It goes without saying that nutrition plays a vital role in a family’s healthy outcome. As challenging as it might be to have everyone following a balanced, healthy diet, especially when the hurried daily routine works against you, don’t get frustrated. Researchers say that it takes simple actions and small changes made to your everyday life to help your child, spouse, and, of course, yourself consume nutritious foods and maintain a healthy body weight. For example, to cut down the consumption of excess salt, you can simply replace the saltshaker with something healthy, such as lemon wedges and/or a homemade mix of spices and herbs when you sit down and eat! Here are some ideas you could consider.
1.Keep Fruits & Veggies in Plain Sight
Wash and prepare veggies and local produce (i.e. carrots, cucumbers, and peppers). Store them in the front of the fridge, which will make it easier for your family to pick them instead of some other unhealthy option. Also, make sure your fruit basket is always on the counter, filled with apples, bananas, orange fares, and other seasonal fruits. If the family can see ready-to-eat foods, they are more apt to eat them. Simple as that! I know it can sometimes be a pain to source healthy snacks or ingredients when supermarkets don’t often stock specialised healthy foods, which is why Real Foods is great. You can buy everything from fresh fruit and vegetables, healthy snacks, sugar alternatives to gluten free products.
2.No Eating in front of the TV
The point of having a family dinner is to get together and bond as a family after a long, tiring day. Although family dinners are beneficial for the health of its members, sharing your meal with the TV on, or even worse, right in front of it, makes everybody overeat. This is because all attention is turned to the screen, rather than what or how much of the food on the table ends up in your mouth.
Also, always remember the plate rule; half of the plate should have non-starchy veggies (i.e. carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens, and peppers), unrefined carbs should take up ¼ of the plate (i.e. whole grains, beans, and sweet potatoes), while the other ¼ of the plate should be occupied by proteins (i.e. fish, pork, and lean beef OR a handful of seeds and nuts).
3.Support One Another on a Healthier Diet/Weight Loss “Campaign”
If one of the family members wants to lose weight or start eating more healthy foods, make it everybody’s business. First of all, psychologists advice not to outright agree that the particular family member has to shed off some pounds. This will have the opposite results. Instead, have the entire family work together to achieve the goal of the one in need. It is much more fun to try to accomplish something with a support group patting your back! So, if a child wants to slim down, it will be an excellent idea to get mum and dad into the slimming campaign. Why not invest in some healthy cookbooks and encourage each other to choose a meal to cook each day. Researchers from the UC* have found that for every unit a parent loses in their BMI, their child loses ¼ of theirs!
*University of California
4.Eat in Smaller Plates
You must have noticed how little the food looks when served in large plates. The same food serving in a smaller plate would appear particularly larger. It’s been evidenced that our mind is playing tricks on us when we eat our food in large plates because we tend to believe that we have not satisfied our hunger with the portion served in them. This leads to eating about 15% more than we would normally do. Help everybody eat more reasonable portions by setting the table with, say, salad plates.
Children tend to mimic their parents’ behaviour. So, if you hate peppers and bring it to the table, the little ones will most likely follow you on this, even if they have never tasted peppers before. Just say nothing about your personal likes and offer kids the healthy foods you don’t like.
- Let your child choose a new veggie or fruit every week. Take him or her to the grocery store with you once a week and try to decide (together) how you want to cook the selected produce in a healthy way! This is something I strongly encourage with Amber.
- Opt for whole-grain foods, such as brown rice, whole-grain cereal, and bread. It is a much healthier option.
- Limit the consumption of red meat to once in a fortnight and instead mix up your protein sources by swapping it for Quorn, fish or turkey, and keep portions small. Also, make sure you get the leanest parts to cook. If the recipe has chicken, remove any visible fat and, of course, remove the skin.
- Add more oily fish in your weekly menu. Pick fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as trout, salmon, and tuna.Having the family eating healthier is not all that difficult after all, right? With just minor adjustments to your daily routine and eating habits, you can get everybody enjoying healthier food choices and feel better than ever before.