Celebrate Valentine’s Day with good health

Team up to make healthy choices your family’s love language

There are lots of benefits when families make a regular practice of eating together and playing together. Kids who regularly eat with their families are more likely to eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For many families, meal time may be the only time in the day the family has the chance to be together, talk face to face, and share what’s going on in their lives.

Skewers with heart shaped fruit pieces
Every day fruit takes on a little romance when you cut it in heart shapes

This Valentine’s Day you can make your dinner time extra festive with a heart-shaped theme like the fruit skewers above, but there are simple ways to make family meal time a priority every day:

* Choose a time when everyone can enjoy at least one meal together – for some families that may be breakfast and on weekends maybe that meal is lunch.

Father and son cook together

* Include your children in preparing the meal – not only will they begin to learn cooking skills, you can use the preparation time to explain what the different ingredients are and what kind of nutrition they provide your body (go to this link and click on the last item in the list on the left, What’s In Food, to see the different food types and learn nutritional value).

* Be sure electronic devices are turned off and put away

* Don’t serve sugary drinks with meals – stick with water or milk

*Model good habits for your children

Mom and daughter play soccer on a trail

The family that plays together…

That recommended hour of physical activity every day can be more fun to tackle as a family, and there are plenty of ways to do it, even this time of year when we don’t see much sun and it’s often too cold to play outside. And you don’t even need special equipment, just a little imagination and a commitment to doing it every day.

* Schedule active family play into your routine – a dance party before bedtime, a follow-the-leader game around the house in the morning before school, shooting some baskets after work and school.

* You don’t need to get all 60 minutes in at once. If breaking up your physical activity into smaller increments works for your family, schedule that.

*Use your TV to get you going with free tools (here’s where screens can actually help your physical activity plans) like GoNoodle, which gives you short, active videos to move to, or YouTube where you can watch yoga, zumba or other physical activity programs or just find your favorite songs to dance to.

* You do not have to be coordinated, athletic, skilled in a sport, or in any way graceful to move your body and get your healthy activity in. Don’t be afraid to jump around and be silly – what’s important is to get your body the movement it needs.

Mom and son dance in the living room

One final thing – if you’re out grocery shopping this weekend, our friends at the Produce Moms just released their list of 20 must-try produce items for 2020 and there are some fun and interesting items on it (no-cry onions? Yes, please!). Take a look here for ideas to be sure to give yourself and your loved ones those five servings of fruits and vegetables every day.

Happy Valentine’s Day!