Healthy intentions

by Brittany Gilbert

When I was a kid, I was never lacking in exercise. This was in the early 1990s when it was still fairly safe, or at least so we thought, to let kids go outside and not come back till dinner. That’s exactly what I would do.

My friends and I would explore the town on our bikes, climb trees, roller blade — the list goes on. I can still hear my mom yelling my name as the streetlights started coming on, and I knew it was time to go home.

I don’t know about you, but I am not comfortable letting my kids roam the town all day without supervision.

I’m also not OK with the obesity issues that children and families are facing due to inactivity and poor diet. Kids need 60 minutes of movement a day. Adults need to be moving, too. So, I’ve come up with a plan of attack that families can use.

Have your kids cook with you.

By having your kids participate in meal preparation, they can learn about ingredients and the effort it takes to cook for a family. Thankfulness can be a great lesson to teach at this time.

You can take this a step further by planting a small garden of fruits and veggies or a simple herb garden and use this food in your meals. This approach can also help with picky eaters. It helps take the mystery out of a meal that they were originally skeptical of now that they know each ingredient, especially if it comes from your home-grown garden and they feel ownership in the process. 

Instead of eating out at a restaurant, take a meal to the park.

When we eat out, we usually spend more time getting our 2-year-old to stay still while we wait (and it seems like we’re always waiting). If it’s an easy meal you’re looking for, order to-go, but chances are it won’t be health-conscious.

Consider quick meals that you can make a head of time and still get out of the house for some outside family time. This way, when you’re done eating, you can play the calories off as a family and everyone gets much needed exercise.

It hardly seems like a workout, but by the time you’re done everyone is ready for a nap. A big meal at a restaurant doesn’t always equal quality time.

Get the family working out together.

There are tons of options when it comes to family workouts: jogging strollers, Wii games, outside sports, etc. You can do a little or a lot.

Try to make at least part of your exercise routine possible as a family. One idea is to have your warm up or cool down as a walk around the block with the kids.

These tips are not necessarily time savers. They may not be convenient for you. However, they are intentional. By choosing one of these tips instead of the convenient choice, you’re making a decision to create a healthier environment for your family.


Brittany Gilbert is a former FACS teacher at Maumelle High School. She and her husband, Levi, have two sons and live in Conway. Brittany can be reached at [email protected].