Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family
After my serious allergic reaction, my children’s nut allergies, and immune system conditions in our genetics, I began taking a serious look at how food impacts the body. This completely transformed our perspective from seeing food as something we eat because it “meets a craving” into seeing food as a source of fuel, health, and preventative medicine in our lives. As our budget allows, we make organic options a priority for produce and meats. We began seeing how much better our bodies felt when water was our main liquid every day. We became a “no soda house”. As we made this complete transformation, we had to include our entire family of 5 on the journey – and we found some helpful tips along the way. Here are 10 Tips to help other families make the transformation from bagged snacks to real food life as well.
Healthy Eating Ideas for the Family:
1) Try our list of 50+ Easy & Healthy Snacks and regularly add more ideas to the list by trying out local farms, farmers markets, and reading books together.
2) Make the switch! Stop buying bagged processed junk snacks for lunches and start using a Bento Box – this review compares many options and compiles the results for you.
3) Use a Salad Spinner! My Kids will now try anything they get to spin in the salad spinner It is a fast, fun, and easy way to rinse lettuce fresh fruits, and all sorts of produce. My kids love helping and they are much more willing to try new foods I place in the salad spinner. Here is the lowest cost salad spinner I could find that actually held up (I have used this one in my home. Affiliate Link)
If you want to invest in a higher quality salad spinner, I love the spinner below! My kids can easily use the spin button and help do this dinner prep task! (affiliate link):
4) Kid Kitchen Cabinets: Placing healthy eating options, plates, bowls, spoons, and child friendly food prep items safely within our children’s reach has had a huge impact on our healthy eating routines as a family. This post explains how to set up age appropriate “Kid Kitchen Cabinets.”
5) Make simple changes: Like using a CUPCAKE tray to serve fresh fruits and vegetables to the kids at a home “tea party.” It’s an effective way to introduce kids to new foods. Or using the mandolin to slice cantaloupe into “shoe string fries”. Or serving the stalks of steamed broccoli instead of the bushy crowns. Sometimes a simple change will allow a new connection! Here’s a mandolin I love and use almost daily in my kitchen (affiliate link):
6) Elimination Rounds: This phrase helped us in our complete transformation. We would say, “OK! -This (packaged food name here) is up for elimination rounds That means when we run out, we will not buy them again but will replace them with a healthier option. Let’s read, look at the farmers market, try recipes, and decide a delicious healthier replacement of this one.” It is a clear way to communicate and be on the same creative page together.
7) “Helper apron!” Both boys and girl kids should help in the kitchen! Research has definitely shown that kids who help prepare meals are much more likely to eat those meals! We rotate through one dinner helper per night. They get to wear the special apron, use the special spatula, and assist Mom or Dad as they cook that night! It has increased the amount of new healthy foods they try immensely! Here’s an apron for less than $5.00 that you can decorate with your kids for the special “kitchen helper”:
8) Books! The library has TONS of recipe books geared for families! We make a trip to the local library every week and check out any random book they want that has food ideas in it. Sometimes it means making a pan of lemon cupcakes with blueberry topping just to get them to be excited about lemons and blueberries and try them (for a kid who doesn’t like blueberries, this is a big accomplishment!) But honestly, the time we spend together making new foods means just as much to me as the new real foods they now love!
9) SLEEP! No matter how healthy we eat, our bodies need sleep to repair, heal, and restore our health. Kids need at LEAST 10-11 hours of sleep a night for school aged, and much more sleep for toddlers and younger. Sleep is an important part of our preventative health. Using TV’s or electronic screens at night can actually make it harder to fall and stay asleep (National Sleep Foundation), so read a book together and use extra sleep to stay healthy!
10) RELAX!!! Being stressed damages our bodies and deters our health efforts! (Healthline, 2015). Eating healthy as a family is an adventure – a journey – a complete transformation. It is not a task list, it is not a perfection destination! Sometimes we have to relax on the turns in order to stay the course. If pairing a new fresh fruit with ice cream gets them to try a new fresh fruit – then stay the course and keep adding new & healthy options for them to choose. No matter what – have a healthy dose of JOY today!!!!!!
I hope these Tips for Healthy Eating as a Family have inspired you. What are your favorite healthy eating tips as a family? ~ Joy
Healthline, 2015: 8 ways Stress is more dangerous than you think. Retrieved at: http://www.healthline.com/health-news/mental-eight-ways-stress-harms-your-health-082713
National Sleep Foundation, 2015. Sleep for Kids. Retrieved at: http://www.sleepforkids.org/html/sheet.html