My Food Diary

‘On the Field’ Articles

Run A Virtual Marathon

A marathon is 26.2 miles.  That’s waaaaaay more than most teams can handle in a day.  BUT, why not make it a virtual event?  Draw a map of something that is 26.2 miles.  Then make a little marker to move along the route as you complete family walks.  When you’ve completed the marathon, treat yourselves to a family reward.  Maybe a night out at the movies, or a trip to a local pumpkin patch.  Most marathons give out T-shirts, so have one made or, make your own!  Print ‘Smith  Family virtual marathon finisher’ or come up with your own witty slogan.  Have fun with it and make everyone feel part of the team!

Tricky Training!

Whenever I want my team to try out a new piece of fitness equipment, I make sure I don’t tell them!  That’s right!  I do NOT tell them the equipment is for them!!  In fact, I just bring whatever it is into the living room and plop in down in front of the TV they’re watching and start using it myself.  I’ll usually even throw in a little chuckle for good measure, just so the whole team sees how much fun I’m having!  After a short time, someone will crack and ask if they can try it.  This is crucial.  At this point, I always HES-I-TATE!  “Hmmmm,” I’ll say, “I’m not sure if you’re really old enough for this.  I guess if you promise to be very careful, and only use it for a quick minute, I guess you can give it a try.”



They’re hooked!


This works exceptionally well with kid friendly, lightweight equipment such as balls, bands, stability disks, etc.


Have fun, but PLEASE do not tell your players about our little secret!

An obstacle you CAN overcome!!

 Boot camps are all the rage in workouts right now, so why not copy that concept for your family?  Pull out whatever old ‘equipment’ (and I use that term loosely!) you can find in the garage and set up an informal obstacle course for you and the fam!  Jump ropes, ladders, hula hoops, swings, tires, cones and balls are all example of things most of us have lying around that could make a great course!  Show your  whole team how to do the course.  For example, you could run around the house, swing on your old swingset, jump rope 20 times, do 20 jumping jacks, run through a ladder lying flat on the ground, pitch 5 balls into a bucket or net and finish with a leap into a leaf pile.  Use your imagination, or ask for help from the troops.  Take turns timing each other, and have fun!  Don’t be afraid to get a little goofy and laugh at yourself.  It’s a fun way to get your whole team in the game on a sunny fall afternoon! 

Write it Down!!!

A great way to keep kids moving is to show them how to set goals and take responsibility for the amount of activity they get.  Of course, we’re not going to explain TO THEM that way!!!!  Tell the troops you’ve got a fun new challenge for the family.  Explain the upsides of keeping active and by all means, make sure to focus on the positives- things like feeling happier, having more energy, being stronger & healthier, able to keep up with other kids, not getting sick, etc.  Kids need to be active at least ONE HOUR every day.  If you’re not even close, you can start with a smaller goal but remember that activity does not have to equal sports.  Swimming, dancing, walking the dog, playing active games, gardening and cleaning are all examples of activity that can be non-competitive.  Be creative and HAVE FUN!!  We’ve even created a Get Moving Log in our gameplans section for you to print out & hang on the fridge.  No thanks necessary- we love this stuff!!  Print one for each family member (YES- this means YOU, too!) and give a small reward for the family members who meet their goals for the week.  You might also want to do a little team building by setting a family goal as well.  Just have fun & keep on movin’!

Hoof It!

Walking or biking to school is a great way for younger team members to sneak in a little extra activity each day!  With the new school year quickly approaching, why not set some fun goals or make a chart to see how often the kids walk to school?  We’ve all gotten so used to driving everywhere, we sometimes forget how easy it is to use good ol’ leg power to get us around.  If your team is especially young, or just not used to walking, you may have to join them until they get used to the jaunt.  It’s a great way for kids to shake out the cobwebs in the morning, get some fresh air and be ready to start their day.  Set a good example and encourage walking to school whenever possible.  If you’re just too darn far from your school, try to find another daily task or trip that could be converted from a drive to a walk.  Maybe you have a long driveway to the mailbox, or normally drive to a neighbor’s home down the road.  Be creative and find ways to make activity a normal part of your daily lives- you’ll all be glad you did!!






Go Green & Get Fit!

You know going green is good for the planet, but bet you never thought about it as a fitness plan!  This is a great way to sneak in some activity for kids and families who may not have a strong interest in organized sports.  Volunteering to help clean up a park, planting trees, growing your own food or setting out on a family mission to collect litter are all great examples of ways your family can save the planet and get some exercise, too!  Did you know that 40% of the car trips in the USA are 2 miles or less?  Why not replace just one of those every day with a walk or bike?  Once you get on the green (hybrid) train, the possibilities are endless- volunteer vacations, bike trips, hikes, the list for family greenness goes on & on.  It’s a great way to stay active, it’s free and it’s just plain good for the world!  You’ll be working hard, spending time together and being altruistic all at once!  So, go save the earth!  Peace, man!

A Hunting They Will Go!

Here’s a gym-dandy way to get your team off the couch on lazy weekend days.  Make a list of things they can find in your yard and house and send them on a scavenger hunt.  Some great ideas are things already laying around that you WANT them to find.  Like, oh I don’t know, the jump ropes at the bottom of a bin in the garage or a new healthy food you’ve strategically placed in the pantry???  Make your own list, or steal some of our ideas from the list below.  First person to complete the hunt gets a prize: how about deciding what’s for dinner one night? Or a whole week?  (with your approval, of course!)


Sample Scavenger Hunt List:


Jump Rope


Exercise DVD or tape (for you veterans!)


Running Shoes


Healthy Snack


Healthy Recipe


3 different colored fruits


2 different colored vegetables


Dog’s leash




Tennis racket






Now that they’ve collected all these things, why not enjoy a healthy snack and use some of the equipment to get in the game?!  Sneaky?  Of course.  Fun?  Definitely!


Jump Around!

Jumping rope is loads of fun, simple as pie and great exercise for all ages (not to mention cheap, cheap, cheap)!  For younger players, hold a rope at different heights to see how high they can jump, or take turns twirling around in a circle while the other players try to jump over the loose end of the rope.  Vary the game by raising and lowering the rope, reversing the direction or speeding up and slowing down your twirls!  For those veteran players, why not try a contest to see who can jump the  or fastest without missing (digital jump ropes are great for this).  Once they’ve mastered that, have them try twisting the rope, jumping backwards, or touching their feet between jumps.  Have fun and try to come up with as many different jumping styles, twists and tricks as you can.  If your team is feeling especially daring, give double dutch a try.  Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, just grab a rope and have some fun getting fit with your family!  Now, go get in the game!

Peppy Pedometer Play!

I’m not talking fancy here!  Pick up a $5 pedometer and help your kids program it (SIMPLE SUZY!).  They will looooove reporting back to you how many steps it takes to get to the end of the block, their friends’ houses, the park and everywhere else.  On rainy or cold days, you can use this nifty little trick indoors, too.  Shopping malls and grandparent’s condo buildings are great places to measure steps!  No pedometer, no problem!  Have them count shorter distances themselves, or time them to see how long it takes them to get to the end of the block and back or find a couple flights of stairs and ask your little darlings how many stairs to the very top.  You get the idea!  Hint: these handy little activities also work great for passing the time when delayed in an airport!!!

Guess Your Mileage Contest!

Here’s a super fun trick for getting some extra miles in on the bike this summer!  Take your loyal teammates out for a just slightly-longer-than comfortable bike ride.  Don’t wear the poor darlings out!  Just make them wonder when you’ll be back on the home court.  Then, tell them how far you’ve gone.  Ask them to think about how far they think you’ll be able to go at the end of summer, or end of the month, or whatever time frame you think is appropriate, without getting tired out.  Have each teammate write down their guess on a piece of paper.  Everyone’s guess is top secret- only the coach (YOU!) knows!!  Whoever can ride their goal by the deadline is a winner!  Prizes could be a new water bottle for the bike, a healthy snack or some other bike accessory.  Maybe even give a special prize to the person who set the highest goal and beat it!  You’ll all be riding a little longer each day to try to make those personal goals.   And, you’ll be keeping the kids interested and excited about the good ol’ family bike ride all summer long!!!  WOOHOO!  Have fun!