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Thursday, 05 March 2015

Back in the 50s and 60s, it was pretty much the ideal picture of the "perfect" American family.  A nice home, a pretty yard surrounded by a white picket fence and, oh yeah, a station wagon parked in the garage.  Although today, that station wagon is more likely to be a mini-van or a roomy, crossover SUV!  LOL.  Ahhh, the ideal picture of the American family, right?  But then again, I'm wondering just how healthy that cute little family is.  And how healthy is your family?  Well, it has a lot to do with the foods you eat and how much exercise you all get.  Which shouldn't come as a surprise to any of you.
The foods you eat can help keep you in a positive mood.
But did you know the foods you and your family eat is a factor in preventing depression and keeping you all in a more positive mood?  It all depends on the kinds of lifestyles you and your families live, especially when it comes to your eating and exercise habits.  Let me give you some ways to make sure your own family is living the kind of lifestyle that can help you achieve those goals.
First of all, when it comes to kitchen time, turn cooking into FUN rather than a chore.  Hey, it's no chore to eat that food so preparing it shouldn't be a chore either.  LOL.  Whenever you can, make meal-prep time family time by getting everyone involved in the act.  Let your kids assemble the salad.  Let your husband prepare the roast and you can do the vegetables.  This allows your children to see meal preparation as a family activity rather than being just "mom's job."
Sit down at the table and enjoy your meals together as a family.
Once your meal is all done, don't everybody scatter and eat whenever or where ever they choose to later.  Sit down at the table and enjoy your meals together.  (You know, like they did on The Donna Reed Show!  LOL.)  It's not just great bonding time but also a good habit for your children.  In fact, a Tufts University review found that children who ate meals with their families were less likely to engage in risky behaviors.  Now there's a nice bonus if I ever heard one.  And like I said, it's the perfect bonding time for you and your families.  It'll give you a chance to talk about your days and maybe even work out solutions to problems your kids may have been having at school or with friends.
Did you know that it's an Italian tradition for the family to take a walk together after dinner?  (I just love that!)  It's true.  In many Italian towns, some families take a stroll together, before or after dinner.  These little evening walks have been shown to boost moods and even help relieve mild depression or anxiety.  I've suggested before that you and your families take an evening walk every now and then.  It doesn't have to be everyday but can at least be an occasional evening treat for you an your family.  With Spring just around the corner, it's a perfect time of year to add family walks to your schedules whenever you can.  And that little dose of exercise will be good for all of you.
How perfect is your American family?
So how perfect is your own American family?  (Or Canadian family, for that matter.  HI to all of my friends north of the border!)  Well, truth is, nobody or no family is "perfect."  But behind that pretty white picket fence, I sure do want you and your families taking good care of yourselves, making your bodies and souls as healthy and happy as they can be...everyday.