Today, we are all looking for ways to get our families to eat well. Given that obesity is at an all time high in the U.S. and with Type 2 diabetes on the rise, it is more important than ever to teach our children how to eat healthy. Being obese can put people at risk for other health issues such as; cancer, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and much more. If you feel overwhelmed but know that you need to make a change, just keep reading. I will offer some simple changes to get you and your family on the fast track to eating right.
I can not stress enough, how important it is to plan your meals in advance. If you sit down and construct a weekly menu and stick to it, you will be far less likely to make poor eating decisions. Shopping weekly is best because it ensures that you have a lot of fresh fruits and veggies on hand. Meal planning helps you save money as well. If you add up those panicked trips to the supermarket when you have no idea what you will serve for dinner, or the times you just gave up and decided to eat out, you’ll be amazed at how much money you are spending. A few more quick shopping tips: buy what’s in season, shop the farmer’s market when you can, and don’t load up on junk. One more suggestion I have is to become “best friends” with your slow cooker. It’s like having someone else cook dinner for you and unlike packaged and processed meals, you know exactly what’s in it. A great site for slow cooker recipes is http://slowandsimple.com/
Just Say “No” To White Stuff
A super simple and really healthy change you can make is to stop buying anything white — buy whole grain instead. I’m talking whole grain bread, flour, pasta, buns, etc. Maybe your kids would freak out if they saw their PB&J on deliciously nutty whole grain bread. We don’t want to send the little angels into shock for goodness sake, so just try to find the simplest looking whole grain bread you can. Nothing fancy, just be sure it’s not white. They might scoff at first but they’ll get used to it. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to make these changes.
Nothing But The Flax
Let me give it to you straight; flaxseed is incredibly healthy for you! If you aren’t eating it, you certainly should be. Flaxseed is rich is lignans which have been recognized to have anti-cancer properties. Flaxseed is packed with Omega 3 fatty acids, which help your brain, your skin and your hair. It assists your body in burning fat, keeps you healthy and is a great source of fiber. I buy milled flaxseed and store it in the fridge. However, I’m told buying flaxseed whole, then grinding right before you serve it, is best but I just don’t have that kind of time. It can be sprinkled in or on just about anything. Are you making muffins? Sprinkle some flax in the mix. Having some ice cream? Sprinkle flax on top. Making Chili? Add some flax in it. Your family probably won’t even notice this healthy addition.
One Fruit, One Veggie Rule
In our home, this has been a rule of mine since our boys could eat solid foods. I have always included at least one fruit and one veggie at lunch and dinner. For breakfast there is almost always a fruit and at least one of their snacks is a fruit or vegatable. My boys are really great about eating their fruits and veggies but sometimes one or both, will turn their nose up at something and that’s ok. I offered and that’s what’s important. You can always enforce the “no thank you bite” which means they need to at least try it. Even if your child says they don’t like something, keep offering it. It can take 15-20 times of offering a food before a child will decide they like it. With toddlers it’s even crazier, one day it’s their favorite thing and the next day it is the worst thing ever. Don’t give up, don’t lose hope, they won’t like everything but you’ll find a lot of things you may not have thought they would eat. It also works well if you offer at least one item that you know they will eat. One more tip is to avoid canned fruits and vegetables; always purchase fresh or frozen, there is less sodium, sugar and they retain most if not all of the magnificent vitamins and minerals that our bodies need.
Ask Your Kids For Help
You can teach your kids about eating healthy by including them in the meal planning. Let each child pick a day when they get to plan the dinner menu. Don’t forget to ask them to pick out the fruits and veggies too. It’s great to include them in on the shopping trip. If you can, you’ll find that it’s easier and makes the trip more special, if you can take just one child each week. Be sure to read lables and explain what makes certain items healthy and others not. In the produce aisle, show them all of the beautiful and colorful fresh fruits and vegetables there. Let them pick out something fun like an artichoke, star fruit or mango to try.
Last but not least, make it fun and keep it simple!
Do you have any additional healthy eating tips to share?