Healthy eating is vital for families. Not only do healthy food choices boost the wellbeing of your children and help in the prevention of obesity, but they set them up with good eating habits for the future.
Your health also benefits from all those vitamins and minerals gleaned from fresh food and choosing the healthiest you can get.
Here’s how you can instill healthy food choices into your family’s eating habits.
1. Read the Labels
Processed food includes ingredients you never imagined could be present. Think sugar in pasta sauce, salt levels in bread, and preservatives in canned food. Diets based solely on processed foods will be unhealthy. Always check the labels and mix your food choices with lots of fresh foods.
2. Teach Kids to Grow Food
If you have fussy eaters, get them to grow some food in the garden or a window box. For example, kids can grow tomatoes in a pot or lettuce in a box. If they grew it themselves, it is likely to contain fewer pesticides, but they will also enjoy eating what they produced. Your family also gets to learn where food comes from and simple life skills.
3. Eat More Fish
Fish is high in protein and has less saturated fat than meat protein. Healthy choices like wild Alaskan salmon are protein-rich, so they satisfy hunger quickly and for longer. That positively reduces your calorie intake. In addition, fish and especially salmon are full of vitamins A and D and omega-3 fatty acids, which help boost immunity.
4. Head to the Farmers Market
If you have a farmers’ market close by, heading there for fresh vegetables, meat, and fresh fish is a great way to ensure your family meals are full of healthy choices. It’s also a good place to take kids to meet the farmers and learn how food is produced. You will also reduce food miles and the amount of plastic packaging.
5. Watch the Portion Size
There’s little doubt that Western populations are eating more food, which leads to waste and obesity. Make sure you know what a normal portion looks like so you don’t overfill the plates.
One easy hack is to use smaller plates, so the portions look bigger than they are. By sticking to standard portion sizes, you will keep your family’s weight in check and reduce food waste.
6. Cut the Sugar
Sugar leads to an increase in diabetes, dental problems, and weight gain. Sweets offer a quick fix in stopping hunger but actually make you crave more, so you increase your food intake.
Keep sugar-rich foods to a minimum in any healthy diet. Avoid cakes, candy, and other sugary snacks, using them only as treats for special occasions.
7. Eat Healthy Snacks
Snacking leads to poor eating habits, obesity, sugar craving, and increased cost to your food budget. You can improve the choices your family makes in eating healthier by first sticking to defined eating times at home. Be sure to stock your refrigerator and food cupboard with healthy food only, such as fruit and vegetables.
Shelves filled with cookies and other hyper-processed snacks will be eaten if they are left there and ultimately will cost you more on the food budget. If your family takes lunch boxes, give them nutritious foods, avoiding potato chips and candy.
8. Cook From Scratch
You can make simple, nutritious dishes using fresh foods. One-pot meals are ideal and can also be batch cooked, saving you time and money by freezing portions for later. Make use of food gluts and nutritious fresh food or cheap cuts of meat.
Home-cooked food is not only full of nutrition for your family but will be significantly more filling than hyper-processed ready meals — and cheaper too. Get the kids to master a dish so they can have fun cooking for you while you have the evening off. Healthy home-baked pizzas, wild salmon recipes, or a pasta dish are perfect for kids to master.
9. Eat With the Seasons
Seasonal food is not only cheaper but is likely to have fewer food miles attached to it. Check out gluts of squash and plums in fall, or tomatoes in summer, freezing portions of food for wintertime. You get the benefit of eating fresh and healthy foods and boosting your immunity from vitamin-rich plant food.
Also, check out local pick-your-own farms where you can have a family fun day out harvesting food in season to use in a range of healthy dishes. Kids will love seeing fruit growing and especially enjoy eating a few samples while picking them.
It is easier than you think to make healthy food choices that will boost immunity and lead to your family enjoying nutritious foods. Take a moment to include some of these habits into your lifestyle today so your family gets to enjoy healthy food.