5 must-dos for keeping your family well

Five simple tips that will help to keep the whole family fighting fit this winter

Nobody can keep their family from ever getting sick (more is the pity!), but there are easy things we can do to help keep those bugs and sniffles at bay.

Take a look at our checklist and see how small changes to our lifestyle can make a big difference.

Don’t forget that for more serious concerns, you should always contact your GP.

1. Eat well

The right mix of foods helps us to stay healthy and stoke our energy levels.

All very well you might say, but getting the family to eat well is easier said than done, especially when time is short and you’re feeding people who are more than a little fussy!

Simple tricks can help. For example, it’s important to get the day off to a good start with a healthy breakfast instead of letting the kids reach for a sugar-laden, processed cereal. Porridge only takes minutes to prepare in the microwave and is even healthier if you top it with some chopped fresh fruit.

Snacks don’t have to be unhealthy and nutritious ideas include nuts, fresh fruit and sticks of carrot and pepper served with hummus or guacamole.

When it comes to suppertime, try turning some of your family’s fast-food favourites into healthier, homemade versions. Baked chicken nuggets are a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

2. Sleep well

While we all vary in how much sleep we really need, regular rest patterns are vital to allow our bodies and minds to recharge. Being well-rested can even help when you are following a weight loss regime. Check out Five ways to end sleepless nights.

If you have small children who don’t tend to stay in their own beds at night, a good night’s sleep can feel like a distant dream (sorry!). The important thing here is to remember that the broken nights won’t last forever and that there are simple things you can do to help like establishing a set bedtime and consistent bedtime routine and not making too much fuss of your child when they get up in the night.

3. Keep fit

Getting exercise provides excellent health benefits to body and mind, and even teenagers who feel they’re too busy with exams etc can really benefit.

Whenever possible, try to walk or, if you have a safe route, cycle rather than drive, starting with the school run. Children under 10 can cycle on the pavement, which makes it much safer, and helps them stay active.

Don’t forget to make exercise fun too, whether that’s a game of rounders in the park or giggling at dad’s moves in a family dance-off.

4. Boost your energy levels

From drinking more water to taking a few minutes out to breathe deeply, there are lots of little ways in which you can ensure everyone is more bright-eyed and bushy-tailed!

Check out our Winter energy boosters.

5. Think hygiene

If a person has flu, just one sneeze can disperse 10 million infectious flu particles per millilitre! Maintaining good hygiene habits can help you avoid common tummy upsets, colds etc.

You can’t underestimate the importance of hand-washing here, which can make a huge difference in avoiding the spread of germs. Did you know that you’re supposed to spend as long washing your hands as it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice through (at a normal pace – no cheating!).

When someone does get sick

Obviously if you’ve got any serious concerns about a member of your family, you need to make an appointment with your GP.

Meanwhile, if you’re not sure if your little one is unwell enough to miss school, it’s worth bearing in mind that giving your child a good break when he or she is unwell will usually mean fewer school days are missed in the long run. But your child’s school will have rules about how soon a sick child can return to class, too.

Have you got an tips on keeping your family well? Let us know in the comments section below.