You’re busy. Work, school, soccer practice…there are so many things that cut into your day that it can be hard to make health a priority. But all those people (and pets) that make your life so overwhelming – you love them. You want them to be happy and healthy. And you want that for yourself too.
The solution? Designate a Chief Health Officer (CHO). This can be anyone – mom, dad, grandma, kids – someone who is willing and able to be the point person for a family’s health.
The main duty of the CHO is to rethink how you treat (your body, your food, your life, etc.). It’s about striving for health and happiness through mindful decision-making and lifelong learning. The CHO takes the lead on health for everyone in the house. They cover things like:
- Having an understanding of nutrition, what is good for the body, and what is just a fad
- Keeping an eye on sugar intake and understanding that there are many names for it
- Reading the labels on packaged foods and knowing exactly what they are getting
- Making sure there are more fruits and veggies on the plate than anything else
- Using recipes that are light on animal products or eliminates them entirely
At Maxine’s, we also think it’s important to make a distinction between dieting and a diet. When you’re dieting, it’s easy to get weighed down by what you can’t have. But food is powerful. It’s energy, it’s fuel, and it’s worth celebrating. A diet is a lifestyle. With, for example, a vegan diet, you could focus on what you can’t have: meat, dairy, etc. But it’s much more exciting to celebrate what you can have: veggies, exotic seasonings, colorful meals, and more. So while it’s difficult to list it as a duty, it’s helpful for the CHO to embody and share the excitement of healthy meals. Spread the joy!
CHO duties can extend beyond food, as health includes physical and mental fitness and environmental responsibilities as well. A CHO might:
- Recommend activities to keep everyone moving
- Request sit-down meals as a family
- Make sure their are working smoke detectors in the house
- Lead meditation, prayer, or quiet times
- Create a fire/earthquake/flood escape plan
- Make sure trash and recyclables are separated
- Ensure that pets are getting proper food and exercise
- And anything else that would make you happy and healthy
The only must-have for a CHO is love. Whether you are the CHO for yourself, for a huge family, or for people who are under your care, you must love them. And that’s it. Because when you love yourself and others, you will try your best.
While an adult is much more likely to be the CHO, there is no better time than right now to train your young ones how to be healthy.
When you are carrying out your CHO duties, explain to them what you are doing and why you’ve made certain decisions.
Delegate the easier tasks to children and include them in things like choosing recipes, activities, and plans.