Research has consistently demonstrated that habits created in childhood are often carried on through adolescence and adulthood. What we teach our children – even at the earliest of ages – follows them for a lifetime. This is just one of the many reasons to establish healthy habits and make them part of your family traditions.

Making Healthy a Tradition

The holidays always renew my commitment to family traditions – honoring old ones and fostering new ones. Aside from the usual stringing of Christmas lights, listening to seasonal classics, or watching a favorite Holiday-themed movie by the Christmas tree, we have other traditions we enjoy celebrating. Traditions that have nothing to do with the season, but that have everything to do with living well.

Our Top 5 Favs…

Exercising Together

Life is cra, cra – to say the least! We flit to this event and to that gathering and we rush to our jobs or to our next gig…it’s no mystery why over 2/3 of the nation suffer from metabolic issues and chronic disease affliction.

It’s important to model the behaviors you want your children to develop. For us we exercise wherever we are – home, outside, in the store or in a hotel (as this image indicates). We get it done. And we have fun doing it. We are teaching Miss O to be healthy and to enjoy what the body was made to do – move!

Playing Together

A child’s first language is play. And I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I enjoy the free-spirited game time with my mini. Adulting is hard and sometimes we all need a reminder of what life is truly about. Laughter, joy, adventure, and self-discovery. What better way to experience this than through the eyes of a child? It’s like a trip to Narnia.

Playing together also creates memories and strengthens bonds between family members.

Having Fun with Food (Who doesn’t like putting black olives on their fingers?!)

Kids don’t care if a food is high in fiber, rich in Omegas, or full of protein. They care if it is colored, bite sized, and shaped like a flower or critter. Miss O loves to have fun with food (usually her version of fun is throwing it or feeding it to the dogs). Having her has made me find new and creative ways to serve food – heart-shaped PB&J’s, teddy bear whole grain pancakes, or a fruit rainbow. The point is – make food fun – you don’t have to tell them “it’s healthy” or “it’s good for you.” Focus on developing their sense of adventure and appreciation for nourishment. The “healthy” details will come later.

Expanding the Mind

Healthy habits aren’t just about what you eat or how active you are. Being healthy includes the mind. We are a family of readers – we love fiction, fantasy, exercise science texts (okay, that’s all me), graphic novels, and – of course – Dr. Seuss and the many other fantastic children’s works.

We have “story time” several times a day, but always before bed. I believe if we give our children beautiful moments before bed, they will dream beautiful things. This also helps with language development, creativity, and imagination.

Loving Together

Most of those who know me well will agree when I say I’m a sensitive soul. I believe in unicorns and the magic of rainbows. I cry and overthink…but I also overlove. A trait I will never apologize for.

As a mom, I feel this quality has become magnified to the nth degree. I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much in my life (childhood to adulthood) as I have in the first 20 months of Miss O’s life. I forgive myself those post-partum days, but seriously people, being a mom is no easy task. It’s a beautiful mosaic of frustration and joy, fear and triumphs, sleepless nights and sweet snuggles, self-doubt followed by “nailed it” affirmations. It’s a journey. There are no perfect families, but there are many perfect moments along the way. A loving family is a healthy family. We live in a truly messy world – the one thing we can give our families is love. So, love together, love hard, love long, love fiercely, and hang on tight.



Erin Nitschke

Passionate wife, mother, college educator, writer, blogger, and health and fitness professional.


Beth Hoeft · December 16, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Erin, that is beautiful!!! such wonderful reading, And so true. I am sure my nephew up above is so proud of his daughter. Have a blessed Christmas. And give my love to you Mom. Love and all the best to you all. Love from Beth

    Erin Nitschke · December 16, 2016 at 10:21 pm

    Thank you, Aunt Beth. I am extremely proud to have him as my Dad – even if his place is high among the Heavens. Merry Christmas and lots of love back to you!

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