Family health

How to have fun (and stay healthy!) with family

Despite a couple of setbacks, Deanna is happy with her family's first week of the Healthy Family Challenge.

By Deanna Miller
How to have fun (and stay healthy!) with family

Playing a round of The Alphabet Game.

I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Healthy Family Challenge week one? I give us 50 percent.

Ordinarily I’d be disappointed by that. After all, I’m a stereotypical first-born who puts a lot of pressure on herself to "achieve." This time, however, I’m not only proud of my family but I’m actually proud of myself (and wow, it has been a long time since I’ve felt that when it comes to anything health-related).

I did so many things this week that I have never done before. I cooked with pumpkin seeds. I ate edamame beans. I packed sunflower seeds in my daughter’s lunch. I sweetened things with honey and maple syrup instead of sugar. I’ve actually never made soup or "real" oatmeal before and did them both this week. From an activity perspective we carved out time every day to be active together and learned a number of new, fun games in the process. All of this while my husband, Sheldon, was travelling for work for this week.

It has been so amazing to see how the kids responded to the fitness plan. I think one of my favourite things this week was watching their faces light up whenever I told them that I had a new game for us to play. What I enjoyed even more was when they built on the games themselves. One minute we were using our bodies to make letters on the floor and the next minute someone would yell, “Alphabet Soup” and the kids would all pile on top of me for an impromptu wrestle.

An unexpected (and pleasant) surprise has been how much more time we’ve spent together cooking. The kids love helping and seem to be much more interested in eating things that they have had a hand in making. There were things this week like the tortellini and bean soup that my crew definitely didn’t like when they first tasted it. Before the Healthy Family Challenge I just wouldn’t have served it again. Since we had so much left over, I did and after a second try, two out of three ended up loving it. I now make sure to offer things a second and third time in the days after I first served it.

So despite the fact that I didn’t make a single lunch on the meal plan, that we grabbed fast food while on the road on Saturday and that we didn’t get an outdoor obstacle course together, I’d say it was a pretty awesome week. Expressions like “baby steps” and “Rome wasn’t built in a day” were created for a reason.

This article was originally published on Mar 12, 2013

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