Meal Makeovers: A Family Affair
What we put into our bodies is just as important as our exercise routines. Not only do the foods we consume help maintain a healthy weight, but they also serve as the source of the energy we need to work out regularly and stay active.
We've all been there before: we've made the decision to eat better. What that usually entails, unfortunately, are radical changes to our diets that are neither appealing nor sustainable long term. Stick to the tried and true: fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins (avoid processed foods as much as possible), and portion control. To make these changes stick and have an even bigger impact on your life and your loved ones' lives, turn food into a family affair.
Our attempts to make changes to our diets individually will most likely fail; however, making systemic changes to our families' nutritional habits will ensure that the changes are sustainable. With everybody in the house on board, the chances for success rise dramatically. And if you have children at home, these changes are even more important.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, a variety of healthy foods provides the nutrients that children need to build strong bodies, grow normally, play and learn. In addition, the eating habits they learn now will stick with them and are more likely to help them ward off obesity later in life.
Healthy eating starts at the grocery store, requires a little bit of planning, and a few meal-time makeovers. Here are a few tips from Bon Secours Virginia Health Systems to help you get started:
- Take the entire family to the local farmers' market and let everyone pick out a fruit or vegetable
- Include as many family members as possible in meal preparation, serving, and clean up
- Instead of candies, cookies and potato chips, reach for carrots, celery, apples, bananas or pretzels
- Replace sugary drinks and soda with non-fat milk, 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- To save time, vegetables and salads can be purchased pre-cut and pre-packaged
- For a healthy, fun breakfast, try a banana dipped in yogurt, rolled in cereal and served frozen
- Add vegetables to sandwiches, including tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, lettuce, and bell peppers
- Replace traditional desserts with non-fat yogurt or fresh fruit
- Keep healthy snacks in an accessible place where even the tiniest members of your family can reach them