When 6 o’clock rolls around and you haven’t even thought about dinner, it’s tempting to pick up the phone and order pizza, or run to the nearest drive-thru window. While this is ok once in awhile, it’s not ideal when choosing a healthy diet plan for your family. Making the choice to feed your family healthy foods should be a no-brainer, and here are 5 tips to help.
Don’t Do “Quick-Change”
Quick change is when you usually have fast food three nights a week and then abruptly change to eating tofu and rice every night. If change is gradual, your family is more likely to accept these new foods, and even grow to expect and enjoy them. Substitute one not-so-healthy side dish for a healthier one, or do an entirely different, more health-conscious meal. Put carrot sticks out for snack rather than potato chips, or substitute a low-fat dressing for your dinner salad.
When you are looking to expand your recipe repertoire, look for healthy food that you sincerely think your family will enjoy. It’s easy to visualize your family sitting down at the table quietly discussing the activities of the day while eating mountains of veggies, lean protein and whole grains. In reality, your kids might turn their noses up at your fish, gag on your broccoli, and refuse your whole wheat rolls.
First, try tweaking your current recipes a bit. Add a little spinach to the lasagna, or more veggies in your spaghetti sauce. Trade whole wheat for your regular noodles and your kids will barely notice a difference. Cook things with flavor, and your family will enjoy the new tastes.
Have Fun and Experiment
It’s easy to get in a rut when you’re cooking for your family. The good news is that there are many resources at your fingertips for fast, easy and healthy meals. The Internet, cooking groups and recipe books are just a few of the options. When you’re considering a new recipe, think about the “quick-change” and “taste” tips. Don’t throw something totally off the wall at your family, or you will end up with hungry ornery people and a lot of wasted time and energy.
Trips to the grocery store can be fun and educational. Take your kids to the produce section and let them decide what you’re going to have for dinner that night. When you are ready to prepare the meal, let your kids help, and talk to them about the health benefits of the food you are handling. They will be excited to see and eat the food that they helped prepare.
Point of View
Don’t regard healthy eating as a chore, but rather a new way of life. When you teach your children the importance of good nutrition, you teach them a lifelong lesson they will remember. Eating healthy will become a habit in your home and pretty soon, the members of your family won’t think twice about it, and you can feel better knowing they are healthier individuals.