2017 Family Challenge: Conquering Health, Fitness, and the Environment
By Amanda Miller
Hearing the word “resolution” may cause some people to groan in response. We’ve all had that feeling at some point. Year after year, we challenge ourselves to lose weight, to eat healthier, and to save money. However, a month–sometimes days–into our journey to becoming a better, healthier version of ourselves, we push our resolutions to the side because, there’s always next year!
This year, we want things to be different, but not just for us, for all of the families in Baton Rouge and the surrounding areas. We all know 2016 was a rough one for our dear community, and we want to encourage all of you to make 2017 a great one! We want to see families finally reach their goals this year whether it be through getting more active, becoming more environmentally conscious, or eating healthier.
Setting goals doesn’t mean that families have to become Baton Rouge’s healthiest family or that they need to single-handedly save the planet overnight. It’s the little steps along the way that truly count. Here are a few areas to challenge you and your family on this year.
This is usually a hard one and not because it’s actually hard to do, but hard in the sense of failure that overcomes us if we don’t completely change our eating habits with every meal we consume. Don’t do that to yourself or your family! You will set yourself up for failure. Make little changes along the way. Add more vegetables to dishes when possible, eat out less, and substitute ingredients with healthier alternatives. Discover new recipes together. Incorporate vegetables and fruits into your baking and smoothie making.
Start by taking daily family walks, and each day, go a little further than the day before. Do simple family exercises together, but make them into a game to make things a lot more fun. Find out who can do the most push ups, crunches, or jumping jacks! For an extra challenge, try walking in a one-mile fun run. Join a gym with a nursery so the whole family can get in the habit together. Keep an easy record on your phone of the family’s progress.
Protect the environment.
We can all do small things to help keep our planet a little greener and safer. For instance, start recycling at home! Teach your family how to separate items to be recycled. Encourage family members to turn off lights when they are the last person to leave a room. If possible, take a bike or walk to your destination instead of driving there. Instead of using the dishwasher, have some family time and wash the dishes together. Give each child a job and start an assembly line! Practice turning off the faucet while you brush your teeth. Start having Meatless Monday dinners to cut down on meat consumption.
Make family time.
Put the iPhones away and connect with your family. Plan a movie night and make a family favorite treat to enjoy during the film. Host a weekly game night and let each member of the family pick a game they want to play. Or, have a park day and go to the park for a picnic. We all lead busy lives, and family time is something we definitely don’t want to put on the backburner. Incorporate simple things into your schedules to make sure family time happens frequently.
Extending a helping hand not only makes the person in need feel good, it makes you feel good, too. This year, encourage your family to give back. Donate toys that are no longer played with to a local charity. Go through everyone’s closets and pull out clothes to donate that are no longer worn. Or, simply volunteer your time to an organization that may be putting on an event or at a local soup kitchen.
Making these little changes will help make things more attainable. Get started with these simple ideas and add some of your own. It’s not about changing overnight, it’s about the journey. We will check on you again in May to see how things are going. Take photos along the way, and share them with #BRPMFamilyChallenge. We can do this, Baton Rouge! ■