50 Habits Healthy Families Always Have

Having a healthy family life can lower risk of heart attack and boost your chance of living longer. Here’s how to maximize this amazing health asset.

They snack smart

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“Parents can influence their child’s food preferences and how well their brain functions with healthy food choices. Research tells us children can have a hard time learning on processed foods. Moms and dads can make it a point to purchase a wide variety of whole foods instead of cookies, crackers, or sodas for an afternoon snack. I make sure our afternoon snacks include organic fruits and veggies such as apples, nut butter, celery, hummus, grapes, avocados, bananas, spinach, and raw pumpkin seeds.” —Connie Rogers, Certified Integrative Nutritional Holistic Health Coach and author. Or try one of these 30 simple, healthy snacks.

They eat slowly

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“Healthy families don’t rush or stress when it’s time to eat. As a mother of two children, we use calm voices and music at the table, and focus on healthy digestion when it’s time to eat. We also model healthy eating by not shoveling or inhaling our food, making a point to chew after every bite. This one habit ensures we take the necessary time to enjoy the taste, colors, and aromas of what we eat.” —Connie Rogers.

They care for their elders in a loving way

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“Caring for an elderly loved one is a wonderful way to show compassion and service, and it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice everything. Healthy families have boundaries with aging parents and grandparents. They thoroughly think through the potential impact of moving an aging parent into the home or providing extended care. Kids and marriages can be powerfully impacted by how these decisions are handled, both negatively and positively. A good boundary with an aging parent who moves in, for example, might be that the parents and small children will do occasional outings as a nuclear family.” —Jennifer L. FitzPatrick, MSW, licensed social worker and author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One. Thinking about taking on this responsibility? Read our crash course on elder care first.