stews, and soup recipes which incorporated beans in minimal amounts just to give him a little taste. What happened after a year of exposure? Last night we made vegetarian bean burritos. Go figure.

3. Share knowledge/DON’T preach
Nobody wants to feel inferior about their food choices. Try not to make your significant other feel bad about eating a certain way, just share your own knowledge. I LOVE reading new things about nutrition and I’m ALWAYS eager to share with someone. Brandon happens to be the lucky guy to hear all about the reasons WHY we should spend extra for organic produce, WHY I would prefer to avoid HFCS, and WHY it’s important to read ingredient labels. I was not preaching to him, just happily informing. I also wasn’t trying to make processed foods he loved the enemy, I just showed him ways we could make those same things healthier. For example; instead of store bought bags of French fries, we started baking our own. Instead of drinking soda every day, we bought a juicer. Instead of Oreos or Chips Ahoy, I would bake my own desserts from scratch. Instead of eating meat for every meal, we compromised at 3 times a week. Instead of lunchmeat every day, we started experimenting with salads, eggs, and salmon, and various other lunchmeat-less meals. Pretty soon, Brandon WAS influenced with what I was sharing with him. It’s to the point now that he won’t go to McDonald’s, RARELY drinks soda, asks me to buy him whole wheat bread, and reads labels sometimes better than I do (just to name a few).

4. Even kids can’t eat anything they want
I’ve seen a lot of parents who choose chicken fingers and fries for their kids at dinner, make juice the only source of fruit in their diet, and think ice cream is its’ own food group. Children are not immune to obesity and disease. We need to help them build a healthy foundation for proper growth and development. If YOU are eating a salad, then have your kids eat one too! If you need more advice, read my tips for how to prevent a picky eater! Also check out my Baby Bites I and II series!

exercise

5. Exercise
This is still a topic I struggle with. Sometimes your significant other is just not that in to working out. Just try your best to set an example and ASK your husband, wife, or children to be active with you! Brandon and I might not do aerobics together, but we hike or rollerblade in the park, take nightly walks, or go play tennis together. I do my best to encourage activity. If your husband is too macho for Pilates or your kids don’t have the patience, get them to join an intramural team or have a family fun day at the park. Be creative! Just get your family moving!

All I’m asking in this post is to bring home what you learn and share it with your significant other and/or family. Make gradual changes. TEACH your husband/wife and children to read nutrition labels and show them what to look for. Make them understand WHY you don’t want to buy foods with high fructose corn syrup and tell them how chemicals are not REAL food! Get the WHOLE family on board in the journey to be healthy. Even though it might take YEARS, one small change builds upon another, leading to a lifetime of disease or illness prevention. Be the change you want to see in others, but also give others the proper nudge in the right direction; and that’s all I have to say about that.