Final lessons learned from the Healthy Family Challenge

As the Healthy Family Challenge comes to a close, Deanna reflects on the role it has played in her family's overall health and happiness.

Above: Sara, Addison and Sam flexing their Healthy Family Challenge muscles. Below: The Miller's at the end of the Challenge.

Participating in the Today’s Parent Healthy Family Challenge over the past three months has been incredibly eye-opening. So eye-opening, in fact, that I’m actually feeling sad that this is our official last week.

I think that the best way to close this blog after the last 12 weeks is to share my top 10 list of Healthy Family thoughts and learnings (in no particular order).
 
1. I have time. Who would have thought? Once we started the Challenge, I surprised myself by working the cooking, meal planning and weeknight activities into the schedule.

2. My kids aren’t as open to “new food” as I thought. Although I wouldn’t call them picky, they are not adventurous either. Two would try something, the other one wouldn’t. One would like something, the other two wouldn’t. The provided meal plans with new recipes are very helpful and easiest to follow if you’re open to adapting them for your family.

3. Fifteen minute games like the Alphabet Game or Balloon Volleyball are not only great for activity but also a fun way to turn the “witching hour” around (you know what I’m talking about — when the clock strikes six and everyone is tired, hungry and cranky).

4. You eat what you have in the cupboard and you don’t eat what you don’t have. The kids are the same. If I only had fruit, they’d eat the fruit. If the cupboard was full of boxed snacks, they’d eat the boxed snacks. One of the biggest changes for us has been what comes home from the grocery store.

5. We play outside more. It’s that simple. We walk away from the TV and run around the yard.

6. Cooking with kids is fun. Yes, it slows down the process a little but it’s a great family activity and they seem to love being part of the meal process. Sara now enjoys setting the table, Addison likes scooping things onto plates and Sam will stir anything you’ll give to him.

7. Shopping with kids can be fun too. Did I say that? Watching the girls get excited about choosing healthy food and helping to pick suppers for the week has helped me understand that food is a family thing and not just a mom thing.

8. Everything we need to be healthy is right around us — local stores, markets, trails, playgrounds, pools, beaches, events — we just need to take advantage of them.

9.  We are strong. Sheldon and I are leading a happy, healthy family. There’s always room for improvement but I need to remember that health and happiness are not determined by a scale.

10. The Challenge may be done but a healthy family is forever. Throughout the process I’ve found inspiration everywhere, but none more long-lasting than the three smiles that greet us at our bedroom door each morning.
 
Thank you Today’s Parent for asking me to be part of this wonderful project. I’ve loved every minute, I’ve made some great new friends and I will be forever grateful because the Healthy Family Challenge has definitely changed the Millers for the better.

FILED UNDER: