Smart Ways to Keep Your Family Healthy This Year

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With the start of a new year, you have a clean slate for getting right with your health. Tackling any resolution is easier with a partner — or five — so why not involve the whole family? 

When you and your tribe share a mission, you can keep each other accountable and provide gentle encouragement. Here are eight smart ways to keep your family healthy this year — share your list with the gang. 

1. Get Your Shots

Are your children up-to-date with their immunizations? Check with your family doctor about their suggested vaccination schedule and set an appointment to get any you missed. 

While you’re at it, why not schedule your flu shot if you haven’t already gotten on this year? Even though most experts recommend doing so in September or October, the flu season can fluctuate — and might, given these unusual times. 

If you aren’t a healthcare or essential worker, you may need to wait a bit before you can get the novel coronavirus vaccine. Talk to your healthcare provider about when your family can schedule your shots. 

2. See Your Dentist

Your teeth are much more than luxury bones. You need them to chew, and periodontal disease increases the risk of dangerous mouth bacteria entering your bloodstream and traveling to your heart or brain. 

Ideally, you should see your dentist every six months. Experts recommend taking infants for their first visit at around six months of age, although any time before they turn one should be fine. 

3. Eat More Fruits and Veggies

Have you heard the phrase, “eat a rainbow?” No, we’re not referring to a Skittles commercial, but rather, eating various plant-based foods in every color imaginable. 

Plants contain phytonutrients that play crucial roles in human health. When mealtime rolls around, look at your plate as a clock and fill half of it with vibrant fruits and veggies. You’ll cut your overall calorie consumption and get more of the vitamins, minerals and other healthy substances your body needs to thrive. 

Why not make this year the one you extend meatless Monday into one or two days per week? The World Health Organization (WHO) considers processed meats as a carcinogen and cast serious aspersions on red meat, too. Reducing your consumption of steak and ham to once or twice a week slashes your family’s risk. 

4. Plant a Garden 

Gardening provides you with fresh, organic produce, and it gets you exercising. Even if you still have several feet of snow on the ground, you can start planning your spring planting. 

If you live in an apartment, please don’t think you can’t participate. Many vegetables, such as tomatoes and beans, grow well in containers — some pots and a sunny spot on a balcony or by a window are all you need. 

5. Bring Back Family Dinner

With today’s hectic schedules, you probably don’t have time to sit down together as a family every night. However, you should make 2021 the year you resolve to do so at least a few times per week. 

Why? Family mealtime gives you time to check in with your children, providing you valuable clues about their mental health. It’s also far more nutritious than collapsing on the couch with a bag of cheesy poofs after a long day. 

6. Take a Post-Meal Walk

Many Americans, children included, need to move more frequently than they do. Why not up your exercise quotient by taking a post-dinner walk? 

Doing so as a family comes in handy during the winter months. You might not want your child or teen venturing out solo after dark, but they’ll be safe strolling around the block with you at their side. 

7. Embrace Your Spiritual Side

You don’t have to embrace a religious faith or any belief system at all to nurture your soul. Atheists get just as much of a positive neurotransmitter boost from volunteering as do believers. They also reap the same benefits from practices like meditation. 

Embracing your spiritual side simply means nurturing and honoring your humanity and recognizing your interconnectedness with other living beings. Some people experience a sense of divinity roaming the forest or on a yoga mat, while others embrace acts of service. Whatever makes your soul glow is something to prioritize with your family in 2021. 

8. Banish Electronics From the Bedroom

You and your kids both need sleep — your body performs many vital processes while you rest. Getting inadequate shuteye increases your risk of accidents and may increase your risk of dying of cardiovascular disease.

Electronic devices rob far too many modern folks of their needed Zzz’s. The blue light they emit suppresses melatonin production, a vital sleep hormone. Make 2021 the year you ban electronics from your family’s bedroom by setting up a charging station in the kitchen and having everyone power down and plug-in 30 minutes before bedtime. 

Keep Your Family Healthy These 8 Smart Ways This Year

Make 2021 the year you resolve to improve your and your loved one’s well-being. Keep your family healthy with these eight smart tips this year. 

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