Neighborhood Kids family fun in bellingham & whatcom county


10 Ways to Help Your Family Stay Healthy During the Holidays

The month of December is a wonderful time to reconnect as a family and have some fun!  With all of the excitement and stress of the holidays, family gatherings, and parties, people are likely to eat more and exercise less.  How can you prevent this from happening to you and your family?  Here are some tips to help lessen the stress and save your waistline.

Goal:  This week, sit down as a family and plan out your holiday vacation.  Plan to make healthy food and time choices over the holidays.

  1. As a family sit down and plan out your holiday vacation on your family calendar. What obligations does each person have and what are some things you would like to do as a family?
  2. On your calendar, plan a few active family activities using ideas from
  3. If you are buying gifts for the holidays, have each person make a list of the gifts he/she wants to buy, and then set a goal date by which to have all shopping finished.
  4. Write down the times each person will exercise.
  5. Plan for, shop for, and eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  6. Eat healthy portion sizes by using smaller plates at meals.
  7. Drink water and fat-free milk as your beverages.
  8. Eat only fruits and vegetables as snacks before dinner.
  9. Take a family walk each day and look at the holiday decorations in your neighborhood.
  10. Plan what you will eat.  Before going to a party or family gathering, plan what size portions and what kinds of food you will eat.  You may even want to eat a variety of fresh vegetables before attending.  Remember to think about what you are eating and how much.  Now that you have a plan (even if your plan includes gravy and holiday cookies), enjoy what you are eating!

Now, after the holiday season, sit down as a family and talk about how the plan worked.  Were you less stressed during the holiday vacation?  Do you feel healthier?  Hopefully, because you did some planning, your family had more time to have fun together.

Carol Frazey is the author of The Fit School Newsletter, a 36-week newsletter with the goal of educating you and your family about nutrition and exercise.

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Ingredients for a Healthy Summer

Summer is finally here in the Pacific Northwest! Here are a few ideas to help your family stay healthy throughout the summer.

Ingredients for a Healthy Summer Picnics are a great summertime activity!
  • Have fresh, washed fruit in a bowl on the table throughout the day.
  • Have bottles of cold water in refrigerator, ready to grab on the go! Keep the bottles on lower shelves, so the younger kids can get them.
  • Have a variety of fresh vegetables and low-fat dip as appetizers before dinner. You might be surprised to see how many vegetables children will eat while waiting for dinner!
  • Make a list of your favorite grilled recipes and keep the ingredients on hand for quick dinners.
  • Always have enough gas for your grill!
  • Plan a walk, hike, stroll through the park, bicycle ride, swim, or another family activity as often as possible.
  • When you’re out and about, pack healthy and travel-well snacks, such as apples, pears, baby carrots, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, string cheese, and water.
  • When traveling by car, stop at rest areas or city parks every few hours and run around with the kids. Use the restroom, then play tag, hide-and-seek, or just race to different landmarks.
  • Adults should get at least 20 minutes of exercise five times per week.
  • Play whenever you get a chance! Children and teens should run around for at least one hour a day.
  • Enjoy being a family!

Carol Frazey is the author of The Fit School Newsletter, 36-week newsletter with the goal of educating you and your family about nutrition and exercise.

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10 Steps to Get Your Family Physically Fit

A family takes a run. Get your family moving in May.

The number of obese children in the U.S. has tripled since 1980. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, 17% of 2-19 year olds are obese. These startling statistics actually have a very simple cause; over the years American portion sizes have increased while physical activity has decreased. In a recent study, the National Center for Health Statistics found that only 26% of children ages 6 – 17 participated in a daily activity that made them sweat and breathe hard for least 20 minutes.

Well, there’s no better time than now to turn this trend around because May is National Physical Activity and Sports Month!

The fact is, families are the most powerful influence of change. If a family works together on small, positive goals each week, each member can make substantial changes in his or her health and overall quality of life.

Here are 10 simple steps that your family can take to make big leaps toward better health.

1. Set a goal to walk together as a family one evening this week. Walking as a family is a great way to build both good health and better relationships. So, find a nearby hiking trail and take a weekend or after-school trek; you may even be surprised to discover interesting places beyond your daily commute routes to school or work.

2. Stock up on sports equipment. Make bikes, helmets, rollerblades, and other sports equipment easily accessible for some spontaneous fun.

3. Plan active family activities each week. Bike rides, hikes, neighborhood walks, flying kites, Frisbee, and tag are just a few suggestions.

4. Make a family pact to move more each day. Call a family meeting and brainstorm ways to make it happen. Some ideas include walking to work or school, choosing a parking space farther away from your destination, or even using a restroom in a different part of your building.

5. Plan to do a physically active family project. Here’s another opportunity for a family brainstorm. Some ideas include cleaning out the garage, planting a garden, building a fort or tree house, or helping an elderly neighbor clean up her yard.

6. Go to a playground and play as a family. Parents can swing on swings while the kids push. Whiz down slides, climb on monkey bars, and play tag – don’t worry about looking silly, just enjoy yourself and enjoy your family.

7. Find a walking/running track in your area. Challenge family members to see how many laps they can do in 20 minutes.

8. Play an active game like tag, ultimate Frisbee, or even Twister® at least one day this week. Active games are not only great exercise, but they also provide a lot of laughing time as well. Encourage inactive family members to play for just 5 minutes. Running around and laughing brings out the kid in everyone!

9. Buy a pedometer. Pedometers are available for less than $10 on sale, and you can have each member of the family wear it for one day this week. Keep a running tally of how many steps each person takes when it is his/her turn to wear it. Each week, challenge each member of your family to increase the number of steps he/she takes during the day. A great website to visit is America On The Move, an organization that challenges Americans to increase their daily walking by a 2000 steps (about 1 mile) and decrease their daily eating by 100 calories. With these simple steps, people can lose weight and become healthier.

10. Don’t just wait n the car; get out and walk! This week, while waiting for someone in your family to finish an activity or sports practice, get out and walk. Most families are involved in many different extra-curricular activities, and busy schedules make it difficult to fit in a daily workout. So the next time the family is waiting for one member to finish an activity, get out and take a short walk. You will not only get some spontaneous exercise, you may discover a fun place for your next family adventure or even a new Mexican restaurant to try.

More information and resources are available from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Resources.

Carol Frazey is the author of The Fit School Newsletter, 36-week newsletter with the goal of educating you and your family about nutrition and exercise.

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