Eat, Play, and Learn Together! { Together Counts! }

TogetherCounts_mainlogoAs a parent one of the goals I have for my family is to live a well balanced life. To work hard , play hard , eat well , and stay active. Since early 2012 I have had the pleasure of working with Together Counts™ as an Energy Balance Ambassador. As an ambassador I write about family activities, teaching kids about balance and more on the Together Counts™ blog. I also try my best to live up to their mission of an active family and balanced family meals. Last year I shared that I was excited to be running my first half marathon and since then I have run two more as well as many shorter races . I love running but not just because of the benefits it has for my health , I love it because running balances me.  It helps me focus, it lets me run off stress, and makes me a better mom. It also sets a great example for my kids.together counts

Like many parents I struggle to keep my children’s diet balanced. It’s not just too much this or not enough that it’s teaching them moderation and to avoid demonizing any one food. I try to teach them that when we focus on energy balance everything is allowed every now and then. The best part of preaching this is that I end up practicing it because they keep me accountable. They can because we try our best to make every dinner a family meal. Family meals are one of our greatest tools for connecting and deeper connections means more opportunity to guide our kids to a healthy balanced lifestyle.

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This year my active goal for my family is to get through a hike without anyone whining and for my kids to have fun in all their activities. Every parent gets a little rush of pride when their kid scores a goal but for me knowing they love the physical activities they’ve chosen to participate in gives me a much deeper sense of satisfaction. I don’t care if they win medals or end a season dead last, what I care about is that they love what they are doing . When they are little is the time to test the waters and have fun while they are at it. This year they have asked to do all sorts of things from ballet to basketball and I am ready to cheer them on.

This is how I integrate Together Counts™ and their energy balance mission into my family. I hope you’ll check them out and read more about their mission on their blog , connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest .

 

Being Together, Eating Together, Moving Together!

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One of the best things about blogging is getting the opportunity to work with initiatives that matter. Together Counts™ is something I believe in and have grown very fond of since becoming an ambassador for them in 2012. If you have never heard of Together Counts™ check out their website for all the details but the gist of their mission is to spread the message of energy balance and to encourage families to eat together and get active together. I am thrilled to say I have signed on for another year of Together Counts™ and look forward to writing more about active families and energy balance.  TogetherCountsBadge

I am a huge promoter of the family meal as well as being active as a family as well being an active role model for your kids. I also think the idea of energy balance is such a wonderful way to teach our kids about a healthy lifestyle without falling into the extremes of dieting or being at the gym every day for hours. Check the articles I shared on the Together Counts™ Blog in 2013 , you might  even recognize a few regular little faces.

 Smart from the Start with Energy Balance

Let Them be The Coach

Bring Recess Home for the Summer

Spring into Activity

Get Crafty this St. Patrick’s Day

What is your favorite way to get active with your kids?

 

Making Family Time More Fun Together

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As an energy ambassador for Together Counts I get to share fun ideas to get families moving and fun ideas for family crafts that make meals together even more meaningful. Now I want to share them with you!  If you aren’t familiar with Together Counts check out their website here or read my post about why I love working with them.

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Balance is one of the main goals of Together Counts and last spring I wrote about how to help teach your children to find balance in their lives. Something that isn’t always easy for kids or parents.

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Another goal of Together Counts is to get your family moving together.  We know that as our kids age this might not be as easy as it is now. Our favorite family fitness activity are hikes in the nearby forest. As anyone with little kids knows a fun family hike can quickly turn into being 2 miles into the bush with a screaming banshee. This post about how to make hikes fun for everyone is one of my favorites and hopefully useful for your family too.

Moving together is important but making sure that kids are moving at school is too. In this post I shared some of my favorite simple playground games to play no matter what equipment your playground has.

At Thanksgiving I got to get back to my familiar style and shared 10 Terrific Turkey Crafts from blogs all around the web. If you are looking for fun crafts to make during family time check out the blogs I linked to in the post because they are hands down some of the best on the web for craft and early education ideas.

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My favorite post though was this one about how to spark conversation at dinner by making plates with conversation starters on them. They are so simple to make and a fun way to keep your family talking around the table.

 

You can find all my posts and other great ideas for your family on the Together Counts Blog.

Together Again – Together Counts Energy Ambassador

TogetherCounts_mainlogoOne of the really fun things about having this blog is that sometimes an opportunity comes up that lets me take off my educator hat and talk about other parts of my life more. That is one of the many blessings that being a Together Counts Energy Ambassador have gifted me.  I am super excited to say they have asked me to stay in the same role for 2013 and I was giddy to accept because I love working with them and writing for the Together Count Blog.

Why do I like Together Counts so much?

Their Purpose.TogetherCountsBadge

Together Counts was started by The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation which is a coalition of CEOs who saw the need to bring the message of energy balance to the forefront. Calories in , calories out. It is that simple but Together Counts knows it’s not that easy.

Their Resources

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Which leads to the second reason I am so proud to be a part of this initiative. They provide resources for teachers, school nurses and families on how to help their families balance their energy and lead healthier active lives. As well as the resources they recognize the disparity in school environments in this country and provide sweepstakes for new playground and sporting equipment annually. One sweepstakes is open only to Title 1 schools. I love that they see the great need for this.

Their Focus

Talking about serious stuff is easy over a family meal.

Talking about serious stuff is easy over a family meal.

The third reason I love it so much is their focus on the family meal. I can not tell you how important I think this is for your family . A meal together is where you can make plans together, share the ups and downs of your day and model healthy eating so naturally.

 

Stretching together after a run.

Stretching together after a run.

For me being a part of this has kept me on my toes. When I sign up for something I live up to it the best I can. It was a huge part of me deciding to train and run a half marathon later this month. My kids have been tracking my progress with training and my daughter loves going for runs with me. Being a good role model is important and I am encouraged to be a better one with Together Counts.

For more resources check out their main site and for great tips, activities and advice check out their blog ( you might see a few kids you recognize ).

Together Counts!

If you follow me on Instagram you will see these candid shots of my family playing sports, hiking, making dinner and more. I take these pictures because this is what we do day in and day out. We don’t live an exciting life but we are active. Another thing we focus on is having dinner together. Not only does it give me a chance to make sure everyone has a balanced healthy meal, it’s our weeknight together time. The kids help cook and as soon as my husband gets home from work we sit and share our day while we eat. Those few days that my husband has to work late he’s missed. Dinner for us is a family activity and unless the whole family is there it simply doesn’t feel right. We aren’t naive; we know that as our kids grow it’s only going to get harder to get everyone in their spots to eat a healthy dinner and share our day.

That is why I am so excited to be a part of Together Counts as a blog ambassador and help promote a great message.  Eating as a family, being active as a family and being healthy as a family is what Together Counts is all about. It’s a nationwide program that promotes healthy living through energy balance, the simple idea of calories in matching calories out. Together Counts was started by The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation a coalition that brings together more than 200 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and professional sports organizations. Their main goal is to get families making healthier lifestyle choices with a goal of reducing obesity by 2015 by focusing on two major parts of family life – the family meal and family together time.

To learn more about how they are doing this check out Together Counts website as well as Together Counts on Facebook , Twitter , Pinterest and their blog.