Learning healthy eating habits is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Understanding that healthy food matters and healthy choices do taste good is vital to maintaining a healthy lifestyle for our children as they get grow.
There are many easy and beneficial changes you can make now that will create healthy eating habits that can last a lifetime.
Don’t reinvent your grocery shopping list all at once, try some of these simple changes to make your daily diet include healthier foods. Take recipes you love like pancakes or spaghetti and look for ways to make them healthier by adding fiber from whole grains or nutrients from vegetables. Without even thinking about it you will start enjoying the benefits of healthy eating.
7 Ways to Start Eating Healthier
- Drink it.
Drink lots of water. Replace pop, juice, flavoured waters, fizzy drinks – all of it – with water. If you need something to jazz up boring water add cucumbers, frozen lemon wedges, or strawberries. Even try freezing berries or lemon into ice cubes and pop in your glass when you refill. A pretty drink tastes yummier.
- Go natural.
Natural. As in one ingredient on the label. Peanuts. Yes it tastes different without the hydrogenated oil and added sugars but add sliced bananas or apples, a trickle of maple syrup or honey and your kids will love it. Peanut butter is a healthy protein to add to any snack but only when it is natural.
- Go for whole.
Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, whole grain cereal, whole wheat flour, and brown rice. Remove white starchy everything from your pantry. Add whole grain oats to everything you bake, make kids lunches with whole grain bread, use whole wheat flour in waffles or pancakes, top whole grain cereal with sweet fruit instead of buying sweetened cereals.
- Go Nuts.
Full healthy monounsaturated fats, almonds are a great snack. Buy them dry roasted or make your own if plain blanched almonds do not have enough flavour. Add to salads, grind up in your morning smoothies, crush to coat fish or chicken and serve with cheese and orange slices to add protein to snack time.
Salad Dressing – Say Yes to Yogurt.
Switch to yogurt or vinegar based dressings. Yogurt based creamy dressings in the refrigerated section of the grocery store have only 1-2 grams of fat per tablespoon compared to a whopping 7 tbsp in most ranch dressings. Better yet, make your own dressing with rice wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, a little extra virgin olive oil and use Dijon, lemon or pressed garlic for flavour.
Speaking of Yogurt – Buy Wise.
The yogurt isle is quickly becoming the most confusing stop in the grocery store. Beware of ‘fat free’, as it usually means artificial sweeteners and flavours have been added to keep the taste after they have removed all the fat. Try Greek yogurt that has more protein, less sugar and all the calcium and add your own berries or honey to flavour and sweeten naturally.
Add Vegetables – To everything.
I am long past pureed baby food, but having a stock of pureed squash, zucchini, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli and carrots in my freezer makes it easy to turn everyday mac n cheese into a healthy meal or otherwise guilty brownies into a healthy snack. Toss in puréed squash and zucchini to spaghetti sauce or even when baking your favorite muffins and a 1/2 cup pureed cauliflower goes great in scrabbled eggs or quiche!
The idea of healthy eating as a lifestyle is not to restrict what you can and can’t eat but to improve the ingredients of your everyday food and drinks and turn them into healthier meals the whole family will enjoy.
Deb Lowther is a mother of 3 young daughters who, when not running after the kids, is running in the trails. She ensures her own kids are having fun while being active and eating healthy. Writing for many website and magazines, Deb’s goal is to inspire others to raise healthy, active families. Follow her on Twitter @Deb_Lowther, and find more healthy tips on her www.RaisingHealthyKids.co website.