3 Hacks for Building a Healthy Family Life

3 Hacks for Building a Healthy Family Life

Tommy Europe’s top tips for mixing food prep, family time, and fitness

As an all-star defensive back in the CFL, Tommy Europe’s job was to keep up with some of the league’s fastest receivers. Now, more than 15 years after playing his final pro game, Tommy faces a new challenge: Keeping up with his wife and two young daughters! When the family visits the local park, he says, people ask, “How do you get your kids to jog like that?” Tommy’s reply: “They’re not jogging, they’re playing tag!”

Setting aside time to get active isn’t the only way Tommy helps his loved ones lead healthier lives. If you’re wondering how to keep your family healthy, here are three of his key tips:

  1. Make time to get active

    Kids being kids, Tommy says his two young daughters aren’t always enthusiastic about the family’s regular weekend walks, hikes and bike rides. “But at the end of the day, when I ask them, ‘Aren’t you glad we did that?’ the answer is always ‘yes.’ It’s our routine, and it makes all of us healthier and stronger.”

    It’s true: From pick-up road hockey out front of your home to “Dad vs. The World” basketball at a local community court, getting active with the brood doesn’t have to cost a single cent. “There are lots of different ways to get your family active,” Tommy adds. “And the best part? They’re all lots of fun!”

    Tommy Europe and family going for a walk outdoors

  2. Show them the way

    Of course, families don’t have to be together to get active. When it comes to his daughters, Tommy says, getting them moving can be as simple as opening the front door. “Just let your kids go outside and play! Sometimes they don’t need things to be all that structured.”

    Those quiet neighbourhood streets and local parks are also ideal for letting the kids do their thing without you. They’ll clamber over rocks and climb trees while you rest up for the next big game of tag.

    At the same time, Tommy says, nothing is stopping you from being the one who ducks out the door for some healthy time in the great outdoors. “When the kids ask where you’re going, saying ‘for a walk’ or ‘for some fresh air’ sets a great example.”

    Tommy Europe and family going for a walk for some fresh air

  3. Keep the veggies coming

    “From the beginning, we’ve served our kids plenty of veggies,” Tommy says. “Peppers, broccoli, green beans, asparagus, the whole gamut. It’s something we incorporated early and often. People ask, ‘How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? And I say: ‘Well, first of all, they can’t cook!’ We never gave them a choice, so they grew up loving vegetables.”

After all, what kid wouldn’t want to eat their veggies when these quick and easy recipes make them taste so delicious? Here’s how to cook healthy family meals:

How do you get your kids to eat vegetables? Share your tips in the comments below.

This article was originally published on April 26, 2019.

Photography by: Ken Cheng

How can you make those memories if you aren’t staying healthy and at the top of your game? We’ve got your back!

Download the free “Dad’s Guide to Being Awesome” ebook right now.

Contest Winner With A Surprisingly Compelling Story

Contest Winner With A Surprisingly Compelling Story

We want to send a big thank you to everyone who participated in our contest and helped make it a success! As much as we’d love to send all of you to Cuba, there can only be one lucky winner. 

Congratulations to Paul Hand, the winner of our Unboring Father of All Contests and recipient of a 5-star all-inclusive trip to Cuba! After reaching out to Paul, we learned that this family man from Hamilton, Ontario has a surprisingly incredible story. Not only is it moving, but his story can help motivate us all to do our best to be just a little bit healthier.

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Check out our conversation with Paul to learn about this awesome guy and his amazing story.

  • What do you think about the Don’t Change Much campaign?
    I love the campaign. It’s simple, fun, and so easy to incorporate the tips & ideas into anyone’s lifestyle. From the busy worker, to athlete, to family man, there is really no excuse why every single male couldn’t work a few of those into his daily life.

  • Is your health important to you? Why?
    Absolutely, 100%. I’ve always been a relatively healthy person, however at the age of 29, it was discovered that I had congenital heart disease and needed a double valve replacement. Fortunately, through a routine physical, my family doctor sent me for an echocardiogram which was where the valve problem was discovered. Since then, I’ve survived two open heart surgeries. Another important motivator for me is my children. Not only being around as long as possible for them, but teaching them how to live a healthy lifestyle as well.

  • What steps are you taking to live healthy?
    I work out 3-4 times a week at the gym and play a little softball. Not only does the gym keep me physically healthy, I find that it also helps me relieve stress.

  • What aspect of your health are you looking to improve?
    This is really hard for me to share with you, and that’s part of the problem facing men in our society. I really need to work on my mental health. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health, but over the last few years social campaigns and charity involvement have really helped to reduce that. For me personally, I keep my stress to myself and have trouble discussing things, but I know that’s not healthy for anyone. We all have stressful jobs and daily lives, so having a channel to share those feelings is very important.

  • Best advice you have for men wanting to live healthier?
    Being truthful to yourself. If you are suffering in any fashion, physically or mentally, be real about it. You are only fooling yourself and the people that mean the most to you. Healthier meals and routines will lead to an improved lifestyle for you and everyone around you.

  • What are you looking forward to most about your trip to Cuba?
    Family time and a healthy, stress free week away from the daily grind. So needless to say, low key relaxation and pool time with my boys.

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We’re Blown Away By Your Support!

We’re Blown Away By Your Support!

We would like to thank each and everyone one of you for your outpour of support during Canadian Men’s Health Week, along with the likes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, MP Rona Ambrose, and superstar Michael Bublé. It’s clear that Canadian men and their families are serious about living healthier!

If you haven’t yet, be sure to “like” us on Facebook. Next week, five lucky winners will be selected among our Facebook fans to receive $100 Rexall gift cards. This is your chance to stock up on all your healthy man products for summer. Best of luck!

Canadian Men’s Health Foundation would also like to thank our partner Rexall, Canada’s complete healthy daily living destination for providing this donation of gift cards.

*** Congratulations to our winners! ***

  • Kevin Long
  • Luuk Reissenweber
  • Singh Mohanjit
  • Jason Koski
  • Colin Tyranny Jenkins

*Please email our team at info@menshealthfoundation.ca by July 15, 2016 to claim your prize.

*This Giveaway has officially ended.

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Watch How PM Justin Trudeau Challenges Canadian Men!

Watch How PM Justin Trudeau Challenges Canadian Men!

Although our Prime Minister isn’t lacing up the boxing gloves, he is showing his support for Canadian Men’s Health Week, June 13th to 19th, by standing firmly in the ring of the Don’t Change Much campaign. As the PM says, “Let’s make these small changes now so we can have better health for ourselves and for the people who count on us.” What kind of small changes? Watch this video to find out!

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Lucky Winner! Men’s Health Week Contest

Lucky Winner! Men’s Health Week Contest

Do you love golf? How does a trip for 2 to play Angus Glen Golf Club in Toronto, new Nike Vapor golf clubs, and $1000 cash sound? That’s the grand prize, Chris T from Drayton Valley, Alberta claimed as part of our Ultimate Father’s Day Golf Giveaway. Congratulations, Chris!

The contest was part of Canadian Men’s Health Week, which was hugely successful in motivating close to 57,000 Canadian guys and their families to commit to living healthier.

Thank you to everyone who entered the contest and helped to spread the good word for Canadian Men’s Health Week and stay tuned for more contests on our website. A special thanks to our participating sponsors, Rexall and Give Golf.

Getting to know Chris, our prize winner:

When we chatted with Chris, we were blown away by his enthusiasm and learned that he is making great efforts to be healthy every day. We thought, he may even have a thing or two to share with other guys looking to better their health.

Check out our Q&A, below:

  • Is your health important to you and why?
    Yes.  If I don’t have my health then I can’t work and I can’t be there as a support for my wife.
  • What steps are you taking to get/keep healthy?
    I go to the gym 3-4 days a week. I joined the local golf club. My job is very physical as a gas fitter so I get in a lot of exercise and movement that way. Eating healthy too, of course!
  • Best advice you have for other men wanting to live healthier?
    Start slow – even if it means starting with walking. It’s all about baby steps. Don’t take on too much at once. The hardest thing to do is just getting started and once you do, it gets easier.

Chris is an avid golfer and after hearing that he had won, he couldn’t wait to book his trip. Our team hustled to coordinate all the details for Chris and his buddy to hit the green this weekend. We even managed to pull some strings for an extra surprise – shhhhhh.

Stay tuned on Facebook or Twitter to see photos and we’ll reveal how we surprised Chris!

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