I think I can say this with confidence, we all want our families to eat healthy, or at least most of us do, right? I know I want to have my family eating healthier, but sometimes it seems like a task not so easy to accomplish. I have figured out a few ways and I thought that I would share them with you.
1. Fruits and vegetables are important for a healthy diet, but they seem to be those things that we often forget or simply don’t eat. If you have kids that don’t seem to like eating fruits and vegetables give this a try. My kids love to dip things, so if I put out tomatoes, celery, broccoli, cauliflower, Italian beans, olives, carrots with some ranch dressing, that plate will be devoured in a matter of minutes. For fruits like apples, bananas, peaches try dipping them in yogurt.
2. Cut back on your family’s salt intake. Food without salt doesn’t have to taste boring, you only have to utilize other seasonings, seasonings like garlic, pepper (if you like things spicy you could try using cayenne pepper or chili pepper to liven things up a bit), lemon pepper (one of my favorites), curry powder, ginger, lemon juice, or even fresh herbs can add flavor. Alternatively, you can give seasoned salt a try; it has less sodium per teaspoon than pure salt has.
3. If getting fruits into your family member’s stomachs is difficult, besides the tip I shared in number 1, give this a try. Add fruits to the morning cereal. Blueberries, cranberries, bananas, raspberries all go great as a cereal topper and you can cut out putting sugar on your cereal because the fruit has natural sugar in it and will add the sugar flavor we crave without having to add additional spoonful’s of sugar.
4. Like pizza? You can add vegetables to the tops of your pizzas, and you can do it in such a way that you and your family members won’t even notice they are there. Chop up spinach, mushrooms, peppers, and other vegetables, sprinkle them all over the pizza and then cover them up with additional sauce. Not only will they add flavor, but you and your family will gain the nutrients so often missed by not eating these foods.
5. Doctor up your favorite casseroles and omelets, just like we did with the pizza. If you double the amount of vegetables and cut back by ½ the amount of meat your family will get more nutrients and I don’t think they’ll notice much. Also use lower fat milk when making these items. If your recipe calls for hamburger, try replacing the chopped beef with turkey burger or chicken burger, both are lower in fat, and you won’t notice much of a taste difference.
6. Don’t overwhelm yourself or your family as you try to transition to a healthier diet. Make your changes over a period of time, giving everyone time to get used to things. If you suddenly say we’re no longer going to eat this or that, and instead we’re going to eat these things, you’re going to run into a lot of opposition.
7. We are all so busy these days, but it’s important to have your family sit down together for regular meals. Not only is this good for nutritional value, but for family value as well. Families talk and interact with one another at the meal table. You can find out what’s going on with one another’s lives and make connections. Prepared meals are healthier then things we grab to eat on the go, or when we stop at fast food places on the go.
8. Smaller portions are also a key to eating healthier and more nutritious. Our eyes often deceive us, we think we need more food to satisfy us then we really do. Almost all of us could cut our portion size in half and still have more than enough food.
9. You don’t need to completely cut out your favorite snacks. Just reduce the amount of them that you consume. Instead of eating that big huge banana split have just 1 or 2 scoops of ice cream with your favorite toppings, and eat it less often, maybe once a month instead of once a week.
10. Start your day out with breakfast. If you wait until noon or later to eat your first meal you’re going to be extra hungry and you’re probably going to eat more than what you really need, than you’re probably going to snack throughout the day. It really is important to eat a well balanced breakfast.