Many families know they could benefit from making healthy changes to their lifestyles. Staying physically active, making healthier food choices, spending more time together, and sleeping well are healthy habits for everyone, but families often struggle with how and where to start incorporating these important behaviors into their routines.
One challenge is that many families see healthy living as all or nothing, when what they really need are practical tools and permission to celebrate the small wins. The reality is that every family has power over the everyday choices made in the home – including what we eat, how much time we spend together, how we set our sleep habits, and even how we play.
“Families already feel so overwhelmed that thinking about how to make a healthy, home-cooked meal can seem next to impossible. But, in truth, the best and easiest place to make simple changes is right in front of them – at home,” said Sari Glazebrook, NSYMCA Membership Director. “Giving the home a simple “check up” can help families assess how well their home promotes healthy living. Small changes can add up to big benefits.”
An assessment of the surroundings in your home can be a fun family activity that gets everyone engaged in identifying your home’s existing strengths and opportunities. In conjunction with Healthy Family Home, the Y the North Suburban YMCA offers helpful tips to encourage families to bring healthier habits home.
• Timing activities with a stop watch or clock and awarding points can make the check up an active game. For example, as fast as they can, have family members inventory the number and variety of fresh fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator.
• Challenge family members to see how quickly they can put their hands on a ball, Frisbee or other outdoor play item.
• Walk up or down and count every stair around the home.
• Award points for every family member who made healthy choices such as eating a wholesome breakfast, or staying active for 30 minutes.
• Engage the family in a cabinet raid. Have each family member grab two or three items from the cabinet and look at labels. Is high-fructose corn syrup more prevalent than whole grains?
“Just doing this kind of quiz activity is a great way to get the family thinking in healthy terms and illustrating how easy it is to do some positive things,” Glazebrook said. “A healthy home isn’t about what you have to give up, it’s about what you get. It’s about the joy and fun of being active together as a family, it’s about the confidence you feel from making healthier choices, and it’s about having more energy and feeling better—together.”
The North Suburban YMCA offers a multitude of programs that encourage family wellness, both in and out of the home. This Saturday, April 26 from 9:00am to 1:00pm, during Earth Day on the Northbrook Village Green, families can participate in Healthy Kids Day activities with the Y and pick up a Healthy Family Home starter kit for free. For more information on the Y and creating a healthy home for your family, visit
YMCA of the USA and Eli Lilly and Company have partnered to create Healthy Family Home, a YMCA initiative, to leverage two of the most powerful forces in health today – the family home and the proven impact of small, sustained changes. Healthy Family Home provides tools and support for families who are ready to take a positive step in living a healthier, happier life.
About the North Suburban YMCA
The North Suburban YMCA is a not-for-profit entity and relies on donations to fund capital improvements and transform the facility. All board members are community volunteers, who donate their time, talents and financial resources. Located at 2705 Techny Road in Northbrook, the YMCA has served area families in its 15-city region for over 40 years. The Y is about youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, providing programs and services that meet the needs of our community and are accessible to all. For more information or to make a donation, call Barb Flanagin at 847-272-7250, firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit