Genius Ways to Simplify Healthy Eating for the Whole Family
As a parent, one of your primary concerns might be making sure your family is eating a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of variation. But it’s not always easy. Many children are fussy eaters, and many parents struggle to find the time to cook. While we’re aware of the many benefits of healthy eating, it can feel as though it’s impossible. Here are some of the best ways to simplify things, creating a healthy diet that the whole family will enjoy.
Plan and Prep
Meal planning is an excellent way to make healthy eating easier. It means that you know what you’ll be eating and gives you a great chance to introduce variation in your diet. Meal planning can also help you to save money and reduce food waste. When you plan your meals it’s also a good idea to take some time to prepare ingredients, and even cook meals in advance, using storage bags and boxes to keep everything fresh until you are ready to eat it. This will save you time and take some of the stress out of cooking.
Introduce Themed Days
Themed days, such as Mexican or Chinese nights, are a fantastic way to encourage your family to try new things, to get more involved in cooking and meal planning, and to enjoy themselves. You could even do some crafts to complement the meals and cheer up your dinner table.
Introduce New Flavours Gradually
Even the least fussy child would be overwhelmed by a plate filled with completely new things. Instead, modify meals that they love, adding new ingredients and flavours. One great way to encourage them to try new things is to put new things on pizzas.
Prepare Healthy Snacks
Make sure there’s always some chopped fruit and veg, healthy dips, and other snacks ready to grab, to limit the risks of unhealthy snacking ruining meals.
Avoid Processed Foods
The best way to eat more healthy meals is to cook them from scratch. This gives you a chance to add vegetables and beans and to limit salt, sugar, and fat. Avoid processed foods and start cooking more.
Enjoy Treats in Moderation
Banning treats is often a mistake. When we ban things, we create excitement. Never let your children eat pizza, chips, or chocolate and they’ll desperately want them. They’ll binge on chocolates at the first chance that they get, and you might find that once they are a little older and starting to make their own food choices or eat more out of the home, they make poor selections, and pig out on all of the things that you never let them have.
Instead, don’t make a big deal. Don’t ever refer to foods as “good” or “bad” and don’t ban any foods, even the unhealthiest options. Instead, enjoy treats, takeout, fast food,and chocolate in moderation. This way you won’t create excitement, and you’ll teach your children great habits for the future. If you want to label foods, to help make it easier for your children to understand balance and moderation, stick to “always foods” like fruit and veg, and “sometimes food” for unhealthy treats and meals.
Don’t Talk About Weight
Most of us are unhappy with our weight at some point in our lives. But obsessing over it never helps. People who diet are likely to lose and gain weight, develop unhealthy habits, and struggle to make long-term changes. Talking about diets and restricting your eating can also lead to unhealthy habits and obsessions and poor body image in your children.
Instead focus on wellness, and how food makes you feel. Try to practice, and encourage, intuitive eating with a focus on eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. Children are often far better at this than adults, so try to learn from the younger members of your family.
Eating healthily doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be great fun with a little planning and organisation.