FOOD STORIES SERIES
Cooking Project Themes: Health and Safety in the Kitchen + Food Shopping and Budgeting
Health Well Wise‘s Dylan Foster shares his practical approaches to having a healthier lifestyle. He lists four of the great ways to change your family’s diet in this guest post. He enjoys writing about topics related to how our homes affect our health and happiness.”
Want a Healthier Lifestyle? Four Great Ways to
Change Your Family’s Diet
Eating healthily is important to our quality of life. By being responsible with what we put into our bodies, we can drastically change how we deal with ailments including depression, anxiety and stress. With the right diet, we can play a big role in our overall wellness and improve relationships and moods.
Make Healthy Produce Available
The benefits of nutritious food cannot be understated. A balanced diet can improve physical and mental health, keep emotions stable, raise energy levels and increase self-esteem. Unfortunately, when it comes to snacking, junk food is still likely to trump healthier options. After all, cookies and chips do not require preparation.
Making healthy snacks readily available for your children can nurture a greater acceptance of more nutritious options. Display fruits on kitchen counters or in the living room and have prepared vegetables available in the fridge. You might cut these in smaller pieces to make them less intimidating to eat. Don’t rid your home entirely of junk food. Instead, store them somewhere inaccessible like cupboards. Lead by example in availing of your home’s new inventory of snacks. By demonstrating your own enthusiasm and avoiding junk food, you can inspire your children to emulate their number one role model.
Healthy food can be expensive, but if you cast your net wider, you may find savings. Focus your efforts on generic brands, as well as frozen fruits and vegetables, and look to buy as much as you can in bulk to mitigate costs. Check your local stores for pamphlets and online coupons, as these will often detail weekly or monthly deals and sales on produce. Supplement store-bought goods with regular trips to farmers markets. These may offer a greater variety of healthy foods, and there will be more opportunity to obtain locally sourced, cheaper items. It might be a good idea to involve your children in the process. Encourage them to make positive choices, as dictating their habits entirely can be counterproductive. Make suggestions, and if you worry they will be drawn to junk food, then try to limit them to healthier aisles.
Structuring how you prepare food can streamline the process, and make being healthy less taxing and time-consuming. Choose a specific day, perhaps on the weekend, to meal prep, and store everything in containers to smooth over the week’s cooking. Another way to organize healthy eating is to create a shopping list. Without one, it’s easy to find shopping expenses exceed expectations, and that can interfere with a more positive lifestyle. You might, again, involve your family in the decision-making such as by making a menu.
Have a family gathering to ruminate on each week’s grocery list. Invite suggestions about ingredients, recipes and the like to really keep everyone invested in being healthy. To raise anticipation, you could even display the chosen menu on a chalkboard to get everyone excited about their future meals.
Make Food Fun
No matter how important healthy eating is, to a child, its benefits may not be apparent. To bypass any skepticism, it’s a good idea to consider how you present their meals. For instance, many children are drawn to bright things, and their rooms often reflect that. Consider making use of every color group to give their plates an attractive shine to get your little one thrilled about the veritable rainbow on offer. You might also take advantage of any preferences your children have. Do they love pizza? Or, pudding? Thankfully, there’s a recipe out there for just about anything, and you may find that adapting a tried and true favorite is an effective tool in encouraging healthy habits.
As a supplement to this, look to smoothies as another way to introduce your children to fruits and vegetables. They can be colorful, too, and with the right set of ingredients, can be both delicious and nutritious.
Changing how you eat may take time. However, the transition to healthier habits does not have to be stressful. Nurture an environment that encourages nutritious choices and make what’s on offer fun and appealing to all ages.
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