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There is something about a health challenge that is so motivating and exciting. I believe in not only setting health challenges for yourself, but also the whole family. Many mamas attempt to follow health challenges on their own, but forget their family can totally get involved as well, and may even enjoy doing the health challenge too! I put together 5 challenges for the whole family to try this fall to encourage better eating and activity habits. Sometimes all you need are a few small steps, to add up to big steps, which then turn into changing habits. I also love a challenge to get myself, and family, out of a funk, which happens easily soon after school starts.
With the onset of little colds, darker and colder weather, and busier schedules, I can easily find myself in a more sedentary lifestyle with less time to make healthier meals. We end up with chicken nuggets and french fries, or macaroni and cheese because it is easy, and my kids willingly eat it. The same happens with our puppy too. I start grabbing whatever food is on sale, in a hurry to check out, rather than thinking about the food and nourishment I am feeding him. He is a big part of our family too, and I want him to feel his best too!
Let’s get into the health challenges you can try this fall for the whole family, that will be small changes, yet make big differences in your health for the whole family!
Challenge 1: Meatless Mondays
Most Americans eat more meat than we really need, and find ourselves filling up on meat rather than lots of nutrient-dense fruits and veggies. One fabulous challenge is to follow meatless Mondays for one month. That is only four meals that are meatless, and use a veggie as the main course. It will really help your family learn to appreciate how wonderful a meal can be with lots of veggies! Some great starters are spaghetti squash dishes, stuffed sweet potatoes, roasted veggies on top of a healthy grain like quinoa…the list goes on, and there is so much out there if you just look for recipes. If you have picky kids like me, I make cauliflower tater tots, or sweet potato fries, veggie burgers and other substitute-type options to make it easier to get them to eat! This is a fun challenge, and it allows room for mamas to have creativity in the kitchen, and the whole family to try something new! Above are my favorite fish tacos with avocado cliantro dressing. I will get the recipe up one of these days!
Challenge 2: Take the PURINA ONE® 28-Day Challenge
This is a fun challenge to improve the health of your pet. You could see a difference in 28 days when you make the switch to Purina ONE®, and you can sign up now to get a $3 off coupon and a personalized food recommendation for your pet. How wonderful to get a recommendation that is individual for your pet? Target is where I grab the Purina ONE® SmartBlend Chicken & Rice Adult Dry Dog Food and Purina ONE® Classic Ground Beef & Brown Rice Entree Wet Dog Food, which I mix together and Theodore LOVES it! Every ingredient has a purpose with Purina One. Their foods are created with carefully selected ingredients in their USA facilities, and they have meticulous quality and safety standards to provide the best nutrition for your pet. And, part of the reason I love to shop at Target, besides the $1 section, is the money-back/deals they always offer. Until 9/29 – Buy 2 bags of Purina ONE® Dry Dog Food and get a $5 Target GiftCard™. You can also get 5% off + free shipping when you subscribe to Purina ONE® at Target, so gotta love those savings! Head to the social hub to see who else is taking the challenge too!
If you do decide to take this challenge for your pet, here is what you may see change:
DAY 1+: CLEAN BOWL CLUB
Starting with your dog’s first full bowl of Purina ONE®, you could see more excitement around mealtime, thanks to the crunchy bites & tender, meaty morsels that help keep your dog coming back meal after meal.
DAY 7+: ENERGY YOU CAN SEE
The SmartBlend® of nutrition in ever bag helps support your dog’s healthy energy. He may want to play longer and he may be happier overall.
DAY 14+: HIGH DIGESTIBILITY
Purina ONE® formulas* are easy to digest and promote high nutrient absorption, so more nutrition goes to work inside your dog. (*excluding Healthy Weight Formula)
DAY 21+: BRIGHT EYES, HEALTHY SKIN & COAT
Look for clear, alert eyes and a healthy skin and coat, supported by omega-6 fatty acids, vitamins & minerals.
Challenge 3: Water Wednesdays
This is such a simple challenge for everyone! My boys love juice, and I often dilute it with lots of water, but on Wednesdays, challenge the whole family to drink only water all day. It is so good for you, and you will learn to crave drinking water over other liquids. Even diet sodas and drinks have chemicals and sweeteners in them that affect your brain, so taking a break and infusing everyone with all the h20 they need will have everyone feeling much better. The bathroom might get used a bit more, but for one day, it is totally worth it! Try adding healthy fruits to your water if you really don’t like plain water. Above is strawberry lime, which can give you a hint of flavor, and still all the benefits!
Challenge 4: Fruit Fridays
Fruit is so good for you, and kids LOVE fruit. This challenge means that every snack needs to be a fruit, rather than cracker, chip or bar. My kids will gladly eat fruit, and often prefer it to packaged snacks. It does take more time to cut up and prepare, but the nutrient value is one million times that to cheese crackers, granola bars or cookies. Fruit is also much more filling because of the fiber and water content, so you will find yourself filling much more satisfied with a whole apple as a snack, rather than packaged snacks. Your kids will feel the same too. Make sure to pack fruit in lunches, rather than packaged things, and I find that clementines are super yummy, my kids love them, and you can throw them in without peeling for the older ones!
Challenge 5: Family Walks (or active time)
Depending on where you live, I challenge family walks or outdoor time together every day. Obviously weather can be an issue, but I grew up in the PNW, so I know it can be hard to get out in the rain or cold, but your kids need it! The fresh air and movement can lift everyone out of bad mood and encourage positive vibes! Especially after kids had to sit down at school most of the day. If weather gets too bad, play active games inside together, encouraging laughter and play. On the darkest days, I would play hide-and-go-seek in the house. My boys loved it, and it was a great way to get us all active together when we felt trapped inside on long nights. 5-days a week for family walks might sound hard, but that is part of a challenge right? Challenge yourself to do it for 28 days, and see if it makes huge difference in everyone’s mental health, as well as physical health this year!
I highly encourage you to take all five challenge on this year to help move your family towards healthier living this year. As a Pre/Post Natal Fitness Specialist, I live and breathe helping mamas gain back their health and wellness after baby, and I also think bringing the whole family into the cause is so important!
Let me know if you commit to any of the challenges and how you do!