healthy family

It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits at home. However, making your home a place where you can build and maintain good habits is an important part of running a healthy and happy home. The best lessons we can teach our kids are the ones that we follow ourselves. If you want to set your family up to lead healthy lives, below there are a few ways that you can start from home.

Wash Your Hands Correctly

Every year, Americans get somewhere around one billion colds. To avoid having your family add to that statistic, one of the best precautions you can take is properly washing your hands. You should wash your hands after you come inside from the outdoors, before eating, after using the restroom, after coughing or sneezing into your hands, and any other time that you feel your hands are dirty.

In order to properly wash your hands, start by wetting them with clean water. Next, add soap and lather all parts of your hands, including between your fingers. Spend at least 20 seconds scrubbing at your hands before you rinse them under clean running water. Dry your hands with a clean towel or allow them to air dry. If your hands begin to dry out from washing your hands in the winter, keep lotion next to sinks in your home and encourage everyone in your household to moisturize their hands after washing them.

Make Sure Your Home is Safe

There are certain home improvements that are purely for aesthetics and not necessary to the proper functionality and safety of your home. However, if your home is part of the 85% of homes built before 1980 that need home improvement, it’s possible there are some parts of your house that aren’t safe. If there are any issues with your home’s electricity, plumbing, foundation, gas, or other potentially hazardous areas, make sure you repair them as soon as possible. You can follow as many health tips as possible, but if you have unsafe living conditions, those are going to interfere with any other part of your family’s health.

Choose Healthy Snacks

There are many health articles that will tell you to stop buying snacks altogether, but realistically this will just lead to impulsive purchases and potentially hungry kids. Instead of cutting out snacks altogether, search for healthier alternatives. A classic is to keep around fruits instead of sugar-filled items. Fruit can fulfill your family’s sweet tooth without the unnecessary negative health impacts of snacks filled with processed sugar. For more savory snacks, you can have hummus and veggies like celery or carrots. There are tons of healthy snack alternative recipes all over the internet, so make sure to check out your options — there may even be direct switches for your family’s favorite snacks.

Grow Your Own Food

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, you can grow a few things at home. You can try starting out with growing some herbs in your kitchen — these may even be for sale at your local grocery store. You can also look into what grows well in your area and try your hand at planting crops in your garden. Oftentimes food crops have to compete with 30,000 types of weeds, 3,000 types of nematodes, and over 10,000 types of plant-eating insects, but in your garden, you can have more control to protect them from these things. There is something very satisfying about making food with fruits and vegetables grown from your own garden, and it can help encourage you and your family to use more fresh produce.

Buy Local Produce

Whenever it’s possible, look to buy local and in-season produce. If produce is grown locally, there’s less time between when it is harvested and when it ends up on your plate. This is also why it’s important to buy in-season produce — if you are buying something out of season, it will have to be transported from somewhere where it is in season, which is likely nowhere near you. The fresher your produce is the better it is, so make sure to buy local and in-season as often as possible.

Exercise as a Family

Exercising is about getting your body moving. To exercise and help your body, you don’t need to be doing anything drastic like lifting 100-pound weights or training for a marathon. Exercising as a family is a great way to make sure that everyone in your household is active and is learning the importance of exercise. Going for family walks is a great place to start, especially if you have a pet like a dog that enjoys walks.

Other good activities for the whole family can be yoga or dancing. Yoga can be tailored to work for people of all ages, and you can find great classes on YouTube that the whole family can participate in. Putting on music and having a great dance party is also a great way to get your blood pumping. Once your children are able to ride bikes, that is also a great way to get everyone moving together.

Don’t Smoke

If you or another adult in your household smokes, it’s time to seriously think about quitting. If you’re trying to create a healthy household, you can’t have someone in it smoking. It has been proven time and time again that smoking is bad for your health, and secondhand smoke has been proven to have negative health consequences as well. Quitting also sets a good example for your family that even though something that is unhealthy is hard to quit, it’s still possible to give it up.

Prioritize Drinking Water

Drinking enough water every day is a small thing that makes a huge difference. When our bodies are dehydrated, they aren’t working in their optimal states. You can make it a challenge for everyone to drink enough water or find another way to make sure everyone knows they need to drink enough water. If you’re unsure how much water anyone in your household should drink, check with your doctor.

Making small changes can lead to a much healthier home in the long run. Although it might be hard to start changing your family’s habits, once they’re a part of your every day life you’ll feel much better physically.