family around the breakfast table

It's morning--the perfect time to get your day off to a healthy start. What better way than to use breakfast time as a family forum to share weekly health achievements?

It's easier and more fun to set and reach nutrition and fitness goals when you do so with the support of others. And if you're having fun, you'll have a better chance of turning today's actions into long-term healthy habits that will keep you and your family eating right and exercising often.

Your chances of sticking to healthy activities are increased if you enjoy them and have company while doing them. So why not create a "Breakfast Medal Ceremony" each morning to bring this idea to life? Keep reading to learn a few guidelines to help you create this daily morale booster at your family's breakfast table:

Plan Ahead
The best morning plans begin with evening preparations. The night before you'd like to kick off your first Breakfast Medal Ceremony, gather your whole family together to let them know about the event. Announce that for the next month, breakfast time will include a sharing of health goals and achievements to inspire and encourage each other.

To help family members prepare for the initial meeting, suggest that they do the following:

  • Bring a list of a few diet and exercise goals that they feel ready to tackle and are willing to share with the family. Possible goals could include eating more fruits and vegetables every day, sticking to a low-fat diet to lose weight, or doing regular exercise.
  • Be prepared to listen and provide support to other family members to help them reach their goals.
  • Commit to needed lifestyle changes to ensure they make real improvements in their health and wellbeing.

Once everyone has their marching orders, decide what the menu will be for a healthy breakfast. Designate specific family members to be in charge of preparing different parts of the meal--for example, one person might pour milk while another makes whole wheat toast. If some preparations can be done the night before, such as slicing fruit or setting the table, this can help save time in the morning.

Sharing Time
Good morning, it's time for the Breakfast Medal Ceremony! The heart of this daily ceremony involves sharing plans and progress. Follow these guidelines for structuring your meetings:

  • Share goals. The goal of the initial ceremony is for each family member to share their goals for better nutrition and fitness. As you enjoy your breakfast, go around the table and give each person a few minutes to explain their personal goals. Other family members can then offer ideas and strategies for achieving them.
  • Share progress. Once the first breakfast has taken place, the emphasis in subsequent breakfasts should shift from goal-setting to sharing progress and motivating each other. Since family members have already identified and expressed clear goals about how they want to improve their diet and exercise habits, the Breakfast Medal Ceremony provides an opportunity for everyone to announce progress and achievements. For example, someone might report on the amount of time spent working out the previous day, or success in losing a few pounds.
  • Motivate! Throughout the month, family members are likely to enjoy some achievements, but may also face occasional setbacks. Use the time at breakfast to provide motivation and encouragement to those who need an extra push.

Medals for All
To provide extra incentive to family members for participating in the Breakfast Medal Ceremony and working toward their goals, you might consider presenting everyone with homemade medals or some other special award at the end of the month. Although some family members might still be working toward their goals, everyone is winner for prioritizing better health.

Just because the month is over doesn't mean improving diet and nutrition should come to an end. Encourage your family to continue the ceremonies as a regular family tradition. Once the positive effects of a healthier lifestyle become clear, you might find your whole family looking forward to breakfast.