The challenge is ending soon, but I’ve asked the Lehmans to continue making goals for themselves. This is important because it will help keep them from slipping into old habits. For instance, recently I’ve noticed that the Lehmans have been eating fewer fruits and vegetables—almost down to the level they were eating at the start of the challenge. That’s not unusual. In fact, most people fall back into old habits if they’re not focusing on healthy behaviors.
If that sounds familiar, try setting monthly health goals for yourself. Do this as a family rather than having just mom or dad decide what the goal will be. Or, offer up several goals and let the family choose which one to work on. Then, have the entire family come up with ways to implement the goal.
So if your monthly goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, ask your kids how they could help in that goal. Keep them involved throughout the month. Let them pick out some fresh produce at the grocery store. Invite them to help with meals, washing carrots or mixing a salad. Kids will be much more likely to get on board with a health goal if they are actively involved in planning and implementing it.
Keep a list of your family’s health goals so you always have one or two to work on. Once you’ve met the monthly goal, keep tabs on it. A few months later, check in and see if you’ve kept up the healthy changes or slid back into old habits. Remember: Making healthy changes is a process. It takes time and effort but eventually those changes will become part of your lifestyle.
Through her Des Moines-based nutrition company, SK Health Communications, registered dietitian Stephanie Karpinske writes and develops recipes for magazines, books, supermarkets and food companies. She is the author of Read Before Dieting: Your 4-Step Plan for Diet Success and writes a blog about healthy eating, foodnuti.com. She’s coaching the Lehman family through the six-month Healthy Family Challenge.