8 Simple Healthy Habits For The Busy Household

Tips for happy & healthy kids & simple healthy hacks for busy families.

By: Lexy Parsons

Staying consistent with a workout routine, healthy diet, and stress management isn’t always easy. Trying to do the same for your entire household? It can be quite a challenge! When you’re trying to juggle the never-ending pile of laundry and dirty dishes, school and sports schedules, and grocery shopping for the week (let alone prepping this evening’s dinner), prioritizing your family’s health might seem like an impossible feat. Even if you have every intention of cooking a nutritious dinner and getting your kids out and about, sometimes there are simply not enough hours in the day (or so it seems). That said, you know how important a healthy household is — building healthy habits from a young age is so important! It reduces the risk of chronic health issues, improves mental and emotional well-being, and increases the probability of maintaining healthy habits in the future. 

The good news? Being healthy with kids is easier than you think. And it comes with so many benefits! Picture this: fewer visits to the doctors and days missed from school. Improved energy, mood, and sleep. Kids that aren’t cranky and a partner that isn’t tired and stressed. Sounds pretty wonderful, don’t you think? While it may seem like a far-fetched dream, simple healthy hacks can help you lay the foundation for a healthy household. To get you inspired amidst the busiest season of the year, Family Health and Fitness Day is here to remind us just how important staying healthy as a household is. 

Ahead, parent advice for a healthy household, family-friendly meal inspiration, and workout tips the whole crew will love! Read on for all you need to know.

What is Family Health & Fitness Day?

Family Health and Fitness Day is a national holiday that falls on the last Saturday of September. Just as its name implies, this holiday serves to emphasize the importance of staying active as a household by prioritizing health and wellness and how to be healthy with kids.

Why Health From an Early Age Matters 

An astonishing amount of children are at risk for health-related issues such as obesity and diabetes due to inactivity and unhealthy lifestyles. Currently, more than 150 million children in the world are obese. Even worse? This number is estimated to increase to 206 million by 2025. There’s no if, and, or buts about this statistic — childhood obesity is a true epidemic, one that comes with many, many health-related risks that could last a lifetime. That’s why Family Health and Fitness Day was born in 1996 —  to encourage healthy households and bring awareness to the significant benefits of health and wellness from an early age. 

What the Science Says 

It may surprise you just how significant this impact can be! A recent Harvard study found mothers and children who practiced healthy habits (such as exercising and eating a healthy diet), were 82% less likely to be obese than mothers and children who did not. Something as simple as a daily walk could offer a big payoff! 

Motivating Parent Advice From A Wellness Pro

Who better to offer advice than a busy mama managing to do it all!? We spoke with Krystina Cook, a mom of 3, top instructor at Pilates Plus La Jolla, owner of farm-to-table business Cooks Pigs, and founder of The Ranch, an outdoor luxury Ranch featuring outdoor excursions and wellness events. It’s safe to say, Cook truly embodies health and wellness from all aspects — for both herself and her (busy!!) family. 

“I wear a lot of hats. Most importantly, I am a wife and a mom. I own and run our farm-to-table delivery business, our Ranch, and am a Lagree Pilates fitness instructor. I am passionate about our food system, functional wellness, staying connected to the earth, and staying connected to your food.” Cook, (no stranger to a go-go-go lifestyle) understands the importance of prioritizing a healthy household, even on the busiest of days. 

When asked why health and wellness play such an important aspect in her life, Krystina says, “you need to be active to keep your kids active. It is our biggest responsibility as parents to raise well-rounded humans. Show them as an example that you are taking care of yourself, so then they will be motivated to do the same! Engage in their hobbies, even if they’re ever-changing. Their interests will likely change with age, but supporting them will go a long way in instilling healthy habits later on. Do what they do and make it fun. It all goes fast so stay present and stay connected and keep your family aligned,” says Cook.

Knowing just how beneficial a healthy household can be, let’s break down how to be healthy with kids, even for the busiest of families!

8 Ways to Be Healthy With Kids 

#1 Involve Your Kids in the Cooking Process

Involving your kids in the cooking process may help encourage your kiddos (even picky eaters) to try new foods, and it may help them fall in love with the process (think: cooking, cleaning, shopping, meal planning).

Try getting your kids involved by bringing them to the grocery store and ask them to pick out healthy foods, plan out healthy meals to cook together, and ask them to help you meal prep or measure out the ingredients in a recipe.

Here are some family-friendly recipes to help inspire your shopping (for every meal!):

For Breakfast: 

Meal-prep these Sweet Potato Egg Muffins and load them up with sneaky veggies and greens!

Serves: 6


  • 1 tbsp chives (optional)
  • ⅛ tsp nutmeg
  • ⅓ cup milk, cows
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic
  • 4 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • sea salt & black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 6 egg whites
  • 1½ cups sweet potatoes, diced


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a standard muffin tin with cooking spray or use liners.

Step #2: Whisk together the eggs, egg whites, skim milk, and chives. Season with salt and pepper.

Step #3: In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sweet potato. Cook for 8 minutes or until softened.

Step #4: Add the garlic, spinach, and nutmeg. Cook for 2 more minutes or until wilted.

Step #5: Let cool for 2 minutes and then mix into eggs. Pour into muffin tin and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

For Lunch:

These 3-Ingredient Portobello Mushroom Pizza Caps (loved by both kids and adults!) are a perfect after-school lunch or snack. Low in sugar and rich in nutrients, they’ll prevent a blood sugar spike while keeping your kids nourished, energized, and balanced — a win-win for all! 

Serves: 1


  • 2 portobello mushroom
  • ½ cup part skim shredded mozzarella cheese (or dairy-free alternative)
  • 4 tbsp pasta sauce
  • Optional toppings, such as fresh basil or spinach


Step #1: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Step #2: Clean the mushroom and spray with cooking spray and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a piece of tin foil or small baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes.

Step #3: Take the mushroom out of the oven and add the sauce, cheese of choice, and whatever toppings you choose.

Step #4: Return the pizza mushroom to the oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Then switch the pan to the top rack and turn the oven to broil. Broil until the cheese begins to bubble on the top. Watch carefully! Remove from the oven and cool. Serve and enjoy!

For Dinner:

Busy schedules call for quick, nutritious, easy-to-prepare dinners! Enter: One-Pot Pasta Primavera. This family-friendly pasta dish is not only loaded with sneaky veggies, but it takes less than 20 minutes from start to finish and can be cooked in one pan! The best part? It’s easy to customize for any dietary preferences or needs. Swap the whole grain pasta for a chickpea or lentil pasta alternative, toss in your favorite seasonal veggies, or trade the parmesan for a dairy-free cheese. Make it your own! Regardless, this will be a weeknight staple dish that’s easy and delicious. 

Serves: 4


  • ​​1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 4 garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp basil leaves, chopped
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 carrot, sliced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 shallot, sliced
  • 2 cups broccoli, chopped
  • 8 oz wholegrain pasta
  • ½ lemon, zested
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning


Step #1: Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Save some pasta cooking liquid for the sauce.

Step #2: While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallot, carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until beginning to soften. Add the zucchini and cook for 3-4 more minutes. The vegetables should be just tender crisp.

Step #3: Add the cherry tomatoes, garlic, Italian seasoning, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Cook for 2 minutes. Season well with salt and pepper.

Step #4: Add the vegetables to the cooked pasta. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and about 1/4 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Stir to form a creamy sauce. If needed, add more pasta cooking liquid, up to about 1/2 cup.

Step #5: Top with fresh basil and additional parmesan cheese (or dairy-free alternative) if desired.

#2 Make Simple Healthy Food Swaps 

Transform not-so-healthy dishes into healthy meals and make it fun! Show them how fruit and veggie-filled dishes like spaghetti squash or banana nice cream can be just as tasty as pasta and ice cream.

Try these kid-friendly healthy food swaps for traditional (not-so-healthy) favorites:

  • Swap traditional french fries for homemade sweet potato or carrot fries
  • Ditch fried onion rings for a healthy oven-baked alternative
  • Trade processed (and oil-filled) mozzarella sticks for a 3-ingredient homemade version (that can even be made dairy-free!) 

RELATED: 23 Easy Swaps For All of Your Favorite Foods

#3 Walk Wherever You Can 

Whenever the opportunity presents itself, leave the car at home and walk! My kids live close enough to school where they can walk, says Krystina Cook. We walk to school or the park, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or sometimes even park further from our destination to get in more steps. 

Beyond the physical benefits of exercise, walking can be beneficial mentally and emotionally, too. It’s a great way to slow down from the hustle and bustle of life and spend more quality time as a family.

Need some motivation? Don’t forget — kids love a challenge or game. Set goals realistic for your family — for every goal achieved, maybe you plan a reward, like taking a trip to their favorite park or beach!

#4 Take Chores Outdoors

Encourage them to get outside by giving them outdoor chores, says Krystina. This helps you check off things on your to-do list (a win for busy parents) while giving your kids a sense of responsibility and keeping them active! 

This could be: Giving the dog a bath outside, helping wash the car or mow the lawn, gardening, or helping with landscape. Whatever age-appropriate chore that your kids can help with while also being outside in the fresh air is a win! 

#5 Trade Screen Time for Active Time

Sometimes putting your kids in front of the screen so you can accomplish just one task is straight-up self-care (and if that one task is taking 5-minutes by yourself to breathe, we’re not judging). But, try to prioritize an active household by limiting screen time when possible!  Instead, swap it for active time:

Try taking the game-time outside and encourage active games like hide-and-seek or tag. Team up for family activities like tennis, baseball, and kickball. For the best of both worlds, get a dance video game and make it a family game night! Your kids will get moving and get their video game fix all at once. 

#6 Start The Day With A Healthy Breakfast

How to be healthy with kids when you have no time? Meal-prep a healthy breakfast! 

When you have a healthy breakfast, you feel better, right? Well, your kids will feel the same! It can be tempting to let them eat the sugary cereal or syrup-laden waffles, but it’s not doing much for their energy, mood, or health — both short-term and long-term. 

On busy mornings, try these easy-prep breakfasts! Did we mention they require zero cooking and take minutes to make?

Another fun one your kids will love (just as much as you)? Pancake muffins! Yup, we’ve combined the two best breakfast foods (pancakes and muffins) and turned them into a healthy and delicious meal-prep-friendly recipe. Give it a try with your kiddos and customize to your liking! Toss in some dairy-free chocolate chips, sneak in a sprinkle of fiber-filled flax, or serve with a side of Greek or coconut yogurt. 

Very Berry Pancake Muffins

Serves: 12 


  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • ¼ cup blueberries
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ¼ cup strawberry, diced
  • ¼ cup banana, diced
  • ¾ cup white whole wheat flour


Step #1: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.

Step #2: In a small bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add the egg, milk, maple syrup, and vanilla extract to the flour mixture. Mix until well blended. Fold in the blueberries, strawberries, and bananas.

Step #3: Pour the mixture into the muffin molds. (you can butter the muffin cups if you are not using a non-stick mold. Place in the oven on the center rack and bake for about 10-12 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown.

Step #4: Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

#7 Model A Healthy Lifestyle

I take my kids to work with me and involve them in the process, says Krystina Cook. This could be coming with me to make deliveries for our farm-to-table business, tending to the animals while we’re running our business at the Ranch, or coming to the Pilates studio and seeing the mental and physical transformation of students before and after a workout. 

Kids are like sponges — they pick up on everything you do. If you’re walking instead of taking the elevator, reading instead of watching TV, spending time in nature instead of indoors, or doing a workout while they’re in the room, they’re likely to follow suit! 

P.S. Did you know we have a library full of kid-friendly workouts on the app? Head to the “With Kids” section, or give these kid-friendly workouts a try!

  • Sweat it out with Bree Koegel in this 10-minute Family Fun Sesh full-body workout 
  • Roll out your mat and get grounded alongside your mini-me as Vytas and his son Asa guide you through a 15-minute Kids Energizing Flow 
  • Get the family to join in on the fun! This total body Family Flow with DeAndre Sinette is perfect for the whole crew.

How to be healthy with kids (even when you’re busy) is easier than you think — they’re always watching, always absorbing, and always learning! It’s about the small, day-to-day things.

#8 Talk To Your Kids About The Importance of Health and Fitness

Kids appreciate communication more than you think. They like feeling involved in the process and having “adult” conversations. This can be on the walk to school, driving home from work, or even before bed. It can be sitting down to discuss the importance of health, or it can be something more casual. Maybe as you’re prepping dinner, mentioning, “hey did you know that carrots contain nutrients that help support eyesight?” the next thing you know, those little hands will be reaching for more nutrient-dense options without being told!

Final Thoughts 

If you’re struggling to implement healthy family habits, think of this as the busy person’s guide for how to be healthy with kids. 

When life feels crazy, take a deep breath and remember — little lifestyle changes add up to make a big difference! Prioritizing a healthy household doesn’t have to be time or energy-consuming. We promise you got this!