Getting the family, especially kids, to eat healthy food can be quite a challenge. Think picky eaters. However, it all depends on how you trained them. Healthy eating habits are also passed down. So, if you are a picky eater, no wonder your kids are, too.
In these crucial times, boosting our immune system through healthy eating is of utmost importance. Also, some families may also have difficulty when it comes to budget. However, as you and your family change your eating habits you will realize that healthy eating is not that expensive.
Benefits to Healthy Eating
Healthy eating is good not just for the body but for the mind, too. Getting your kids and the whole family has a lot of benefits.
- Healthy eating helps stabilize the kids’energy. Junk food and sweets have too much sugar that causes hyperactivity.
- Healthy eating habits improve mind and cognitive function. Remember the adage that when your tummy is full your mind is full, too? In addition, unhealthy food causes us to become sluggish.
- Healthy food helps improve mood. On the other hand, mood affects how we eat. Remember stress eating? Also, sugar plays a big part in mood. When the blood sugar drops, it makes us feel irritable and depressed. Consuming too much sugar can also lead to anxiety, memory and learning issues. (Source: https://www.hartgrovehospital.com/can-food-affect-mood)
- Healthy eating helps maintain weight. Eating nutritious food balances out the nutrients and the body only stores what it needs.
- Healthy eating helps prevent anxiety, depression, and hyperactivity. Thus, eating nutritious food also helps improve an overall healthy mental condition.
To help you get started, here are some tips on how to get your family to eat healthy. There will be hiccups at first, so just be firm in your decision.
Top 10 Tips to Healthy Eating Habits
- Start early. Train your kids at a young age. As they get older, it will be more difficult to implement changes. On the other hand, starting early also means starting with breakfast. The first meal of the day should always be the most nutritious to help you and your family kick start the day.
- Lead by example. Be a good example to your kids so they will model your behavior. Avoid the “kids’ menu” and let them eat nutritious food just like you do.
- Plan ahead. Plan your meals with your family. This also helps them in decision-making and makes them feel important. It also helps them realize the value of food and money. Also, set a schedule for meal time. Sticking to a schedule enforces habits.
- Avoid junk food. Opt for healthy snacks such as fruits and nuts. Cut up raw veggies such as carrots and celery and place them in Ziplock bags or small containers in the fridge. You can also prepare fresh fruits such as grapes, apples, oranges, and pears. You can also dehydrate fruits in the oven and mix them with healthy nuts such as almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts. Try this healthy Candied Pecans recipe which makes a great treat for you and the kids!
- Reward them with Treats. Treats are different from snacks. The difference is that treats are normally unhealthy while snacks are not. Create a rewards system wherein if they try new food or finish their serving of veggies, they earn a point. For every 10 points, they earn a special treat such as donuts, frosted cupcakes, or ice cream.
- Serve fruits and veggies as sauces or smoothies. If feeding them fruits and veggies is still a challenge, try making smoothies. Smoothies are also a great substitute for ice cream. You can also try this Jamie Oliver’s “Full of veggies tomato sauce.”
- Make meals attractive. An attractive meal is enticing to eat. Try bento boxes, smiley face sandwiches, and colorful meals. Now is the time to get creative with your presentation.
- Change your cooking method. Instead of frying food, why not cook them in the oven? For example, broiling preserves the flavor and juices and tastes like it just came out of the grill. Ever wondered why anything barbecued tastes so good? Also, cooking food in the oven is easier and has lesser cooking time.
- Get the kids or family involved in preparing meals. This not only teaches responsibility but it makes them feel important. They would also love to eat what they lovingly prepared.
- Opt for whole grain foods. Whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread, rye bread, brown rice, oats, whole grain cereal, and popcorn make you feel full longer without the sluggishness.
Here is a chart to guide you on how to gradually change your food supplies:
|Water or flavored sparkling water
|Cream-based pasta or salad dressing
|Oil-based pasta or vegetable-based pasta sauce
|Baked chips or nuts
Now that you know all about healthy eating tips, make a plan and get your family’s buy in. The important thing is that before you implement any changes, talk to your family first. They will surely appreciate that you engage them in decision making and will prevent any negative reactions. Who knows? You may also get a few ideas from them.
Find these helpful? Share them with your friends so they can also start with healthy eating habits!
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