Posted on Feb 22nd 2021
Healthy eating ensures we receive the right balance of nutrients, reduce our chances of disease, and feel energized throughout the day. Eating habits are made early in life, so it’s important to introduce children to healthy foods right away. The easiest way to ensure your children are eating healthily is to commit as a family. While eating healthy may seem overwhelming to those who have yet to develop the habit, there are a few steps you can take to make the transition easier.
Choosing Whole Foods
The first commitment you must make on a journey to healthier eating is choosing whole foods. Pre-prepared, packaged, and fast foods are detrimental to health and do not contain the nutrients a body needs to grow healthily. By choosing whole foods - vegetables, grains, legumes, fruits, unprocessed animal products - you gain control over your health. Whole foods are the ingredients you need to build a healthy diet!
A great way to save time and minimize cooking stress is to have a weekly menu planned out in advance. This is also an easy way to introduce new foods and keep things exciting. Plan meals that your children are familiar with while adding in a few new vegetables they’ve yet to try. Research the web for healthy recipe ideas or browse a few cookbooks.
Detailed Shopping List
Once you have your menu planned, creating the shopping list is the next step. Planning out your grocery shopping in advance will ensure a faster, less expensive visit. Based on the menu you have planned, write down the ingredients and amounts you need. Don’t forget to add in a few (healthy) snacks, like fresh fruits, nut butters, and unflavored yogurt.
Now that the menu and shopping are done, it’s time to prepare for the week ahead! Meal prep is a great idea for busy parents as it helps save lots of time when cooking. It’s best to choose one or two days a week where you will prepare ingredients for the following days. Wash, chop, peel, and organize your ingredients according to your menu. Store them in airtight containers in the fridge so they are ready when it’s time to cook!
It is important for growing children to understand that they have control over their diets. While you’ll be making the most important choices - the ingredients - for now, teaching children about the importance of whole foods and healthy eating will encourage them to make healthier choices in the future. A great way to share your knowledge about healthy eating is by inviting your kids into the kitchen. Have them help you wash vegetables, prepare ingredients and safely experiment with cooking.
The easiest way to encourage healthy eating habits and to ensure that everyone in your family is onboard, is by eating together. While busy lives often get in the way of family meals, it’s important to fit in at least one sit-down meal a day. In addition to promoting healthy eating habits, family meals also improve emotional well-being. This is the perfect time to reconnect with older children and enjoy being together as a family.
Healthy eating is just one of the keys to the foundation of a healthy life. Physical activity is also important, so consider enrolling younger children in kid’s fitness classes or encouraging older children to participate in school sports. Leading an active lifestyle yourself will also set a good example for your children to follow. With the right amount of exercise and a well-rounded diet, you can expect positive results for yourself and your children!