Many of us grew up with parents who relied on cheap convenience foods for feeding the family. While they may not have known better then, we now know the drawbacks of relying on too much-processed products that are engineered for overconsumption.
Over time, turning to packaged foods over the whole health varieties can lead to health issues such as obesity, malnutrition, tooth decay, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
On the other hand, embracing a healthy diet can promote physical and mental health for you and your family. What we eat as well as how we eat it has a direct impact on how the family deals with stress, depression, anxiety, and sadness. Eating healthy enhances mood, provides ample energy, boosts brainpower and helps build self-esteem.
If the old saying “you are what you eat” is true, so what is your family? Do you rely on packaged convenience foods for quick and easy meals or do you take the time to prepare things that are fresh and full of the nutrients your children need for healthy development? If you lean toward the former, there is no better time than the present to make a change that will have a positive impact on your entire family.
Summer is the perfect season to start exploring a healthy family diet. With the kids at home, you have a more relaxed schedule that provides ample opportunity to try new recipes at home. Furthermore, this time of year your grocery store and farmers market are teeming with the best and freshest produce available. Finally, summer is a season for celebrating life — and what better way to celebrate than by embracing a new diet that nourishes the body and soul?
First of all, healthy does not have to be boring! There are plenty of fun, healthy, and family-friendly recipes out there that combine healthy ingredients with kid-approved flavor. A great way to get your kids excited about your new diet is by having them help out when it comes to preparing meals. Teaching your children how to cook is a great opportunity for family bonding, but it also teaches them an essential skill that can contribute to their overall health for the rest of their life. When kids work with new foods and ingredients firsthand, they are less likely to feel intimidated by them and more likely to enjoy what they eat.
You can also encourage children by letting them pick out a new healthy food during your weekly grocery trips. Giving your children some agency in what they eat helps boost their self-esteem and encourages them to try new things. Plus, you get a little help narrowing down what exactly goes on your family’s weekly menu!
When it comes to making meals, remember the KISS principle: keep it simple, stupid! Simplify healthy eating for your family any way you can. For instance, the fewer the number of ingredients in a dish, the better. Instead of stressing over making something complicated, let the flavors of the vegetables, grains, and proteins shine in each dish. You can help bring them out with a modest amount of healthy salt, fresh herbs and low-calorie condiments that compliment each ingredient.
For busy days, keep a few quick and easy, healthy recipes on hand that utilize certain packaged ingredients. It’s OK to turn to packaged food like low-sodium organic tomato bisque, sprouted bread, and low-fat mozzarella for a kid-approved meal of grilled cheese and tomato soup that takes less than 10 minutes to prepare.
Healthy eating is good for your family’s physical and mental health. This summer, encourage a better diet by inviting your kids to help cook and pick out fresh ingredients when grocery shopping. Simplify your eating plan to make it accessible even with your busy lifestyle and watch as your whole family happily adjusts to your new healthy habit.