Ensuring your family eats a well-balanced diet is a challenge sometimes—especially if you have some picky toddlers in your home. But maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet is so important for your long-term health. Here are some tips to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle for your family, starting with making healthy food choices.
1. Serve Fruits and Veggies as Snacks
It may be tempting to go for that wrapped-up snack bar but beware. Even though the box claims they’re healthy and organic, processed and packaged foods are loaded with salt, sugar, and other additives you and your family don’t need. Instead, chop up some fresh fruits and veggies and make sure those are your family’s go-to snacks.
If you need to save time during the day, consider pre-chopping your fruits and veggies the night before so you have a quick snack to serve the next day. If your children refuse cooked vegetables like broccoli and carrots, try serving them up raw with a healthy hummus dip on the side.
2. Add More Fish to Your Diet
Fish is a very healthy meal option. It’s loaded with omega-3 fatty acids you need. Eating fish regularly can also reduce depression and your risk of stroke. Eating fish like salmon or halibut once or twice per week is a healthy habit for you and your family. It’s a protein-packed alternative to meat that has so many health benefits.
Healthy fats can actually help you lose weight and keep you from late-night snacking on salty or sugary sweets. For developing children, fish is an excellent source of protein and lipids. Buying fresh fish is a habit the whole family can get into.
3. Start the Day Off Right with Breakfast
Breakfast is usually a busy time of the morning, especially for families with young children. It’s so easy to reach for a sugary cereal to start the day, but do your best to fight that urge. Starting off the day with sugar is likely to slow you and your children down. Plus, you’re more likely to eat even more unhealthy things as the day goes on.
Instead, try some healthy breakfast options instead, like overnight oats or quinoa fruit salad. You can prepare some meals the night before to save time. Getting your day started with a healthy meal will keep you more alert and fuller for a longer time.
4. Make It Yourself
No matter what it is, homemade is always best. Chicken made at home versus restaurant chicken is just not the same. If you’re short on time, consider adding a slow cooker or electric pressure cooker to your life—you can thank us later! This will allow you to cook healthier meals using real ingredients and way less fat without spending hours slaving over a hot stove. No matter how healthy something claims to be, homemade will always be healthier and more economical, too.
5. Replace Juice with Water or Milk
Fruit juice has so many negative effects on your health. Fruit juice is full of sugar, even natural fruit juices. While you don’t need to eliminate them entirely, make sure juice is a treat and not given daily. Instead, water or milk are better choices for a healthy family. Plus, sugar is addictive. The more you have, the more you’ll want. Reducing your sugar intake is a healthy habit for your entire family to get used to.
6. Don’t Fear Carbs
Eliminating carbs will open you up to snacking on sweets to fill the void. Your body does need some carbs. Your plate needs to be one-quarter carbs, one-quarter protein, and half vegetables at every single meal. Follow this rule of thumb and you won’t be hungry. You’ll be completely satiated with healthy calories. We often hear the word carb and think we need to avoid it to lose weight. Like anything else, moderation is key.
7. Swap Out White Bread with Whole Grains
White bread and rice has more sugar and isn’t the healthiest choice. Whole grain products are just as tasty and much healthier for you. Whole grains can improve heart health, help with weight loss, and they’re packed with protein, fiber, and vitamins you need. Switch to whole grain bread, rice and flour. It may take some getting used to in the beginning but once you get into it, you’ll never look at white bread the same way again! Whole grains are healthy, filling, and make for a great snack, too.
8. Add Beans into Your Diet
Beans are another healthy food to add to your diet. Beans are loaded with fiber and protein. They’re lean, low in fat, and can replace carbs. Beans are also super versatile that even the pickiest eaters will eat them at least one way or another. You can make a cold salad, toss them into pasta, or even serve them in a soup. Beans are healthy and delicious and your family could definitely be eating these on the regular.
9. Presentation is Everything
If you have some picky little eaters in your family—and who doesn’t?—then remember that presentation is key. Children refuse anything that looks off-putting to them. Instead, chop up their veggies into cool shapes, design smiling faces on their plates, or do anything that really makes healthy food look fun.
Healthy eating habits and good nutrition start at home. So try to include as many healthy eating tips as possible into your family’s routine so your children grow up with a healthy mindset when it comes to food.