The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “exercise”

Time to Get Out and About!


This Week’s Recipe

The weather is slowly but surely warming up and as the gray clouds move out, there are so many things to enjoy outside and around town. Find our Out and About Guide online for tips to get your family out and active! The guide will provide your family with information on where to find activities, paths, parks and splash pads in the city along with nutrition tips and so much more. Bring the guide to your family table and have some fun planning your warm weather activities!

Another great way to use the guide is to plan your training route for this year’s Fort 4 Fitness. Did you know the McMillen Center is a charity partner? We have formed TEAM TAM to gather racers and pledges to support the McMillen Center. Follow this link, to sign up for Fort 4 Fitness and Team TAM today!

Happy spring!


Bethany Clapper, Director of Development & Marketing and Mother of Two

Tip of the Week: Getting Out and About

Woman doing crunches

Recipe of the Week

As a past basketball player, I am sure I recently just reversed one of those “I’m never gonna…” statements I made when I was younger. I recently started doing yoga. The instructor made a comment at the beginning of the first class that one class can make significant differences in your breathing and posture. She was right. I find myself working to relax my shoulders more, parking further from the door in parking lots and walking in the evening. After just one class.

In the heart of a cool summer (who’d have ever thought July could be so cool?) it has been easier this year than ever before to get out after work and clean up the yard, or ride down the road on our bikes. My kids have even noticed. Possibly it is both then – the weather and the yoga. No matter what the motivation, being more active has great benefits. The President’s Challenge (remember that elementary school fitness test?) has some great tips for getting started and staying active.

If you are looking for ways to be more active in and around Fort Wayne, look up free and low cost ideas in the McMillen Center’s Out and About Guide. This guide lists activities for kids, adults and families, as well as organizations that can help you develop a plan for a more healthy lifestyle. From the Guide, here are 10 ways to be more active:

  1. Take the stairs.
  2. Challenge a family member to a sit-up or jump rope contest.
  3. Limit screen time and have more play time.
  4. Listen to music and dance while you clean the house.
  5. Walk the dog to a local park with friends or family.
  6. See how many pushups you can do during commercials.
  7. Work in the garden to grow potted plants.
  8. Reward children with games and activities instead of candy.
  9. Go on a nature walk with your kids and point out animals and insects.
  10. Budget tight? Use soup cans as weights


Frances Brooks

Director of Operations & Business Development and mother of two

Tip of the Week: Healthy Weight Week


Featured Recipe

At our house while we celebrate Christmas and New Year’s, we tend to eat foods that are more fatty, more sweet and less fiber filled than normal.  Because of the cold weather – especially this year – we also tend to sit much more than normal.   That combination of eating more and moving less gives our bodies more calories to store and that means weight gain.

Obviously stores are aware of this pattern and the exercise equipment and advice abound and are often sale priced to entice people to buy them.

Each of us is responsible for our response to these situations. It is easy to say, “well I guess I can’t really change this” but as parents or grandparents we need to be aware that children follow our examples.  Today’s children are in the first generation of Americans that due to poor eating and exercise habits have a shorter life expectancy.

As a parent or grandparent, sharing time being active with the children in our lives is good for them and us.   Exercise includes walking, dancing, roller skating, playing on monkey bars, riding bikes, playing tag, duck-duck goose, and playground tricks – how long can you stand on one leg, how close can you come to touching your toes with your knees straight, hop scotch, how fast can you run this relay. It does not require a gym or special equipment other than perhaps shoes. Exercise guidelines are that children should aim for 60 minutes total of exercise each day.  Guidelines for adults are for 150 minutes total per week.*  I know that getting started is always the worst part, but once I started exercising regularly (for me using the Wii fit and walking) it is something that I miss when I don’t get a chance.  Look for ways to get ten minutes here and there and it will add up.  Spending time with children easily will add to the amount of exercise you get.  Less screen time – TV and computer – will help – so shut it off- pretend the electricity to these items is not working for a couple hours a day.

Working toward an increase in fiber (women 25 grams and men 38 grams) will improve the ability to managing a proper weight.  Increasing the number of fruits and vegetables and whole grains will easily increase the amount of fiber.  Check the labels of your foods for the number of servings of fiber per serving.

Thankfully one of the cool ways our tax dollars are spent is on good solid advice and information.  Check out and also for guidelines.  Specific guidelines I referred to before are at these links: and

Eating Well, Exercising Well and Being Well is a result of daily – even hourly – choices. Choose well.

Happy New Year

Linda_Hathaway - 2012

Linda Hathaway
Director of Education and Curriculum

Tip of the Week: Heart Healthy Conversation

AHA Pinot Party promo image

This Week’s Featured Recipe

As you look around your family table at each person’s face, hopefully you can appreciate the differences that each person brings to your family. The things we have in common are often obvious. The ways we differ are often the most challenging. They also can make for great conversation! When our family sits down together, we often ask about each others’ day and what’s going on in the upcoming days. A couple of weeks ago, we ended up having a chat about ‘what is art’ and I can tell you, my kids had a strong opinion about what was not art! In a few weeks, the McMillen Center and the local American Heart Association are inviting you to a conversation about maintaining a healthy heart and a healthy lifestyle.

We all know that making healthy choices in diet and exercise can benefit in a longer healthier life. Putting it in practice can be a bit of a struggle for some (me included!) The American Heart Association Nutrition Center has several tips on how to make healthy choices at the grocery store, while cooking and when dining out. These simple lifestyle changes can help get you on the right track to a healthy life and a healthy heart. To make the learning a bit more fun, the McMillen Center for Health Education will be hosting the American Heart Association’s 2013 Pinot and Prevention party.

Please make plans to join us in learning about how to stay heart healthy with this women’s only, 21 and older, event on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are just $20.

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks, Director of Operations & Marketing, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Goal Charts


This Week’s Featured Recipe

This year, our family has taken a different approach with New Year’s resolutions. It seems like resolutions are often difficult to stick to for an entire year.  So, instead of locking ourselves in for a year of something we really want to achieve but lose sight of somewhere in the midst of life, we have started family goal charts.

Goal charts are beneficial in keeping you on track to achieving your goals and letting you see your progress. It is nice to have the support of family and friends to help you stay on track. If they can see your progress, they can help keep you motivated, focused, and achieve their own goals along the way.

For our 4 year old son, we have included behavior goals, like eating all his dinner, brushing his teeth, cleaning up his toys and so on. Each day he completes a task or shows improvement he gets a sticker on his chart. At the end of the month, we review the chart and based on how many stickers he received, he will get a reward. When we discussed the chart with him over dinner one night he seemed open to the idea. His favorite part, of course, is the reward at the end. He was able to give me so many ideas for rewards for him – imagine that!

For my goal chart, I have included a healthy living goal. This includes eating better, losing weight, and getting in better shape. Progress in this category can be charted by amount of weight lost, time spent at the gym and keeping track of healthy meals I cook for my family. One of my new favorite things to do is take family meal suggestions and find ways to make it a healthier meal for us. Healthy living can be easy if you just take it one day at a time!

For more information about the Family Table online project visit our website!

Hannah Keith 2012

Hannah Keith, Marketing Assistant, wife and mom of two

Tip of the Week: Together, We Eat Better


This Week’s Featured Recipe

Recently, I took my kids and some friends to Pokagon to go tobogganing. While playing outside, I just couldn’t seem to catch my breath. I was surprised to find myself dizzy from carrying/dragging the sled, climbing the hill and then the stairs. I’ve always been comfortable with who I am but that changed this weekend. It’s past time to admit I’m out of shape.  I have made a resolution to start paying a lot more attention to what I’m eating and how much I’m really on the move.

I’ve known I should be doing more for a long time, but I just ignored it. Please don’t worry that I’m about to update you weekly on my progress and diet; I’m not. The Family Table is supposed to be about practical ideas for our families’ health. And, I eat with my family almost every night of the week, and weekends, too. Eating together at the table is hugely beneficial.

No matter if you’re eating together at 9 a.m., noon or 7 p.m., the benefits of better responses to peer pressure, later onset of sexual activity and lower abuse of alcohol and drugs, as well as the obvious nutritional benefits don’t change. But, honestly, what you put on the table matters. We eat fruit and vegetables. We’re about to start eating a whole lot more of them.

The Family Table tagline for this year is Together, We Eat Better. So, as I am making changes to become more aware of my calorie intake and exercise habits, my husband is doing the same. Research says when you make a commitment to work out with a friend and have someone to keep you accountable, you’ll have more success. We’re going to try it.

Below is a list of some free apps, websites and suggestions for ideas that I’ve incorporated into my new plans. If you have some others, please feel free to share them on our Facebook page or Family Table blog.

My Fitness Pal – A calorie and exercise counter. I love that you can scan the UPC code on the package and it will upload the nutritional information for you.

Fitness Blender – YouTube-based videos for every stage of fitness. They also have a great segment on grocery shopping.

Active Healthy Families – A video series on making better nutritional choices, like A Meal in Less Time Than It Takes to Go Through the Drive Thru.

Fort4Fitness – and their 1 Year 1 Change program – numerous tips and local resources to making a healthy commitment.

IN Shape Indiana – Resources to eat better, move more and avoid tobacco.

Frances Brooks Casual 2012

Frances Brooks,Director of Operations & Marketing, wife and mom of 2

Tip of the Week: Multitasking

Lately, I have fallen off the “Fitness Wagon” because I am too tired or busy to the gym. Sound familiar? I noticed that I am more tired now than when I was working out regularly, so I decided I need to get back in gear and make gym time a priority on my list of things to do. Making it a habit takes a plan, so to make this task easier, I am going to combine my workout with something I need to do—make dinner and something I want to do—read a book.

This week, I think I will throw dinner in the crockpot, put on my gym shoes, and head to my local gym with a book in hand. I used to read school books on the elliptical or bicycle, but now I can read a favorite novel (graduating from college has so many perks!).

Try these other tips to help you multitask:

Time-saving tips for busy moms – this one suggests keeping a notepad by your phone – a co-worker and I often talk about keeping one next to your bed, so when you have a thought in the middle of the night, you can jot it down, and then hopefully go back to sleep!

No time for exercise and you don’t want to miss that favorite primetime program? Sparkpeople has a message board with a bunch of ideas for multitasking to include exercising while doing other things.

Time-saving foods to keep in your kitchen – while not all of these are the healthiest option (think fresh and local) – eating at home around your kitchen table makes getting laundry folded and put away a faster option – then maybe you’ll find time for that quick family game before everyone heads off to bed.

Do you have a Timesaving Tip or Trick? We would love to hear about it!

Tip of the Week: Freedom

Happy Independence Day!
Today’s tip will be honoring a few of the things that we are thrilled to be free from, at least in the shortterm!

1) School schedules… if you are like me, the kids keep you hopping. During the school year, it seems MUCH worse because of the balance required by the school schedule. Now, don’t get me wrong, my kids (mostly) enjoy school, but this month we’re free and clear of homework, gym shoes and bus rides.

2) Darkness in the evening… This is the month to get out and enjoy the sunshine! Truly from up in-the-morning until down-at-night, my family is on the go – making sleeping time that much quieter, and more restful. Being active helps everyone. Get some great exercise and help celebrate Foster Park’s Centennial Year by participating in the KaBOOM! Play Day. NOTE: Date change from July 6th to July 27th. Plan to stop by the Family Table and Parkview LiVe booths and say hi!

3) Canned and frozen foods… With our goal of half a plate of vegetables and fruit, the fresh foods available from our garden and farmer’s markets means the table is full of bright colors and is high in vitamins! Just remember to wash them safely.

To make your own, mix 1 part white vinegar with 3 parts water and put it in a spray bottle. Simply spray the mixture over the produce and let it sit for a minute or so, then rinse well. This also works well on cutting boards and countertops as a disinfectant. Interested in finding out more about eating fresh? Make plans to attend the Finding Food in Farm Country at the McMillen Center on July 17th.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: