Just before Christmas, I participated in the START campaign from @safefood_eu #makeastart much to the amusement of my wife. You see I’m not a typical ‘healthy person’, I don’t have an Instagram account devoted strictly to avocados or squats (I’m more of a ‘dad jokes’, puns and ‘laughing at my children’s conversations’ kinda guy.

So, what is the START campaign for this who haven’t been ‘paying attention in class’?

Well, it’s an initiative by the HSE, SafeFood and Healthy Ireland to instil healthier choices in Irish families. They’ve been sharing wonderful tips and tricks to use in your less than ‘picture perfect’ family life (you know what I mean, actual ‘real life’ families, not ‘online, you only see the best bits’ kind of families). There’s even a Facebook group to join, you can find it here.

So why did they choose me (of all people)?

Well, apparently .. I’m normal.

“Can I have that in writing?”

— Daddy Poppins, upon hearing this

What did it entail?

It meant I had to think more about my family’s health; from visits to the playground (instead of sitting in front of the TV) to cutting out sugary breakfasts (and making sure to eat breakfast in the first place).

Check out what we got up to…

Most of all what I learned was that while it’s good to make healthy plans, if you have kids then life will throw a spanner in the works (from bad weather to the winter vomiting bug) and when this happens (and it will) all you can do is make the best choices available to you. Aim to pick the healthier option every time. As a parent, this may mean just picking the ‘least unhealthy option’ at times but all these little choices add up.

Celebrate your daily health wins, don’t get caught up in your loses.

Your kids are little sponges, they absorb everything you say and do and it becomes their life’s compass. So set your compass to healthy and set them on the right track.

Have you taken part in START? What did you learn? If you haven’t begun then pop over to www.makeastart.ie to find out more (I’d ‘heartedly’ recommend it).


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