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5 Ways to be a healthier family

Sarah Caron is a Connecticut-based freelance writer and editor. She lives with her wonderful husband, two adorable kids and two funny beagles. Check out her food blog at Sarah's Cucina Bella.

Be fit together

Did you make a healthy resolution this year? It doesn’t have to be all about you, you know! Get the whole family in on the action and be healthier together in 2011.

mom and child exercising

We're a few weeks into the New Year now, and those resolutions are probably starting to wane for many people. But yours don't have to...in fact, if you made a healthy resolution this year, you can get the whole family in on the healthy action.

Here's what real folks are doing to live healthier as a family.

1Be one with your blender

Whether it's for making delicious drinks or something else, using a blender can be a fabulous way to sneak a little extra nutrition into your family's day. Melissa Burdick's family has been using their blender to make healthy smoothies with fruits and greens. "My six-year-old son won't touch a vegetable to save his life, but he'll chug down 10 ounces of a smoothie that tastes like fruit with a heaping helping of greens mixed in," says Burdick.

The Burdick family, who have a powerfel Vita-Mix blender, also make their own uber-healthy flour for pancakes on the weekends. "Instead of usual flour, we make our own flour from grinding quinoa and adding some whole flax seed in a Vita-Mix. The flour is nutrient dense and rich in protein (quinoa is the only plant based carb with a complete amino acid profile)," says Burdick.

2Change the snack routine

Oh snacks. They can be such a drama-filled thing, especially if junior wants chips and you are only offering grapes. So, what do you do so that your family has healthier snacking habits? Put the kibosh on unhealthy ones! "We are a family of five and one thing that is helping us be healthier is to not buy snack foods. I try to focus on yogurt, cheese sticks, fruit and veggies with dip," says mom Michelle Morton. "We try to save the junk food for movie night."

3Include the kids in your healthy changes

This goes hand in hand with snacking healthier. If you have resolved to eat better, then include your kids in your plan. They might just surprise you and be super into it. Kristl Story's kids did. "I began in January with my annual New Year's diet to lose those holiday pounds, and I was pleasantly surprised that my three teens wanted to join in...not to lose weight, but to eat healthier," she says. "My husband and I assume that healthy eating is common sense, but we really must teach our children!"

4Hit the gym… together

Is exercise in your plan? Then make it a family plan to do it more. Some gyms are perfect for including the kids, like the Lifetime Fitness facility that Eileen Wolter and her family joined. "It's a big family oriented place...where I can exercise and shower and get some peace or a manicure. And my 5 3/4 and 2 1/2 year olds can play with kids or we can swim or use the rock climbing wall," says Wolter.

5Green it up

Healthier living isn't just about you, your body and your health. It's also about the health of the planet, too. Cate O'Malley and her kids are serious about recycling so that their discarded items can find new life. "I started recycling years ago, and beyond that, we try to find ways to pass on things that can't be recycled. Like plastic caps...Luckily there are ways to still keep them out of the landfill," explains O'Malley, who writes the blog Sweetnicks.

So, what does she do with them? "Aveda will collect #5 bottle caps, as will Whole Foods, and there are even companies that will collect the caps and turn them into floor mats," says O'Malley.

Read more about keeping your family healthy

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