August 2013
8 Habits for a Healthy Family!

A healthy family helps to create the foundation for a happy family. When mom, dad, kids, and everyone else around are healthy, things just seem to run smoother! When people feel good, it is easier to manage everything that life brings. However, creating a healthy family takes more than just making a bold resolution to "Be Healthy".  To be healthy starts with the creation of good nutrition and lifestyle habits.  These habits become part of your lifestyle and people who live a healthy lifestyle have a decreased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. This month I am sharing with you 8 Habits for a Healthy Family, tips that I have found create the foundation for a healthier and happier family!

I hope you enjoy!


P.S. Creating a healthy lifestyle is so much easier than jumping on the newest deprivation diet! If you are ready to get started on your healthier lifestyle, contact me today for a personalized consultation.
8 Habits for a Healthy Family

AA family

1.  Eat Breakfast: People who eat a healthy breakfast (blueberry donuts do not count!) are more mentally alert, perform better at work, at school, and on the field, as well as have an easier time managing their weight than non-breakfast eaters.   Breakfast is an excellent time to start the day with a nutrient packed power meal, by consuming fresh fruit and vegetables along with fiber packed complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and  mono-unsaturated fats.  Breakfast is especially critical for children and adolescents; therefore, it is important to start early with creating the habit of eating a healthy breakfast.

2.  Set a Regular Grocery Date: One of the biggest challenges busy families face when it comes to meal time is not having the right ingredients on hand to whip up a quick and healthy meal. This usually results in the need to head to the nearest fast food pick up joint for a quick - and not so healthy meal. A regular  grocery date will help ensure your fridge will always be stocked with healthy food for those very hectic days!

3.  Prepare Meals in Advance: Along with setting a regular grocery date comes the important habit of meal planning in advance.  Life is busy and few families have the luxury of being spontaneous during the work and school week to figure out "what's for dinner", shop for the necessary ingredients, and then cook the meal! Spend a little time over the weekend prepping food for the week and I can almost guarantee your week will run a whole lot smoother!  Create a system that works for you.

Monday:  Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Dish
Tuesday:  Poultry or Fish Night
Wednesday: Soup or Chili
Thursday:  Leftover Night!
Friday:  Homemade pizzas, tacos, or breakfast for dinner

Leave the weekends for a little more impromptu eating and plan according to what is going on in your life.  But following a system as the one above takes the stress off you in thinking you need to create something elaborate every week, but gives you the flexibility to mold the menu to your family likings.  Try one new recipe a week and use family favorites for the other nights.

4.  Involve the Whole Family In Meal Planning: Parents often feel the need to take on the weekly challenge of meal planning as a solo task, when in reality weekly meal planning should be something everyone (ages 5 and up) is involved in. If you have young children, have them participate at an early age by letting them browse through picture cookbooks and find meals that appeal to them. For adolescents, give them the responsibility of planning one meal a week.  Involving the whole family at an early age helps create the habit of the importance of advanced meal planning. This also helps reduce the "I do not like this!" tantrums, as well as increase the overall nutrient profile and variety of foods served because everyone has a chance to give their input.

5. Eat at the Table: Creating the habit of eating together at the table sets the foundation for many healthy habits. In today's fast paced, busy world it can be hard to sit down, slow down, eat and enjoy a meal together. But this is one old fashioned habit that should be re-established as a regular part of your routine.  Eating together helps people connect and share what is going on in one's life, it helps you relax, unwind, and create memories.  Eating at the table also helps create the habit of mindful eating.  When the TV is turned off and external distractions are put on mute (i.e. telephone, email, and text alerts), people are better able to pay attention to their internal hunger and fullness cues, helping to prevent mindless and over eating.

6.  Snack on Fruits and Vegetables:  When it comes to eating healthy we have all heard "snack on more fruits and vegetables!" But the reality is, as a society, we are accustomed to snacks coming in fancy pre-packed containers. Unfortunately our children are learning "snacks" come from a box and not Mother Earth; this is setting un-healthy habits from the start. We have the power to transform children's snack habits by simply having more fruits and vegetables readily available on a regular basis.  Children learn what they live, therefore if fruit and vegetables are served as a snack from an early age, children will grow into adolescents and adults snacking on more fruits and vegetables!

7.  Make Water the Go To Beverage:  Creating the habit to drink more water is a simple but yet very important one.  Here are some ways to increase your overall water intake and make it a family "habit":

Drink a glass of water first thing when waking up...even before breakfast!
Serve water with meals.
Keep homemade fruit flavored water in the fridge (i.e.placing fresh fruit slices in a pitcher of water and letting it sit overnight).
Have everyone carry their own water bottle around with them
Dining out?  Create the family habit to order water!

8.  Pack Food the Night Before:  Help your family create the daily habit of preparing for success by packing their meals and/or snacks the night before.  When morning time comes it is easy to forget to make that turkey sandwich for lunch or grab some fruit, yogurt, and nuts for a midafternoon pick me up!  But if you do so the night before, and make this part of your daily routine, it becomes a regular habit. Having your meals and snacks in a convenient location (i.e. cooler), will prevent a midafternoon fast food drive thru, helping everyone eat healthier as well as saving time and money.  This is a habit that will serve your young adolescent children for many years to come!

Cereal Lovers:  Recipe for a A Lickety Split (Healthy) Breakfast!

A good breakfast can help your kids perform better at school. It can also help to promote a healthy weight and good behavior. But do not worry: preparing a smart breakfast does not need to be time consuming. You or your children can put cereal and milk on the table lickety split. Pick a nutritious cereal that is a good source of fiber. Look for at least three grams of fiber on the package's Nutrition Facts Label. Round out the meal, add interest, nutrition and staying power with some of these toppings.

Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, bananas, peaches, nectarines, kiwi, mango, apples, and cinnamon

Chopped nuts

Raisins, dried apricots, cranberries or cherries

Wheat germ and cinnamon

Reproduced with permission of Kids Eat Right (www.kidseatright.org)

 Scripture of the Month: 
Proverbs 1:2-5  

"To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight, to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity; to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth-Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance." (ESV)

In This Issue
Recipe of the Month:  Shrimp and Cheese Grits

This recipe is from: Holly Clegg's Trim & TERRIFIC Freezer Friendly Meals

Easy to prepare shrimp with cheesy seasoned grits and ham is an easy fulfilling breakfast or dinner. The shrimp may be omitted.

Makes 4 - 6 servings


1 cup quick grits

3 cups water

1/2 cup skim milk

1 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese, divided 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 teaspoon paprika

Dash cayenne pepper

 1/3 cup diced Canadian bacon

1 pound medium shrimp, peeled

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup chopped green onions


1. Cook grits in water and milk according to package instructions. When grits are ready, stir in 1 cup Cheddar cheese, Parmesan cheese, paprika, and cayenne and stir until cheese is melted.

2. Coat large nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Add Canadian bacon and saute until it begins to brown. Add shrimp and garlic and cook, stirring, until shrimp are fully pink and almost done, 3-5 minutes. Add lemon juice.

3. Remove from heat and stir in grits mixture. Season to taste. Add green onions.

4. Coat 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer grits and shrimp mixture to prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese.

To Prepare and Eat Now: Serve immediately or preheat the oven to 350F. and bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted.

To Freeze: Cool to room temperature, wrap, label, and freeze.

To Prepare After Freezing: Remove from freezer to defrost. Preheat oven 350F. Bake 30 minutes, covered, or until heated through.

Food Facts:  Calories 268, Protein (g) 26, Carbohydrate (g) 23, Fat (g) 7, Calories from Fat (%) 25, Saturated Fat (g) 4, Dietary Fiber (g) 1, Cholesterol(mg) 134, Sodium (mg) 470, Diabetic Exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1.5 starch

10 Lifestyle Habits Worth Doing:

  1. Take a daily walk or bike ride as a family.
  2. Create a night time ritual with an early bed time.
  3. Laugh more, yell less.
  4. Do more outside.
  5. Unwind with hot tea.
  6. Complain less.
  7. Take the stairs whenever possible.
  8. Leave a few bites behind on your plate.
  9. Brush your teeth after every meal.
  10.  Practice gratitude, on a daily basis.

Quote of the Month:

"Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny."

~ Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi
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About Elizabeth

Registered Dietitian

Certified Nutrition & Wellness Coach


Elizabeth has a passion for helping people achieve permanent weight loss  and optimal health. Having struggled for over twenty years with her weight, Elizabeth used a faith-based approach to lose 115lbs. which she has kept off for over 10 years. She uses the same strategies, along with her twenty-year background in counseling, to provide a faith-based approach to her nutrition and wellness services that include:

  • Transformation! A Faith-based Weight Management Program
  • Emotional Eating Support Groups
  • Nutrition & Wellness Seminars
  • Shopping Smart Supermarket Tours

Elizabeth maintains a full-time private practice and consults for supermarkets. She has a Master's Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University.


For more information about Elizabeth's services, visit www.weightlosstransformation.com

ElizabethMadisonNutrition | 718-276-6037 | elizabeth@weightlosstransformation.com | http://www.weightlosstransformation.com
Office: 219-10 South Conduit Avenue - Lower Level
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

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