Providing the family with healthy and nutritious meals is on all of our to do lists but this goal can often feel overwhelming and unattainable in the face of daily responsibilities and overwhelming schedules. Luckily, with a little bit of organization and some planning ahead, your family will be on the path to collaboratively creating a lifestyle shift that will positively impact you all in years to come!
Here are some of my tips for creating simple and significant change in your family's eating habits:
Commit to Eating Whole Foods
Whole foods are foods that are as close to their natural form as possible. They haven't been refined or processed and are free from artificial substances. Examples of whole foods are, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and grains. A good hint to keep in mind is that whole foods don't have ingredients, they are the ingredients. Make a commitment to eating whole foods whenever possible -- this is one of the most important changes you will make in your family's food choices.
Create a Weekly Menu
Save time in the kitchen by taking 15 minutes each weekend to create a healthful menu for the upcoming week. This is a good opportunity to use all of those recipes that you have been collecting. Commit to introducing two new whole foods into each weeks menu to keep things fresh and to integrate the different health benefits of a wide range of foods.
Make a Shopping List
Based on your weekly menu, make a shopping list of ingredients and amounts needed for the week. It's so easy to get side tracked at the supermarket and end up in the ice cream isle -- it happens to all of us. Instead, focus on your prepared list to help keep you on track. It is possible to make just one trip to the supermarket for the week instead of making a mad dash every day after work. This tip is sure to save you a great deal of time, energy and money.
Select a "Meal Prep" Day Each Week
Setting up a day for preparing your ingredients is another helpful shortcut. This day will be dedicated to washing your produce, chopping your veggies, cutting up fruit for morning smoothies, marinating your meats, boiling quinoa and preparing other favorites. Store these all in air tight containers and organize them in the fridge for easy access each evening as you begin your cooking adventures.
Invite Your Kids Into the Kitchen
The sooner you get your kids in the kitchen, the healthier their relationship will be with food and eating. They will also learn at a young age that THEY can make healthy choices and independently create foods that are pleasing to them. Cooking and experimenting together in the kitchen is a bonding experience for the whole family.
Eat One Meal Together Each Day
It's true that a family that eats together, stays together. Sharing a meal as a family has so many incredible benefits for children's overall physical and emotional well-being. The family conversation around the dinner table is a great opportunity to communicate and connect with our children while promoting nourishment for the mind and the body.
Use one or all of these suggestions to start your family's health journey, Remember that creating lasting change is a process so move at your own pace and enjoy the many benefits that come with creating more health in your home.