Originally posted here by Kristi King, a pediatric nutrition specialist at Texas Children’s Hospital.

How many times have you heard, “new year, new you?!” I think many times people have all these grand ideas for nutrition or exercise resolutions, but many times end up giving up on them because, “it’s just too hard.”

So how can you and your family get started on the right foot for 2018 in leading a healthy lifestyle?

1. Set family goals

This is a great time to discuss with your family and set healthy lifestyle goals as a whole family unit. In my clinical practice, I find families that stick together are the ones with the best results. Why? Well you all hold each other accountable! Sample goals could be things such as:

  • Eat at least one family meal together every day
  • Take time to be physically active each day
  • Increase fruit and vegetable intake during meals

2. Beware of beverages

Sugar-sweetened beverages can pack a whopping amount of calories in each drink. Try replacing sugar-sweetened beverages with water or a sugar-free option. I hear kids and parents complain of getting “tired of plain water,” so, quick fix, add some fruit or cucumbers for flavor, or try carbonated water.

3. Examine your plate

What does your plate look like at lunch and dinner? Is half of it fruits and vegetables? If not, gradually start working toward making half of your plate colorful fruits and vegetables. You or your child not a big veggie eater? Try picking one new vegetable each week at the grocery store and try it together as a family.

4. Don’t forget to play

Most importantly is play! Don’t forget to take time to play. Many times we think of physical activity as running or going to the gym. It doesn’t have to be! Be present and engage in fun with your kids. Try:

  • Hula hooping
  • Setting up an obstacle course inside or in the backyard
  • Play tag at the park
  • Go for a family bike ride or walk
  • Walk at the zoo
  • Roller skating

May you have a wonderful and healthful 2018!