Tag Archives: family health

How One Family Fitness Writer Learned to Walk the Walk

Catherine Holecko is the Guide to Family Fitness at About.com. Since becoming a mom 9 years ago, she’s mastered the crow pose and discovered the new worlds of kiddie karate and synchronized figure skating.

A few years ago, a friend suggested that I apply to write for About.com. I popped over to check out the list of available topics. The one that jumped out at me: family fitness.

This was unexpected. I came late to fitness. Like, 30-years old late. All the way through school, I was the short, skinny, weak kid who failed miserably at any sport she tried. During college, I gave circuit training and aerobics a whirl (yeah, it was the early 90s, how did you guess?). Post-college, I lived in Manhattan, where I stayed fit by walking everywhere and not having enough money to eat out.


Scheduling a Family Play Night is Good for Fitness, Fun and Camaraderie

Do you and your family schedule time to be together? Whether it’s dinner, activities, or events, it’s important to make these things part of your regular routine. This wouldn’t have been a novel idea years ago, but in today’s over-scheduled world, it’s unfortunately true that we have to pencil in time to spend with our families.

That’s why we’re encouraging families to dedicate one evening a week to Family Play Night. We want to see families get up and move together while getting reacquainted with each other and their back yards. Or the front yard, or the park, or wherever it is that you want to play.

“Play is a way for families to connect. Children connect and learn primarily through play,” says our resident mental health expert, Brooke Randolph, LMHC. “Play helps build healthy attachment and positive relationships. Families who play together will be healthier, happier, enjoy each other more, and work together more effectively.” She continues that “Play helps parents enjoy their children and communicate to children that they are valued beyond their behavior. Play helps everyone relax and recover from stressors.” And who couldn’t use a little lighthearted, calorie-burning stress relief? (Read more from Brooke in Healthy People Play.) (more…)

Is Being a Parent Making You Fat?

Being a parent has its challenges, one of them being able to keep a healthy weight. A new study has found that being a new parent makes it more difficult to keep the extra weight off.

I know I don’t need a study to have found that out. I have two little ones and it’s always a challenge juggling parenting responsibilities and fitness. Besides, it’s so exhausting being a parent, the first instinct is to hit the couch, not the weights or treadmill.

According to the new study parents get less exercise than adults the same age without children. Part of the problem is what we, as parents, end up eating as well. The study found that moms had higher BMIs and eat and drink more sugary and high-fat foods. Mothers ate about 400 more calories every day than women without children. (more…)

Basketball Games To Play as a Family

It’s here: March Madness is taking over, and who among us doesn’t entertain a thought of playing basketball just like the pros? Basketball is a great sport that promotes hand/eye coordination, speed, agility and teamwork.  Why not plan a family activity night that includes some of these great games – challenge your kids to a hoop showdown!

H.O.R.S.E – One player takes the shot of her choice; if she makes it, the other players must shoot in exactly the same manner and from the same location. If the player misses the shot, he receives a letter of the word “horse”; if he makes it, players continue on without a letter. The first player to spell the entire word HORSE is the loser.

Around the World – Pick locations on the court for players to shoot from; the first player to make shots from each of the spots wins. If someone misses a shot, they are out and the game continues until a player makes all shots.


Healthiest Family-Friendly Vacation Spots

by Descygna Webb

As Spring Break and summer vacation approach, both parents and kids wonder what their next vacation adventure will bring. Planning a family vacation can be a lot of work. This is especially true when you’re trying to find a place that both the kids and adults will enjoy without breaking the bank.

Something that might be helpful when looking for a good spot for the family to spend their vacation is looking for a place that allows you to get in plenty of activity. Finding healthy vacation spots that are family-friendly can be an undertaking but it’s perfectly doable. The places listed below are great for families wanting to enjoy a variety of activities while on vacation.  Being away from home allows you time to explore things you don’t regularly get to do and create great memories.


Have Fun at Disney World on a Diet

Hollywood & Vine restaurant; Image via DisneyWorld.com

When it comes to amusement parks, roller coasters and funnel cakes are common sites, but healthy low calorie food is not. Yet, mega-fun spot Disney World is a trailblazer leading the way in offering healthy fare to its millions of enthusiastic guests.

If you’re taking the kids to Disney World for a vacation, you don’t have to derail your diet like a malfunctioning roller coaster. In fact, the Florida park has plenty to offer both health-minded folks and the not-so health-minded kids. Here is a look at how to navigate your way through Disney World so that even if you blow your budget, you don’t have to blow your diet. (more…)

Just Say No to Food Pushers (Nicely)

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is always the hardest time to eat healthy. Why is that? Is it because there’s temptation all around? Sometimes, yes. Is it because we have less time to work out and cook healthy meals? For sure. But what’s the No. 1 reason we all seem to struggle this time of year? Guilt.

We feel bad telling our grandmother that we have to forgo her famous mashed potatoes with lots of salt, butter and cream. Or that we can’t eat our aunt’s prized pecan pie. Or we even feel bad for not baking the family’s sugar cookie recipe that we always make. Change is hard, and in a lot of families, people’s feelings get hurt when you don’t act as though you have in the past. It’s a cliché, but in many ways it’s true: Food is love.


Dogs Keep the Whole Family Active

I’ve had my dog for almost three years now and while I’ve always been quite active, I can say, without a doubt, she has taken my workouts in a different — and better — direction.

Before I owned a dog, I would get at least 30 to 60 minutes of exercise most days of the week, but it was always formal exercise either teaching a group exercise class or doing a workout DVD. With a dog though, it’s less “working out” and more “play.” Once we got her as a puppy, my husband and I immediately started taking her on regular morning and afternoon walks, in addition to playing fetch or soccer in the backyard and tug-of-water while watching the latest episode of The Biggest Loser on DVR. In essence, she turned my workouts into life, everyday life. (more…)

Four Ways to Use Leftover Chicken

Chicken is often considered a low-fat, low-cholesterol alternative to beef or red meat, but some cuts of chicken actually have as much, if not more fat. If you’re trying to cut back on fat and calories, skinless white-meat poultry offers a great low-fat protein option. If you’re also on a budget, roasted chicken is a simple, economical and time-efficient meal ingredient, especially for a family.

If you’re cooking for one or two, a roasted chicken can sometimes produce more meat than you can finish in one meal. Roasted chicken is versatile and you can easily turn one bird into multiple healthy meals. (more…)

Feed Your Family of 5 for $25 Challenge

There was a time in history when $25 would have fed a family of 5 for a week or more. Times have changed and money just doesn’t go as far these days. Often, many families have a strict budget for meals, and they find themselves cutting out key nutrition in order to get those budget numbers to line up.

Recently, Whole Foods Markets initiated a challenge to feed a family of 5 a nutritious, healthy dinner for $25. That’s more difficult than it sounds. Sure, if you served Ramen noodles and canned pears, it can be done – especially if three of the family members are under the age of five. But what if you wanted to serve a nutritious, well-balanced meal? A meal that covered all of the key elements, was delicious and filling, and you have three teenagers? Do you think it could be accomplished? (more…)