by Don Zabloski
This time of year brings us two of the most memorable and celebrated family traditions: Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Of course, all kids appreciate the genuine love and effort shared by their parents and guardians, who are significant and positive role models in their lives. For parents and caregivers, it’s a time for reflection on the many social, emotional, physical and intellectual supports you have provided in many areas, including leading an active life and making responsible and healthy eating choices.
Let’s use these two meaningful days to highlight active traditions and look for new ways to inspire ourselves toward another active year. Individual and family needs will differ, so we’ve included a number of active lifestyle suggestions and nutrition reminders for your consideration.
- Organize active family outings, whatever that may mean for your family. Start small with one active session per week, weekend or month.
- Use active transport. Walk or run to school, work, and within your neighbourhood. You can also actively wheel to your destination on a bicycle, scooter, skateboard or rollerblades.
- Make yourself aware of active community opportunities such as rec centres, parks, nature trails, school playgrounds and skateboard parks.
- Try a new activity based on family members’ interests. Contact your local, provincial or national sports organization for introductory or “try it” sessions.
- If your family can’t get enough of hockey, try adapted versions such as ball hockey, sledge hockey, or blind hockey (played with a large, noisy puck).
- Choose a local charity run/walk to attend together, either as participants or course volunteers.
- Think beyond traditional team sports like soccer or basketball. Try ultimate Frisbee, rock climbing, kayaking, tennis, bowling or golf.
- Start each day with a healthy breakfast.
- Remember that spending more active time together will increase your nutrient requirements, so eat healthfully when you return from an active outing.
- Start an in-house Master Chef program by having everyone assist with planning and preparing a meal.
- Increase the number of times your family eats meals together.
- Aim for regular, consistent eating patterns throughout the day and week.
- Grocery shop together and discuss healthy food choices. Check the produce displays for new fruits or vegetables to try.
- Brainstorm new dishes to try and search for recipes online.
- Consider alternate sources for protein, such as “Meatless Mondays.”
- Drink plenty of water. Every family member should bring a water bottle on your active adventures.
- Watch for the release of the updated Canada Food Guide and review the food groups.
- Plant a spring garden or planter as space allows.
Don Zabloski is a retired Physical Education and Health Consultant and the co-author of Running Room’s Book on Family Fitness with John Stanton.