10 Habits of Healthy Families
Don't go hungry
Dr. Oz keeps filling almonds on handdon’t be surprised if you see him nibbling a few on his show.
Automate breakfast and lunch
For lunch, Dr. Oz recommends a vegetable-based soup (like this tomato fennel soup recipe) or a turkey or tuna sandwich on whole-grain bread. For the kids, you can improve upon the PBJ sandwich (it’s not horrible, but the jelly is all sugar) by using less jelly or turning it into a PB sandwich with a piece of fruit.
Exercise 20 minutes a day—at home
“What we find is that if we tell people to do 20 minutes, they enjoy it and end up doing more than 20 minutes,” which is even better for your heart, Dr. Oz stresses. Simple ideas that work: Skip rope in your driveway, and alternate with crunches and push-ups; do 20 minutes of a workout video; walk in your neighborhood.
Be the food decider in your house
And if you try to restrict them, you’ll actually cause your child to crave them more. But if you don’t buy the sweets to begin with, kids won’t even miss them, Dr. Oz promises. Keep good-news snacks on hand (like nuts and pretzels) and fruit and veggies washed and chopped in your fridge. “Kids will eat healthy snacks when they get hungry enough,” Dr. Oz says.
Eat dinner together every night
“When families come together to eat, they create an emotional harmony that I think is pretty sacred for long-term health.” If evenings don’t work, turn breakfast into your family sit-down instead.
Play together every day
Just like with exercising at home for 20 minutes, the key is to carve out a reliable pocket of time when you can actually get active as a family. Working up a sweat together is an antiaging move, too: Using your mind to activate your muscles, either to dance or catch a ball, is one of the best ways to keep yourself young,” Dr. Oz says. Play a pick-up game of soccer, have a dance party, or shoot hoops after dinner.
Let your children police you
Talk to your kids about smart-eating goals, and encourage them to call you out if you grab junk food. “Kids love feeling empowered,” Dr. Oz says. It makes them feel like part of the solution, instead of feeling singled out as the only ones who have to follow healthy-eating rules.
Tell little ones a bedtime story
Make sure you have a bedtime routine
A good night’s sleep keeps you young. “Half of American adults have lost the ability to sleep, and not getting about seven hours a night can be a contributing factor to heart attacks and strokes,” Dr. Oz says. Keep your bedroom cool and dark, and nix the technology. If you can’t fall asleep after 15 minutes, don’t beat yourself up; get out of bed and meditate or read to help you relax.
Bond in bed
Having regular sex can add an extra three years to your life expectancy, Dr. Oz reports. His suggestion? Aim for twice a week. “The love that stems from that blissful moment of being in each other’s arms,” he says, “is crucial for strengthening your relationship—and your health.”
Next slideshow: Dr. Oz's Favorite Foods