7 ways to 'make healthy normal' for your family

Make Healthy Normal
Make Healthy Normal Photo: Shutterstock

With 50 percent of NSW adults overweight or obese, we are living in an environment where being unhealthy is becoming the norm.

As spring has well and truly arrived and the weather is warming up across the country, there is no better time to refresh your routine and improve your health and wellbeing. With the days getting both longer and warmer there is no excuse not to start your family's health kick.

Below are seven quick and easy changes, which many help you to encourage your family to Make Healthy Normal this spring:

1. Begin your day with a healthy breakfast to help you feel fuller throughout the day

Mornings can be a rush for most families, however breakfast is important for kids, as well as adults. An easy fix is to get up just 10 minutes earlier to enjoy a nutritious breakfast. Something as simple as cereal with fruit and milk, or wholemeal toast can be a straightforward option for most families. If you're in a rush, take something to eat on the way to work or school, such as a banana or a fruit smoothie with light milk.

2. Pack a healthy lunch

Stay in control of your food choices by packing a healthy lunch, such as a sandwich or wrap, fruit, popcorn and water. Try preparing packed lunches the night before to save time in the morning. Take-away foods tend to be large portions and usually contain too much saturated fat and salt. For some simple, yet healthy lunchbox options, check out our planner here:

https://www.makehealthynormal.nsw.gov.au/food/healthy-school-lunch-box

3. Carry a water bottle with you

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Make water your drink of choice, it's free, contains no kilojoules and is the best way to stay hydrated. If you have water with you, you are less likely to be tempted by sugary drinks. There are a lot more water refill stations and bubblers around, making it easy to top your bottle up regularly.

4. Go for a walk with the family after dinner

With daylight savings, you have a whole extra hour for active family time. Use that extra hour of sunlight to your advantage, go for a walk after dinner, take a ball to the park or perhaps try an evening swim. If evenings don't work, wake up 15 minutes earlier and have a brisk walk around the block.

5. Find ways of including more activity into your day

Being regularly active is an easy way to remain healthy. Little changes like walking the kids to school, getting off the bus or train a stop early, or meeting friends at the park with a ball instead of the pub can be all it takes to improve your health. If you're at work, some small, yet effective ideas to stay active include taking the stairs instead of the lift, having walking meetings or getting up and crossing the office to speak to people rather than emailing or calling. If you do need to speak to someone on the phone, a simple tip is to stay mobile by walking when you are on your phone.

6. Limit alcohol intake

Alcoholic drinks are high in kilojoules and their effects can make you forget about eating a healthier meal. Keep track of your drinks (remembering the serve sizes tend to be large in restaurants) and alternate with still or sparkling water. Cocktails are high in alcohol and kilojoules, so moderation is always best for your waistline and general health. Limit yourself to one or two standard drinks and avoid drinking every day.

7. Start small and build

There's no need to turn the household upside down. For lasting change choose realistic improvements you can all stick with, such as having fruit for dessert instead of ice-cream, have an apple instead of a mid-morning biscuit, or add an extra serve of veggies at night – like carrot sticks.

Small changes are easier to implement and add up over time.

Make Healthy Normal is a NSW Government campaign led by NSW Health to encourage people to think about their day to day eating and activity and make healthier choices. There will be a booth at the Kidtopia  festival in Parramatta Park from Friday, October 6 through to Sunday October 8. Matilda's star Caitlin Cooper will be at the booth from 11am to 2pm on Saturday.