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7 Tips to Help Teens Find Life Balance (Mixify) + $100 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

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This post is brought to you by BlogHer and the American Beverage Association.

Teenage years are an interesting chapter: not only do teens learn (with parental help) how to become successfully independent, teenage years are also very important and formative years in terms of setting lifelong habits and defining values. Food, drink, and physical activity are huge components of teenage life. Teens need to create healthy habits such as a balance between healthy foods, sweet treats, soda consumption, and physical exercise; in turn these habits will make their transition into adulthood a smooth and happy journey! A huge emphasis should be on helping the teens become health-conscious and balanced individuals in relation to what they eat, drink, and their physical activities.

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Here are 7 tips to help your teens find healthy balance and make smart food and drink choices:

1. Cook at home from scratch, using whole food ingredients! I remember my parents cooking this way when I was growing up, and I know that it was the best way to instill my core food habits. Being a good role model for your teens and being consistent with healthy food choices is the best way to establish healthy eating habits. Kids like to mirror. Lead by example!
2. Always welcome sweets and treats, in moderation! Teenagers love sweet drinks, energy drinks, and other fun treats. Set a personal example by consuming those fun foods in moderate quantities and balancing healthy foods with fun foods.
3. Actually have a conversation about your food philosophy! Whenever it seems appropriate or whenever the subject of food comes up, talk with your teen about how to maintain a balanced, healthy diet, how to balance healthy foods with fun foods, such as desserts and sweet drinks, and how to make sure everything is consumed in moderation. Talking about food is important, and it’s usually a fun conversation, too! It’s especially important during teenage years when kids are more capable of understanding and making the right food choices.
4. Get plenty of physical activity every day! My mother-in-law always said that the best way to keep teenagers out of trouble is to keep them busy with sports. It’s very important to keep your teenager busy with healthy activities that benefit both his/her mind and body.
5. Get outside with your teen! In our current world filled with technology and internet, it’s important to find balance in that too, and we make sure to spend a lot of time outdoors! We like to be active, but we also like to be out in nature, enjoying the fresh air, being with other active friends and their kids, and appreciating the beauty around us. Only out in nature we can become witnesses to really striking moments:
Elks

Experiences like that really have a formative effect on our teens. They learn to appreciate the beauty and the world around us and to see that we are not the only inhabitants on the Planet Earth:

abaphotos-7

6. Get good sleep! Making the right food choices, active lifestyle, and good sleep will help your teen go through his/her teen years and the hormonal changes in a smooth manner.

7. Help your teen discover his/her passion! Everything will be easier, more fun, and more positive for your teen if you help him/her discover his/her passion and support it! When teenagers have a hobby they are passionate about, it helps them stay balanced emotionally, helps them feel fulfilled and important. What does your teenager enjoy doing? Hiking, biking, photography, science projects? Help them discover things they feel passionate about and support them in pursuing those passions!

We’re all busy, including our teens. But amid tons of homework and after-school activities, let’s communicate with our teens about healthy eating, having an active lifestyle, occasionally enjoying sweet treats, sodas, and the idea that everything we eat and drink should be in moderation. It will help make their transition through adolescence so much smoother and happier.

Mixify is an on-going effort by Coke, Dr Pepper and Pepsi to educate teens and help them balance their foods, drinks and physical activities. For teens, MyMixify.com offers experts (from nutritionists and dietitians, to coaches and athletes) who are standing by to answer any questions they might have about healthy balance. The website also provides tips and tools, such as healthy recipes, a calorie calculator, tools to discover national parks, trails, and nature in general! Parents can also connect with ABA Delivers on Twitter, or ABA Delivers on Facebook. You can also learn more about America’s Beverage Companies’ commitments and initiatives to helping achieve a healthier lifestyle, such as removing full-calorie sodas from schools, and their new goal to cut beverage calories consumed per person by 20 percent by 2025 via Delivering Choices for Balance.

“Coke, Dr Pepper and Pepsi understand that getting a balanced mix of foods, drinks and physical activities for your family isn’t always easy. That’s why they’re coming together for the first time ever to talk to teens about balancing what they eat and drink with what they do. With tools to help teens get active and information to help them think about when they’ve had too much, or maybe when it’s time for a treat—America’s beverage companies are supporting our efforts to find a balanced mix that works for our families.”

We are also giving away a $100 Visa gift card! To enter for a chance to win, please leave a comment telling me: What do you do to keep your family balanced? Any tips or real life examples?

Sweepstakes Rules:

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  4. For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the [email protected] email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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This sweepstakes runs from 12/15/14 – 12/24/14.

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{ 191 comments… add one }
  • heather December 15, 2014, 9:53 pm

    To keep our family balanced we eat healthy and try to eat at home a lot. We also exercise and stick to a routine.

  • Monique December 16, 2014, 7:49 am

    Hi Julia..I am not entering..I am canadian..but wanted to tell you … Happy Holidays to you and your family.
    I have made some wonderful things because of you this year.Thank you.

  • Lauren December 16, 2014, 8:11 am

    Make sure to keep a good work/life balance. Always enjoy each others’ company!

  • sarah k @ the pajama chef December 16, 2014, 8:17 am

    what great tips! to keep my family balanced i think it’s very important to have planned breakfasts and lunches during the work week. i will make a healthy breakfast casserole or baked oatmeal at night/on the weekends and leave it in the fridge. my husband leaves 2 hours before i do so he can easily heat that up or take some to work with him… he’s a teacher and has a weird lunch schedule so having a good breakfast is important. i also know i need to have plenty of healthy lunch fixings like carrots, fruit, yogurt, etc. so we aren’t tempted to get junk for lunch because it’s convenient. if i have it and pack it, we’ll eat it! 🙂 these are great pics btw!!

  • Linda Bradshaw December 16, 2014, 9:49 am

    Healthy breakfast to start the day and routine, schedule, and laughs.

    • Kim December 21, 2014, 7:27 am

      Great tips Thanks! I have 4 kids and we make them grow a garden. If it is my garden they don’t care. When I started calling it their garden they would weed, worry about watering, race to serif things were big enough to pick. It was crazy to see the difference. I can as much of it and they help. It is a great way to talk about the benefits of foods. We also have a family exercise schedule. My kids love music so none of them are involved in sports. I worried about their physical activity level so we just make them workout. Fun things linke playing basketball early at the church one morning. Some times they just do a video or we play add-on.

  • Linda Bradshaw December 16, 2014, 9:51 am
  • Mami2jcn December 16, 2014, 10:32 am

    We limit soda and sweets.

  • Mami2jcn December 16, 2014, 10:34 am

    tweet–https://twitter.com/mami2jcn/status/544923486670815232

  • Elena December 16, 2014, 10:52 am

    we eat healthy and exercise

  • Elena December 16, 2014, 10:55 am
  • Natalie December 16, 2014, 11:51 am

    I keep my family balanced by limiting tv time, exercising as a family, and going to church regularly.

  • Natalie December 16, 2014, 11:52 am
  • Rosie December 16, 2014, 12:18 pm

    I find it is important to be structured and lots of planning, but don’t let it be too obvious that it all seems like work and regimentation. Quality times together, near and far, activities, lessons, sharing and learning together. Remember kids learn by example, whether it is what you eat, do, say, go. Be a good example of balance, with letting them know how important it is to get enough rest to be healthy, have fun cooking healthy meals, plan way ahead together for day trips, etc.

  • Julie Wood December 16, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Spend Quality and Quantity Time Together is so much more important for me than making the big bucks and neglecting my family! We do fun things together, eat healthy meals, and limit sugar snacks and sugar sodas. We also limit TV time and do things together as a family!

  • Julie Wood December 16, 2014, 1:07 pm
  • Kelly D December 16, 2014, 1:29 pm

    I make sure my kids get plenty of exercise by doing outdoor activities. I also give them lots of fruits and veggies.

  • Kathleen December 16, 2014, 3:03 pm

    To keep a balance with my family (3 kids), I serve a variety of things so at least one thing is picked and snacks are minimum and lean toward the healthy ones!!!

  • Annabelle December 16, 2014, 4:52 pm

    We balance our family by having fruit on hand and keeping them from drinking soda. I have 4 boys and their appetites are huge (ages 17, 14, 9, & 9)…so we try to be sure we have snacks that are healthy that they enjoy…fruit, veggies with dip, popcorn, etc.

  • Tyneisha Fondren December 16, 2014, 6:30 pm

    To keep our family balance we eat healthy and sleep well, and have a good mix of outdoor and indoor activities.

  • Tyneisha Fondren December 16, 2014, 6:34 pm
  • tammy December 16, 2014, 6:39 pm

    We laugh all the time

  • Melissa M December 16, 2014, 7:18 pm

    We go on family walks.

  • Melissa M December 16, 2014, 7:21 pm
  • Elle December 16, 2014, 8:25 pm

    My tips to keep balance are to have a schedule and to follow it. If you schedule in time for things like exercise or play or taking the time to prepare a healthier snack, you will find that you have time to do these things rather than just winging it.

  • Elle December 16, 2014, 8:26 pm
  • Jordan D. December 16, 2014, 8:36 pm

    My family has always tried to have sit-down dinners at least once a week with homemade food. It’s a great way to bring us all together, eating something healthy and delicious without outside distractions like TV or phones. We also try to have family game nights every once in a while.

  • irma cortez December 16, 2014, 10:12 pm

    To keep balance I walk (run after my two year old) and I made him a mini obstacle course in his room since we live in an apt and sometimes its hard to take him to a park near my home.

  • Nelya L December 16, 2014, 11:41 pm

    A good tip is: everything in moderation. Sometimes even too much of a good thing is bad for you (for example, too much vitamins/minerals leads to kidney stones! My husband, unfortunately, recently experienced that.) We usually don’t even keep soda in the house (so that we aren’t tempted to consume it). We had our first baby a few months ago and we’re already planning to stop or at least reduce candy consumption. We might also get rid of the TV. That might be harder for us as parents (no TV to act as the “babysitter”) but spending time with our boy is more valuable. Another tip: lead by example! Sometime I hear people giving out advice that they themselves don’t even follow…

  • Maria December 17, 2014, 2:26 am

    While driving in the car, I’ve become a great listener when my teens seem to vent during this time. Sometimes they don’t need advice, they just need to talk and have someone really listen.

  • Faith Thompson December 17, 2014, 5:41 am

    We limit tv time, don’t drink soda, eat very little sweets, and spend time together as a family doing fun things on a regular basis! We enjoy each other!!

  • Kelley Hill December 17, 2014, 5:55 am

    Routine is important. And we sit down every night for dinner as a family.

  • Arnetrius December 17, 2014, 7:02 am

    Good nutrition and a balanced diet help kid s grow up healthy.The American Heart Association recommends that sugar intake for children is limited to 3 teaspoons (12 grams) a day.

  • Betty Weiss December 17, 2014, 7:50 am

    We walk the dogs twice a day- keeps everyone fit!

  • Great post, great tips. Thanks. And I hope you have a wonderful holiday season!

  • tina m December 17, 2014, 12:46 pm

    we try eat health dinner together and go for a walk after dinner

  • tina m December 17, 2014, 12:46 pm
  • amber johnson December 17, 2014, 1:03 pm

    Staying organized keeps my family balanced.

  • Megan December 17, 2014, 1:10 pm

    We eat well, drink water, and we take time for one another. Every night after getting ready for bed, we sit and read a book together.

  • Karen December 17, 2014, 1:43 pm

    We don’t keep “junk food” in the house, so when we do let the kids have it (at the movies, at a fair, etc.), it really feels like a treat.

  • Devon December 17, 2014, 2:34 pm

    I’m the mom and wife of picky eaters so I hide vegetables anywhere I can!!! Fruit is big in our house as well! To stay balanced we enroll our son in sports and I make ALMOST everything from scratch and use healthy substitutions! We encourage him to try new things but don’t force it on him. I also let him plan a healthy meal or snack and take him grocery shopping with me every time I go to demonstrate that there are healthy alternatives!! In the summer we are never home and in the winter we all get a workout as often as possible by going to the local sledding spot and playing in the snow in our own backyard!

  • Kristen D. December 17, 2014, 4:30 pm

    We cook at home almost every night (with an occasional treat out!) and try to encourage at least one activity a day- a run, a walk, something!

  • Natalia December 17, 2014, 7:06 pm

    In my family we dont drink soda, dont waste money on junck food, and I reading to my kids books almost evey night.

  • Didi December 17, 2014, 8:27 pm

    A balanced family makes time to be together, to go to church, to have meals together and to learn to serve others.

  • Crystal Sell December 17, 2014, 11:04 pm

    We always try to stay moving! We love good hearty food but try and keep it healthy and balanced and love to go out on hikes together.

  • Lisa Brown December 18, 2014, 4:30 am

    we eat well and try to stay active as a family

  • Lisa Brown December 18, 2014, 4:31 am
  • Adr December 18, 2014, 7:11 am

    All things in moderation and dinner together with good conversation and NO electronic devices each evening!

  • itzia December 18, 2014, 7:20 am

    we have a routine to make/bring lunches everyday and go on walks every evening.

  • itzia December 18, 2014, 7:21 am
  • Good tips, Julia! In a beautiful place like Colorado, outdoor activities are more pleasant… Nothing like exercising in a beautiful scenery, right?

  • Shannon December 18, 2014, 10:26 am

    Surrounding myself around balanced people helps tremendously!

  • Shannon December 18, 2014, 10:28 am
  • Nataly Carbonell December 18, 2014, 10:34 am

    My family eats a little bit of everything, we love our meats but we also love vegetables and good portions of fruits. We go to the park regularly, there, we walk sometimes jog or ride our bicycles and the small ones like to play on the play ground. Something we started doing recently was drinking green juices. These juices usually contain kale, cucumber, spinach, and for flavor I sometimes add green apples, lemon and mint.

  • Nataly Carbonell December 18, 2014, 10:35 am
  • Gina M December 18, 2014, 12:02 pm

    We eat lots of fruits and veggies and limit our sugar intake.

    Thanks for the chance to win!
    wildorchid985 AT gmail DOT com

  • Gina M December 18, 2014, 12:12 pm

    tweet–https://twitter.com/um_lil_cutie/status/545648380639449088

  • erica best December 18, 2014, 12:36 pm

    we make alot baked meals

  • erica best December 18, 2014, 12:45 pm
  • Evie Moring December 18, 2014, 2:38 pm

    To stay balanced we eat as a family around the table most nights during the week and have a Family Game Night and Family Movie Night each month.

  • Saundra A December 18, 2014, 3:34 pm

    I plan my meals and cook large meals that will last a couple of days for dinner. After teaching all day, I am too tired to chop and cook anything. I use my slow cooker a lot even in the warmer months.

  • Saundra A December 18, 2014, 3:38 pm
  • Lisa December 18, 2014, 4:10 pm

    We limit our kids TV time — we try to limit internet but it gets hard with school work and monitoring when they’re just surfing the web and when they’re working

  • cheri December 18, 2014, 4:11 pm

    Hi Julia, great tips…mine are grown now, but having plenty of exercise and activities was a big part of them growing up, they are wonderful adults, but I guess I am a bit prejudiced. Happy Holidays!

  • steve weber December 18, 2014, 7:16 pm

    we focus on work/school during the week and fun activities on the weekend.

  • Jessie C. December 18, 2014, 8:04 pm

    I do menu plan to make sure we eat healthy and make exercise a family fun date to enjoy weekly.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  • Jessie C. December 18, 2014, 8:04 pm

    -https://twitter.com/tcarolinep/status/545791347933085696

  • alanique December 18, 2014, 11:52 pm

    one thing that i do to keep my family healthy is yoga!
    i am a cheer coach and i make sure my girls know the importance of a balanced diet along with exercise and flexibility training!
    yoga for my family and cheer squad has grown from being a routine workout to a great bonding experience!

  • Nicole D December 19, 2014, 4:05 am

    We walk instead of drive when we can, we drink plenty of water, we eat fruits when we get a sweet tooth, and we do a lot of outdoor activities together.

  • Nicole D December 19, 2014, 4:06 am
  • Jbhall December 19, 2014, 11:13 am

    I try to encourage my family to make healthy choices, enjoy goodies in moderation, and to strive to engage in physical fitness daily. We talk about physical and mental fitness. I use examples all the time. I remember going on a “forced family fun hike”…lol. We began the hike with two grumpy kiddos who were smiling and laughing at the end.

  • Jenice December 19, 2014, 3:28 pm

    I am a grandmother but feel taking time to have meals together is most important.

  • maria cantu December 19, 2014, 6:15 pm

    We ride bikes and we eat at least one meal a day together.

  • tammigirl December 19, 2014, 9:30 pm

    I try to help keep my family balanced by setting an increasingly better example with the foods I eat, and especially what I drink. I used to drink wayyyy to many soft drinks. It’s not about no sugar or no soft drinks – it’s about not making them a dietary staple.

    I also try to teach them which parts of the store are the best to shop and which foods offer the body more than others.

  • Deb Jackson December 20, 2014, 4:32 am

    We balance work, play and school by setting priorities and keeping them.

  • Deb Jackson December 20, 2014, 4:33 am
  • rachel December 20, 2014, 7:20 am

    We’re struggling to find balance now that we’ve had a baby. Once I can take her to my gym’s daycare (when she hits 1 years old!), that will be soooo helpful.

  • mlh December 20, 2014, 8:24 am

    We do no allow video games at our house. They are just time wasters and before you know it they have sat for hours and only moved their thumbs!

  • Rose Shepherd December 20, 2014, 12:01 pm

    I try to plan healthy meals and snacks and educate the kids on making healthy food choices. We also try to get in exercise and play outdoors often.

  • Cindy December 20, 2014, 1:30 pm

    We keep balance by keeping Christ the center of our lives. Staying active and eating right.

  • Dianne Holcombe December 20, 2014, 1:46 pm

    Children learn by example so be a good one!

  • Kathy December 20, 2014, 2:00 pm

    we keep balance by offering healthy food choices and encouraging exercise!

  • alison dale December 20, 2014, 2:42 pm

    keeping balance is hard for adults let alone teens.

  • Kathy December 20, 2014, 2:51 pm

    Love the comments about balance – I think being to restrictive pushes anyone the wrong way. Living by example is the best way we can teach good habits to our kids. Love your site!

  • Jolene December 20, 2014, 2:54 pm

    I love to cook at home with a variety of fresh ingredients. We play outside as much as possible.

  • Diane White December 20, 2014, 3:02 pm

    draw a circle , now divide the circle into parts and amounts as to what you do on a daily basic, ex: family time, play time, chore time, hobby time, church time and alone time. to stay balance is to stay focused on this circle. If one part overshadows the other then the family if out of balance. Remember that God is the head of the family as the husband is the head of the family, therefore the husband needs to step up and take responsibility for keeping the family balanced. Of course, in a single parent family then it is the one who is the parent who is responsible for the balance of the family, Not the teenagers who should never be in charge.. In trust and Love and all due respect to the family I have been a single parent as well as married.

  • Ivette Chiong December 20, 2014, 3:50 pm

    I try to take my kids on little nature walks as well as bike rides. This way I’m involved and hopefully setting an example as well. We also try to keep non homework computer time to an hour a day its rough especially with the Minecraft craze but their generally ok with it once we do other activities together.

  • Kayla Starr-Smith December 20, 2014, 3:51 pm

    To keep my family balanced I try to stick to a routine and use fresh foods. During the summer we go to the local farmers market! We take our 3 dogs for walks and just have fun. In the winter we still try to buy locally from our grocery store and the dogs get in on the action lol they love veggies! Having a game plan definitely helps keep a balanced home 🙂

  • Ivette C. December 20, 2014, 4:04 pm
  • ally December 20, 2014, 5:00 pm

    Careful planning! Lol

  • Kim December 20, 2014, 6:19 pm

    My daughter and I do yoga together, and my son helps me cook!!

  • Ashley C December 20, 2014, 6:38 pm

    We try to have an equal balance of doing active things together as a family, doing things at home as a family, and allowing each individual some space to be on their own

    demureprincess7(at)gmail(dot)com

  • Stephanie Claudio December 20, 2014, 7:43 pm

    We plan/write down our meal menu on a board in the kitchen, this helps keep us on track with eating at home. Our daughter loves special days like, “fend for yourself Fridays” or “serve yourself Saturdays” these nights we re heat yummy leftovers (like lasagna or enchiladas) or she gets to make her own meal and that promotes individual responsibility in having a balanced meal 🙂

  • Denise L December 20, 2014, 8:53 pm

    We generally buy and eat fresh, whole foods every day. I do let us indulge in sweets and chips from time to time. That way no one feels deprived.

  • Denise L December 20, 2014, 8:54 pm
  • OFG December 20, 2014, 9:18 pm
  • OFG December 20, 2014, 9:22 pm

    We try to keep a lot of veggies and fruit on hand, so if we do eat something that isn’t so good for us we make sure we don’t do it very often.

    onefrugalgirl AT gmail DOT com

  • Sarah Jones December 20, 2014, 9:37 pm

    Life balance…so important to eat to live, not live to eat, and enjoy a variety of activities. I prefer hiking in the Columbia River Gorge…such a beautiful workout!

  • Jody D December 21, 2014, 1:05 am

    I am a newly single mom of 2and to keep my family healthy I premake a lot so that we don’t feel the urge to go out to greasy restaurants. I put things in the freezer in bulk and reheat. I get a lot of fruits, veggies, string cheese, and crackers and my 2 kids love them. Since I’m not able to do a lot of exercise, we take walks with our family dog or go to the city park to feed the geese.lol

  • Marina December 21, 2014, 1:08 am

    Routine is very important. Also going to church regularly gives us great balance in life.

  • Connie Moore December 21, 2014, 4:01 am

    Never stop talking. Never stop being present. Never stop loving. And most of all, never stop being a PARENT first.

  • Bridget Lewis December 21, 2014, 7:46 am

    My son is 17 and my daughter will soon be 16. We make it a point to use fresh ingredients and making healthy meals from scratch. Being together in the kitchen also is a great way to have a conversation without it being ‘awkward’. 🙂 Love the Mixify program.

  • Kerry December 21, 2014, 7:46 am

    I always encourage healthy snacks. And our kids are also involved in a lot of sports.

  • Kerry December 21, 2014, 8:11 am
  • yi eng December 21, 2014, 8:17 am

    Great post. . One way to keep the family balanced is also to have outdoor activities. For example at night after dinner or on the weekends, the whole family takes a walk around the block or to the closest store around. This way, you get your activity time and family quality time.

  • Andrea Basped December 21, 2014, 8:27 am

    We try and eat more at home as a family and push the water this time of year as we tend not to want it in the cold months for some reason;) I am really excited to make and try your recipe for the Butternut squash and spinach lasagna, it looks so yummy!!

  • Deepika Sachdev December 21, 2014, 8:30 am

    I cook daily and let the kids help out. I make a menu ahead of time which keeps me well organized and stress free so we can do other chores without constantly worry about what to make.

  • Megan December 21, 2014, 10:11 am

    My daughter is 3, and already I have her help me prepare meals and explain to her how we stay healthy. In between meals we talk about the difference between healthy snacks and treats so she can start to make healthy choices now.

  • Pam December 21, 2014, 12:03 pm

    My mother encouraged healthy food habits and exercise when I was growing up, and the effect it had on me has been life-changing. I believe it was this lifestyle that allowed me to become successful in my life, and I will surely impart those same healthy habits on my family (once I have one).

  • Sonya Morris December 21, 2014, 12:42 pm

    I try to make sure the kids get enough physical activity even if it means bringing out the tricycles and chasing them around the house. Yes, we have tricycles and scooters in the house just for this!

  • Sonya Morris December 21, 2014, 12:42 pm
  • Joy December 21, 2014, 1:30 pm

    I have 3 teen girls who love to laugh together. We have discovered a shared love for cooking. We rarely eat out or bring in so we always have staples on hand so any one of us can whip up something healthy. We also believe firmly that balance must include giving to others. The family has several community projects we like to volunteer for throughout the year. My family makes a choice to stay grounded through our church as well.

  • Dee December 21, 2014, 2:11 pm

    We eat dinner together every night and make sure it’s a healthy dish. We also participate in outings together on Sunday 🙂

  • Dee December 21, 2014, 2:11 pm
  • Leah Brislin December 21, 2014, 2:24 pm

    We pray, lots! (And spend time together having fun and making memories).

  • Lisa Connor December 21, 2014, 3:20 pm

    We eat mostly organic, limit meat to once a week and eat vegetarian or sustainable seafood the rest of the time.

  • Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl December 21, 2014, 4:21 pm

    This post made me smile, such wonderful suggestions. I especially like learning to teach cooking in the kitchen as soon as possible, I think it makes such a difference in the future. Also, yes, get out and play! As a kid we would play outside until mom called us in!

  • Georgia December 21, 2014, 4:49 pm

    Dinner every Sunday at my house for sure.

    gmissycat at yahoo dot com

  • Georgia December 21, 2014, 4:51 pm
  • Lori December 21, 2014, 6:04 pm

    Moderation.

  • Varsha Agiwal December 21, 2014, 6:21 pm

    Thanks soo much for all the information. I am sure its going to help me .

  • Lindsey December 21, 2014, 6:32 pm

    I am certainly striving for life balance – and your peanut butter cookies are definitely a part of that! 🙂

  • Rebekah Godt December 21, 2014, 6:44 pm

    To keep my family balanced. We eat healthy real food dinners at home around the table. No TV, phones, or tablets. We talk to one another and learn how to communicate. We also take walks and garden together.

  • Debby December 21, 2014, 8:47 pm

    Sharing a love of cooking by experimenting with ingredients and eating healthy. Laughing a lot. Always paying it forward every chance possible. 🙂

  • Kristi December 21, 2014, 10:37 pm

    We get a lot of exercise every day. Everybody has their “thing” and we love it!

  • Debby December 21, 2014, 11:30 pm
  • Kristen December 22, 2014, 12:24 am

    We “unplug” regularly and go hiking in nature.

  • Kristen December 22, 2014, 12:26 am
  • Nelli K December 22, 2014, 1:46 am

    To keep my family balanced I create a menu for the week and try to stick to it, also have a list of chores that need to be done every day. We try to prioritize and do things that are most important and would benefit our family and then go on the things that are less important once we did those.

  • Rosa December 22, 2014, 2:22 am

    Great tips and interesting read.

    Happy Holidays and best wishes for 2015!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  • Amber December 22, 2014, 2:49 am

    We try to cut back on sweets and eat more fruit to satisfy any cravings.

  • Mary Lynn December 22, 2014, 4:15 am

    Swimming. It is a proven fact that it is impossible to smoke pot while swimming. All three of my kids swim. They are 28, 20 and 13. The youngest is a high school freshman and experiencing his first season of HS swim team. High School swimming involves doing “two-a-days” (swimming from 5:30 a.m./7:00 a.m. three mornings a week – including Saturday – and 3:45 to 5:00 every day, along with the other three mornings being spent in the weight room). Also, if the swimming program is any good, they teach the students about nutrition (yes, when you are swimming/exercising that much, you do need to increase your calories (6,000 – 8,000 to maintain) and liquid intake . . . my son weighs 100 pounds, therefore, he needs to be drinking 120 oz. minimum per day), different exercises to improve strength and endurance, the importance of sleep and time management (i.e., swimming isn’t their life, scholastics are and they have to manage their time well enough to be able to do it all).

  • Shashi at Runninsrilankan December 22, 2014, 4:27 am

    Fantastic post Julia! My daughter just turned 16 and home cooked meals not only are healthier but provide the opportunity to teach and talk too! I, too, am a huge fan of desserts in moderation – so long as about 75-80% of our meals are veggie and lean protein packed. I also try to sneak in veggies into treats – like beets in cupcakes and cookies 😉
    Hoping you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and Thanks for hosting this amazing giveaway too!

  • Valerie Hopkins December 22, 2014, 4:42 am

    When our daughter was in her teens we always made sure that family and our faith were number 1 in our lives. It got her through those tough teen years.

  • Micheleh December 22, 2014, 5:01 am

    To keep our family balanced we eat healthy!

  • Sharonne December 22, 2014, 9:08 am

    In order to keep my family balanced I cook meals at home instead of eating out and we sit together me and my daughter and eat. We also go for walks on the trail in the apartments we live in and she likes to play on the playground.

  • Anna December 22, 2014, 9:41 am

    Love ur blog! For us a healthy day starts with healthy breakfast!!!

  • Dawn Monroe December 22, 2014, 10:39 am

    I have a large family so its hard but we try to let everyone express themselves in their own way and give everyone a say or choice when appropriate.

  • Carmen N December 22, 2014, 10:46 am

    We do a lot of cooking from scratch – I don’t like that a lot of ingredients in commercial foods are unrecognizable.

  • Diane December 22, 2014, 11:19 am

    No soda, lots of juice and the majority of our meals are made from scratch.

  • Angela December 22, 2014, 12:15 pm

    Great tips and a wonderful website.

  • Julie December 22, 2014, 12:17 pm

    I talk relentlessly about cutting down on processed foods. We are leaning more and more towards natural foods everyday.
    Sugar is also a big topic. Trying to educate just how unhealthy it is. When you know better – you choose better.

  • MotorCityMich December 22, 2014, 2:23 pm

    I have started cooking at home more often and limiting processed foods. Takes a little planning at first, but it has been so worth it!

  • Julie Covin December 22, 2014, 2:56 pm

    We eat dinner together every night, made from scratch. I make breakfasts over the weekend. Our favorite in whole wheat oatmeal pancakes with a few chocolate chips!

  • Judy December 22, 2014, 3:27 pm

    I am not entering because I am your mother-in-law! But how fun to see the photos of you and Luke and even “advice” from me!! And some excellent suggestions for keeping those teens healthy! Good for you, Honey!

  • Chris @ The Café Sucré Farine December 22, 2014, 4:23 pm

    Good advice Julia! Wishing you a blessed Christmas!

  • Debbie b December 22, 2014, 5:26 pm

    we try to eat healthy meals and exercise regularly

  • Debbie b December 22, 2014, 5:28 pm
  • Valerie December 22, 2014, 6:10 pm

    We eat dinner together as often as possible (I work nights), and I encourage plenty of down time/solo time in addition to supporting the kids in their sports and active pursuits and time with friends.

  • Jess December 23, 2014, 12:00 am

    We make sure we do three things together everyday…eat at the dinner table, take the dog for a walk and do the dishes. It’s weird, but it brings us closer and let’s us unplug for at least an hour.

  • Emily December 23, 2014, 2:17 am

    We’re pretty good at balancing food-wise, but we need to work more on balancing sleep. It’s important to not vary your sleep routine too much on the weekends, and that’s where my family needs to improve a bit. Goal for 2015!

    Thanks for the sweepstakes opportunity!

  • Jennifer Turner December 23, 2014, 4:31 am

    I would love to win the gift card! I am going to make the shrimp pasta. I love shrimp and love pasta!!

  • MariaV December 23, 2014, 6:05 am

    Eating meals together is a great way for balance.

  • Becky December 23, 2014, 7:25 am

    We make sure there are at least 3 or 4 different colors of food on the plate.

  • Claire December 23, 2014, 11:58 am

    Make healthy meals

  • angie December 23, 2014, 1:35 pm

    We struggle to keep our weekends free for fun stuff with so many errands that need run and only one car. SO, to keep our weekends as fun as possible, hubby does errands after work on his way home and we do our grocery shopping after work as well. That way, weekends are for relaxing and doing what we want to do, not what we have to do.

  • angie December 23, 2014, 1:36 pm
  • Charlotte December 23, 2014, 2:53 pm

    To help me stay healthy, I wear a fitbit and monitor my steps daily.

  • Neiddy December 23, 2014, 3:34 pm

    Our way to stay balanced is to eat healthy and well balanced homemade meals, we only get the kids fast food in special occasions and we only go out to eat 2-3 times per month.

  • Neiddy December 23, 2014, 3:38 pm

    tweeted -https://twitter.com/neiddy_ruiz/status/547490845646405632

  • Neiddy December 23, 2014, 3:43 pm

    I am not sure if my mandatory entry posted so here it goes again: we stay balanced by eating healthy homemade meals and staying active

  • Rosie December 23, 2014, 4:10 pm

    Your tips are just like mine – exactly! I also like making cooking fun, by having a “smoothie station,” a “taco station,” or “pizza parlor”, like pretend shops. It helps make everyone want to participate and enjoy healthy eating!!

  • Nancy Snyder December 23, 2014, 5:58 pm

    I had a wonderful pediatrician, when my children where little, he gave priceless information on child rearing. Here are his best and since my children are grown with children of their own I can swear these work.
    1. always envision your children as the very best your children can be, such as getting degrees and living successful lives.
    2. If you offer healthy choices in food and drink your children will balance their own diets.
    3. Never call your child by anything but something positive.

  • Elissa December 23, 2014, 7:11 pm
  • Brenda December 23, 2014, 8:03 pm

    Great article. In our hectic lives it is hard to find balance. We are sure to have dinner together at the table every night.

  • Caryn D December 23, 2014, 10:43 pm

    I make up a very detailed shopping list and gather all my ingredients and plan for make ahead meals. I also encourage my 6yo to help with cooking and explain healthy choices vs non healthy choices. I’ve been overweight in the past and she has seen my struggle so we encourage healthy eating and at home cooking vs always eating out. That’s saved for special events.

  • Tatyana December 23, 2014, 10:50 pm

    We as a family usually eat together and play outside weather permitting , also tv time is limited to couple hrs a week if that.

  • Jacqueline December 24, 2014, 5:32 am

    I have 2 boys in College and a daughter whose a Nurse. I am also a Nurse but have not worked in a few years due to Lupus and the toll it’s takes on my heart and joints. I recently had a pacemaker placed which has helped! My boys drive home to see me on the weekends and we take short walks together when then weather permits! My kids are all very active in sports, workout daily and eat healthy. They tell me that I’ve been their inspiration to always see the positive and never give up!! Attitude is half the battle! Thank you for your wonderful blog!! Merry Christmas!!

  • Amanda Sakovitz December 24, 2014, 6:09 am

    I make homemade meals with veggies to keep them balanced

  • Amanda Sakovitz December 24, 2014, 6:09 am
  • Aurelie Red December 24, 2014, 6:47 am

    We make homemade meals, try to stay active, and eat all our meals together !

  • Aurelie Red December 24, 2014, 6:48 am
  • Stefanie December 24, 2014, 11:28 am

    I try to always feed my family healthy dinners from whole food ingredients. No processed, boxed food items. In the summer we have a garden that we eat from.

  • Thomas Murphy December 24, 2014, 11:39 am

    We make sure to make time for everything from work and school to fun time.

  • Stefanie December 24, 2014, 11:41 am
  • Thomas Murphy December 24, 2014, 11:42 am
  • Susan Smith December 24, 2014, 12:27 pm

    My family love fruits and veggies in our house! We also eat dinner together every night and turn off electronics and go outside to play a few times a week.

  • Susan Smith December 24, 2014, 12:29 pm
  • Marie December 24, 2014, 12:40 pm

    Thank you for article. My sister needs help in this topic and I’m glad I came across it so I can share. I worry about diabetes with her two sons bc they seem to eat all bad foods and the weights been continuous over the years. I know these simple tips will help open the conversation in a friendly/caring manner. Happy Holidays

  • Whitney December 24, 2014, 2:15 pm

    We eat a fruit snack each day and veggies each night to stay balanced.

  • Whitney December 24, 2014, 2:16 pm
  • Tabathia B December 24, 2014, 2:26 pm

    We eat dinner together as a family and I try to limit their after school activites

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  • Tabathia B December 24, 2014, 2:31 pm
  • Dani H December 24, 2014, 2:36 pm

    Of course, a healthy diet, exercise and sleep are fundamentals but we also have lots of hugs and “I love you’s” and, most importantly, keeping the lines of communication open by always being willing to really listen.

    Happy Holidays!

    Thanks for a chance at the giveaway!

  • Tamara December 24, 2014, 3:25 pm

    We stay balanced by drinking water all day (no sugary drinks, usually). And we try to incorporate some form of exercise into our daily routine!

  • Tamara December 24, 2014, 3:29 pm
  • Ellie Wright December 24, 2014, 3:58 pm

    My biggest struggle is finding the time for all of our family activities. So I do my best to manage our schedules so that the kids have enough down time and get enough rest.

    eswright18 at gmail dot com

  • Ellie Wright December 24, 2014, 3:59 pm
  • Laura Lombardi December 24, 2014, 6:30 pm

    We keep balance in my family by following a vegetarian diet, a pedestrian lifestyle where we walk together for exercise and pleasure, and we read and pray together daily. We discuss current news, school and community events and volunteer opportunities.

  • Laura Lombardi December 24, 2014, 6:37 pm
  • Charlia Vance December 24, 2014, 6:45 pm

    We try to have a colorful selection of food on our plate, that way we are eating a variety of veggies and fruits, along with a quality protein. When the presentation is nice, we enjoy the food better. We’ve also found that if we don’t have junk in the house…..we don’t eat it! Yay!

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