Are you trying to be healthier but have trouble getting everyone to join in? If yes, you’re not all on your own.Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!
Since I am a licensed dietitian I’m aware of the issues families are faced with.
From stress and hectic work schedules to budget limitations and food access issues, Many obstacles could get in the way of better eating habits.
Additionally, family members might not always be able to agree on the food they should eat.
People who adhere to a special diet might eat differently from other members of the family. Children who are prone to tantrums might not eat during mealtimes and cross their arms in a rage. Teenagers may go to the drive-through store as they head home from school. They may also avoid the family meal.
It can be overwhelming, but with a combination of thoughtful planning and the willingness to be flexible, you can bring your family members into the same boat with healthy habits.
Here are 16 practical suggestions for eating better with your family.
1. Release perfection
Contrary to what the media would suggest, there’s no single best way to be healthier in your eating habits.
That means your meals do not have to be costly complex, time-consuming, or even picture-perfect.
It is important, to be honest, and do all you can to aid your family members to make good decisions.
In addition, by taking away the pressure to follow an ideal diet, you’ll be more likely to come up with an approach to eating that is suitable to benefit your entire family.
2. Do not label foods as prohibited
While certain ingredients are healthier than others, it’s vital to create a positive relationship with food by not using words such as “bad” or “off-limits.”
Additionally, being too strict can cause anxiety and stress around mealtimes.
Instead, consider this suggestion by Aubrey Redd, MS, dietitian, and the owner Aubrey Redd Nutrition: Aubrey Redd Nutrition:
“Don’t consider any food to be prohibited. Foods of all kinds can fit into an enlightened lifestyle with moderate consumption. You should think about the concept of food items that are ‘always’ and ‘occasionally’ foods. Vegetables and fruits are always the best snack option However, you can only get cakes for birthdays when it’s a birthday celebration.”
3. Create healthy eating as a way to improve your health and not about weight
Not only are diets unsuitable in the eyes of children, but also discussing the body’s weight with children can cause disturbing thoughts and behaviors about eating.
Instead of talking about the fat or calorie content of food items, concentrate on their advantages, like their taste or nutritional value it offers.
Make it a habit to educate your children about how you love your body by treating it with respect. In the end, positive words by parents are a great way to build and maintain a healthy image of self and body in children.
4. Simple meal planning is key.
Planning your meals is an excellent method to save time since you only need to shop for groceries at least once or twice during the week. However, choosing the best recipes to cook can be a challenge.
There’s an appropriate time and space to try a new recipe you saw on Pinterest but it’s best to stick to basic meal ideas for the week.
In actual fact, Yaffe Lvova, registered dietitian and proprietor of Baby Bloom Nutrition, recommends avoiding “new or complicated meals on busy days,” and keeping “two to three backup meals in the freezer or pantry in case of a hiccup in the day’s plan.”
A way to simplify the process is to base meals on what you already have in your kitchen. Apart from saving time as well as money-making use of what you have in your pantry helps reduce food waste.
Another option is to create a joint meal planning method by keeping a piece of paper or dry chalkboard in your kitchen for an ongoing list of food ideas that everyone in the family can share in.
Are you tired of cooking the same dishes each week? Go through old cookbooks that might be collecting dust in the attic or basement and save recipes you’re looking to cook together as a family.
5. Prioritize meal preparation
One of the main issues I receive from families is the inability to cook food at home and snack items.
Although it might appear to be a lengthy commitment to time, taking the time to make some snacks and meals can make a difference in your time throughout the week.
The first step to making your meal preparation the top priority is looking over your schedule and committing an allocated time to prepare your meals.
Edith Yang, RD, SR, CLT, mom of two and the owner of Healthy Mission Dietitian, recommends what she calls 1-2-3 preparation: “Dedicate 1-2 hours one day to prep one easy protein, two fruits, and two to three veggies.”
In real life, this could mean setting aside some time on Sundays to cook the oven-baked wings of chicken, as well as a huge fruit salad as well as sheets of roasted tomatoes and zucchini.
Also, you don’t need to take on all the work on your own.
Consider dividing the meal preparation chores among your family members, or seek help from a family member or family member who can spend time with your children as you and your spouse are preparing your meal together.
Consider buying an air fryer or slow cooker or rice cooker, to cut down the time you’re cooking.
There’s nothing wrong with taking shortcuts in meal preparation like buying frozen or fresh fruits and vegetables, microwavable whole grains, and a cooked chicken rotisserie.
6. Take a meal together
Sharing meals as a family with no distractions is a great way to enjoy many advantages, such as helping to develop healthy eating habits, encouraging bonding, and assisting in emotional and social development.
In addition, research has shown that children of families who have meals together are likely to eat less fast food and eat more vegetables and fruits.
There are advantages also for adults. A study has found that parents who take part in family meals show more self-esteem and have lower rates of stress and depression.
Although it might not be practical to sit down and eat every night, it is important to have family dinners every time you are able to.
Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy a meal without distractions:
- Create a dinner table that is the only place where you can not use your phone.
- Have a conversation at the table by asking interesting provocative questions. For instance, if were to choose any animal as a pet what would it be? And what would it be? You could also play a game of turns asking each family member to answer questions.
- Assign each family member an assignment, for example helping cook or set the table or washing dishes.
7. Include more frozen, fresh, or canned vegetables
One of the most effective methods to get more vegetables into your diet is to incorporate them into dishes that your family members already love.
For instance, if it’s Friday and it has pizza nights, lay out a variety of veggie toppings, like chopped mushrooms, chopped peppers artichokes, spinach fresh tomatoes, and basil, for every member to serve for pizza toppings.
Utilizing vegetables instead of heavily processed meats such as sausage and pepperoni You can make your pizza healthier without getting too away from your family’s zone.
Joby Neelankavil RDN She also shares a fantastic way to include vegetables in your meals. She says “I incorporate minced vegetables into cooked meat recipes that are ground. This helps stretch the meat into multiple servings and also adds fiber and nutrients.”
This advice is particularly useful for those who have a discerning palate at your home.
Are you concerned about the cost? There are numerous ways to cut costs on your food.
For instance, seasonal vegetables are typically more affordable and taste better than those grown outside of the season.
They’re also a good alternative since they’re equally healthy as fresh produce however, they come with an extended shelf life. Also, frozen veggies cook fast and are available in bulk, which makes them cost-effective.
In the end, if you’ve got only a limited supply of fresh produce or want an economical option, canned vegetables are also healthy options. Make sure you look for low sodium or salt-free choices.
Some canned vegetables to keep on hand are carrots, beets (beets), diced tomatoes, pumpkins, corn, and peas.
8. Maximize the number of vegetables you eat for snack time
If you’re faced with the decision between cutting up vegetables to snack on or buying chips out of the bag it is likely that convenience wins out.
Encourage your family members to enjoy vegetables by having cleaned and cut vegetables ready for the refrigerator. Cut the vegetables into strips or sticks and place their contents in transparent containers like mason Jars.
In this way, the vegetables are readily visible and easy to pick up. It is also possible to place a nutritious dip like salsa, hummus, or yogurt, on top of the container of vegetables for an all-inclusive snack.
Josten Fish RD Dietitian and dietitian with Dietitian Meets Mom particularly is a fan of this idea before dinnertime eating fresh vegetables is a great method to quell the hunger of your family.
9. Create a dinner for everyone in the family
It’s tempting to keep the family content by cooking multiple meals at dinnertime. I have seen this most frequently in families that have food preferences.
For instance, while the entire family is eating a dish or a meal, one child could take a sandwich or even a cereal bowl.
While it might seem easy to eat the same meals is essential to ensure that your family is on the same path and establishing healthier lifestyles.
But, that does not mean you have to make your children consume food they do not like.
If you have a family with children who are picky eaters, Caroline Thomason, a self-described “not your average dietitian,” suggests “serving dishes by deconstructing them.”
She continues, “For example, when making taco bowls, serve all the ingredients separately and have each member construct their own bowl assembly-line style.”
In the same way, instead of preparing meals for every family member make meals family-style, so that each family member can pick what they’d like to consume.
If you have a child living at home, you might be thinking about ways to involve them in the family meal too.
For infants over 6 months old, you can simply chop or puree the food you’ve prepared into the appropriate consistency in accordance with the stage of your child’s developmental stage.
Make sure you introduce one food item at a given time to determine if you have food intolerances or allergies.
If you have concerns or questions about the kinds or quantities of food that you can feed your child, be sure you talk to your pediatrician.
10. Serve food in fresh and innovative ways
An effective way to encourage children and adults to consume healthy snacks is to present various foods in exciting and fun ways.
For instance, instead of placing one type of snack inside a dish, instead, put together an assortment tray or a board. It is also possible to increase the nutritional value of your snack by offering choices from a variety of food categories.
If you’d like to add dips such as peanut butter or hummus serving snacks in muffin tins can be a great way for children to play with various tastes and textures.
Here are some food examples that include:
- Apple slices
- mandarine orange segments
- Sliced strawberries
- dried cherries
- Sugar snap peas
- cherry tomatoes
- Baby carrots
- bell pepper slices
- steamed edamame
- Cheese slices
- cashews, salted lightly almonds, or cashews
- pretzel thins
11. Let go of Clean Plate Club
To have a healthy relationship with food, it’s crucial that children are aware of their hunger signals and their fullness.
It’s therefore understandable for parents to want their children to be healthy and nourished but requiring them to finish their meal or eat when they’re hungry can compromise these good biological signals.
To lessen the power struggle during meals and promote healthy eating I would suggest using the Ellyn Satter model Parents decide which food items to provide and when they decide, while children choose what they’d like to eat.
12. Don’t use desserts as an incentive
It’s not unusual to promise dessert in exchange for your child’s eating vegetables.
Yet, Dana Peters, MS, RD, and owner of Dana Peters Nutrition, explains that giving sweets as a reward “sets up the mentality that some foods are better or more valued than others.”
Although desserts shouldn’t be used to reward yourself, they could be a great and tasty option to bring more nourishment into your child’s daily.
For instance, some healthy alternatives are grilled fruit kabobs, watermelon cubes that are dipped into homemade yogurt dip, or strawberries cut into slices and topped with whip cream.
Remember that since all food items can be part of an enlightened lifestyle traditional desserts such as brownies and ice cream can be occasionally enjoyed.
13. Consider using more protein sources that are plant-based
A diet that is more whole foods has been linked to many health benefits because they are the best in beneficial nutrients, including antioxidants, fiber vitamins, minerals, and vitamins.
Additionally the fact that many protein sources made from plants are shelf-stable and are more affordable than animal-based proteins.
Some examples of plant-based protein sources you can put in the shopping cart are seeds, nuts, beans, and lentils, as well as tofu and edamame.
Are you unsure of what to do about incorporating these meals into your family’s mealtimes? Here are some suggestions:
- Switch half of the chicken you use in your stir-fry with tofu. It is also possible to eliminate the chicken entirely.
- Chickpeas can be substituted for beef in the family’s most-loved stew or soup recipe.
- Replace mayonnaise with Hummus on wraps and sandwiches.
- Add walnuts to your oatmeal and frozen or fresh fruits.
- Include 1 teaspoon of flax hemp seeds in your smoothies.
14. Eat whole grains for breakfast
Because of their nutritional value, It is recommended to cook 50% of the grains you consume completely.
Since refined grains are typically present in cereals, pancakes, and muffins breakfast is the ideal opportunity to incorporate additional entire grains into your daily diet.
Simple ways to include more whole grains into your morning include these options:
- whole-wheat toast, topped with peanut butter, banana, and a slice of
- Quinoa porridge, topped with fruit and nuts
- A smoothie made with oatmeal as well as yogurt and frozen fruit
- Whole grain breakfast cereals for breakfast
- brown rice, vegetables, and an egg
Additionally, you should keep whole wheat white flour on hand for the making of waffles, pancakes, or muffins.
The white whole wheat flour comes in a lighter kind of whole wheat, but it’s equally nutritious, making it a fantastic choice for those who are picky about their food.
Additionally, it can be substituted for all-purpose flour in a lot of recipes. Be sure to keep the white flour whole grain in your pantry or in the freezer to extend its shelf-life.
For breakfasts that are easier to eat during your week, suggest making large quantities of whole wheat muffins or pancakes and then storing the extras in the freezer.
15. Create your own drinks with flavored ingredients
While it’s essential to drink plenty of water, there are times when you’ll need something more thrilling.
Engage the entire family in making healthier drinks at home by mixing seltzer water and some ounces of pure fruit juice.
16. Make your own food
Another excellent method to get your entire family to eat better is making your own food items.
In addition, you don’t need an extensive backyard to get started. There are many varieties of plants and herbs indoors or in pots that are small on your patio or balcony.
In addition, some regions offer community gardens, which can be signed up for.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny basil plant in your home or a raised garden at the back of your home, cultivating food is an excellent method to get a lower cost while increasing your kids’ curiosity about fresh foods.
The final line
Although it takes some trials and errors, eating a healthier diet can have many benefits for all members of the family.
Keep in mind to think positively and promote healthier habits without restricting or adding pressure.
When you start taking one step at each step, you’ll realize that it’s possible to discover healthier ways of eating that are sustainable and practical for your entire family.