I can’t think of any better goal than a healthy family. But making that goal a priority means more than just putting it at the top of your list – it means taking action. Literally!
My family recently celebrated Family Health and Fitness Day with a morning soccer game (played by my son and coached by my husband and daughter) and then an afternoon bike ride. That got me thinking about health and fitness…I know that finding ways to exercise on a regular basis can be a challenge, but many adults are able to find an activity they like and fit it into their schedule. However, when it comes to kids, we need to make it fun if we want them to continue making it part of their routine as they get older. My family enjoys being active together in a variety of ways. Besides family bike rides and coaching our kids’ soccer team, we take parent/child karate classes, walk our dog every day (rain or shine), or simply shoot hoops in the driveway or at the park.
There’s no denying that exercise is essential for good health. However, research shows that exercise is not a magic bullet for weight control. Calorie intake is actually just as important. Let’s do the math: If I run for 30 minutes I will burn about 300 calories, but I can easily eat or drink more than 300 calories without realizing it. Balancing calorie intake with calories burned is the goal, but unfortunately, studies indicate that people tend to overestimate the amount of calories they burn and underestimate the calories they eat and drink.
Since calorie intake is such an important part of the equation, limiting extra calories is essential and focusing on nutrient-rich foods helps make our calories “count”. So it makes sense to limit extra calories from sugar. By choosing foods that are naturally lower in sugar or that use low calorie sweeteners, we can enjoy food while consuming fewer calories. Research shows that low-calorie sweeteners are not only safe, but can be effective tools for weight management. Sugar in moderation is fine – I don’t worry if my kids have a sweet treat from time to time. But I also don’t worry if they have foods or beverages made with low calorie sweeteners occasionally.
When it comes to health and fitness, make it a family affair. Find ways to enjoy being active with your family, but don’t forget about the calorie intake side of the equation and rest assured that low-calorie sweeteners canbe part of the solution.
Check out the “It’s All About You!” toolkit for more info on how to keep your family healthy and active.
For more information about me, check out my Guilt-Free RD philosophy here!
To check out other posts on my “Food for Thought” blog, click here.
To listen to my podcast interviews with food and nutrition experts, click here.
Note: I’m pleased to be a consultant to The International Food Information Council, providing blogs and other social media content that shares their resources for health professionals and the public. I believe whole-heartedly in their mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, nutrition and food safety for the public good.
Thank you for visiting my site! I hope you have a Guilt-Free day!