Family, Nutrition, Running & Fitness

How to Eat Healthier as a Family

Matt Orlando
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Are you looking for new ideas to incorporate into your cooking routine? Maybe your family is bored of the current menu rotation or you’re simply looking to find ways to eat healthier. As a parent, juggling busy schedules, work, and everything else life throws at you can make it difficult to rethink old habits. However, this spring is the perfect time to revamp some of the eating habits of your household. Here are some ideas for you to try out in the kitchen and beyond for a healthier lifestyle.

Fire up the grill

The warmer spring weather provides many opportunities to show off your grilling skills. Not only are backyard barbeques a great way to gather and spend time with friends and family, but grilling can also be a healthier form of cooking. Because most nutrients are lost in the cooking process, grilling retains many of the foods’ nutritional value due to the short cooking time frame. Also, opting for grilled chicken or leaner meats can be a more nutritious alternative to fried food that won’t break the bank. So this summer, explore different grilling ideas to learn about new recipes and cooking methods that will help you bring your A-game to the kitchen table. Most food groups – meats, vegetables, fruits, and vegetables – can be made into entirely new meals or sides, giving you complete creative freedom in revamping your dinners. The possibilities are endless.

Eat as a family

Family meals are known to be beneficial for overall health, which is why you should try to fit them into everyone’s schedule as much as you can. While life can be busy, finding the time to sit around a table together to eat a meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner, is the perfect way to connect as a family. It provides everyone the opportunity to share about their days, both triumphs and challenges, and talk through them as a family. Additionally, everyone can be involved in the planning process by picking their favorite meals or side dishes. Just be sure to not eat in front of the television. The TV is distracting and can lead to overeating due to a lack of awareness of how quickly you are eating. Instead, sit together, distraction-free, and enjoy the time spent as a family.

Be mindful about your meals

Cutting out most unhealthy junk food from your family’s diet might seem as simple as removing sweets and soda from your pantry. Unfortunately, the true nutritional value (or lack thereof) of many food items is often harder to determine. Sugar is often hidden in many well-loved foods – such as pasta sauce, yogurt, cereal, and even ketchup – that it’s difficult to avoid entirely. Instead, try to take smaller steps to make your meals healthier. For example, cutting back on refined grains, like white bread or pasta, and eating whole grains instead can be an easy way to incorporate more nutrients into your diet. While time-consuming, being aware of the ingredients in your food can be a substantial step to a healthier lifestyle.

Consume more fruits and vegetables

Last but not least, you should be thinking about how you can include the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables – about 4 and 5 servings of each, respectively. Unfortunately, convincing yourself or your kids to choose a vegetable side over potato chips isn’t the easiest task. For particularly picky eaters, finding ways to sneak vegetables into meals, like in an omelet or a stir fry, can be a solution to convincing even the hardest-to-please people to eat their greens. Additionally, keeping easy-to-grab snacks, like apples and baby carrots, can help encourage everyone to add healthier snacks to their day.

Eating healthy often gets a bad rep, but with some effort, it can be a fulfilling achievement for the whole family. With the start of a new season consider using any of the techniques mentioned above to get your family eating healthier. Although it may take some adjusting, your family will thank you in the long run. Once your family has started eating healthier, you can take on a new, extreme sport with your kids to celebrate your new, healthier lifestyle.