Family at Beach

Happy Healthy American Families

Families are managing a lot of different things in 2018. There are work schedules, school schedules, after school schedules, medical appointments, play dates, and a variety of other things that can pop up on a family calendar from week to week. At the Retreat at Ponte Vedra Beach, we are creating a place for families to come and enjoy time together whether it is for a class, appointment, or family event. We know that family health and wellness increases when intentional time is spent together and positive memories are made.

In America, a lot of money is spent on our health care. According to the Center for Disease Control, the per person cost for health care is around $9,990.  For perspective on what this cost was a few decades ago, in the 1960’s the per person cost was for health care was $146. This cost has been increasing every decade since the 1960’s. Not many people get excited talking about money or budgeting. It is important; however, to have these conversations from time to time so that we can identify opportunity for improvement. America currently spends about 17.8% of our total budget on health care costs while in 1960 we were spending about 5% of our total budget on health care costs. Finding ways to keep this number from continuing to increase will benefit individuals, families, and our country as a whole.

The current American culture is very different from the culture of the 1960’s. Some of the changes include an increase in access to fast food restaurants, changes in the the way food is made, and increase in drinking sugary and caffeinated beverages.  We are exposed to a lot of messages about food and fitness. It gets confusing! Many of the current trends, habits, and lifestyles are not leading to a healthier America. The marketing of many food companies and fitness programs is very convincing: what they have is something you need! Most of us have a diet or fitness trend that pops into our mind when we think about health and wellness. How do we sort through all the different messages about health and wellness when it seems there is a new diet or lifestyle to follow every month?

We have the opportunity to shape children and adolescents dietary preferences and lifestyle routines while they are living in our homes. Did you know a lot of children have difficulty identifying different fruits and veggies? The youngest among us are growing up in homes without consistent exposure to food in its natural form. Being in the kitchen, cooking, and creating is a wonderful opportunity for children and parents to enjoy time together while increasing their health and wellness.

Creating a home that is filled with health promoting foods and activities takes the fear and guesswork out of meeting your own personal needs and the needs of your children. A few things you can try are listed below:

  • Take an inventory of what’s in your pantry and refrigerator
  • Schedule time for meal planning
  • Have your kids contribute ideas for snacks and meals
  • Introduce new foods one at a time, try and pair them with an old favorite
    • Steamed broccoli with mashed potatoes
    • Carrots  with hummus
  • Schedule time for grocery shopping
  • Schedule time for meal prepping. This includes washing, cutting, and pre-measuring meal ingredients so that when you want to make something it takes less work!
  • Include children and adolescents in meal prep
    • Research shows that children and adolescents are more likely to eat something they have helped prepare
  • Have a family meeting to review what’s working
  • Plan re-peat meals! You don’t have to create all new meals each week

At the Retreat at Ponte Vedra Beach, we seek to have open conversations about health, nutrition, wellness, and fitness. We focus on supportive do-able solutions! Children and adults are faced with daily decisions and opportunities to nourish their bodies and minds. By learning patterns that are enjoyable and health promoting, individuals and families are creating healthy habits with lifelong benefits.  Follow our blog for more posts in this series on nutrition and wellness. Look for future posts on family friendly meals, navigating nutrition labels, lunch box solutions, travel friendly snack packs, and more! Join us for exciting events this fall including meal planning, taste testing, sauces and dressing your kids will love, batch cooking, and of course, holiday baking!

Center for Disease Control. (2017). National center for health statistics. Health, United States, 2016: With chartbook on long-term trends in health. Retrieved from: