The prospect of getting your family to be healthy can be daunting, especially if you come from an unhealthy background. But even if your kids refuse to eat their peas there are other simple changes you can make to get them on the right path to eating healthier.
Changing your eating routine takes time, so stick with making tiny changes to your eating habits.
Here are five tips that will get you and your family on the course to eating healthy.
1. Embrace fresh herbs.
The freshest food is typically the healthiest, and an easy way to get plenty of fresh elements into your dishes is to use fresh herbs.
Herbs are abundant in the produce section of the supermarket or you can grow your own, and there are plenty of options that can be used in a variety of ways. Check out this infographic on how to use and store fresh herbs.
Even some of the most basic herb options are simple and delicious. Consider sprinkling fresh torn basil leaves on top of your spaghetti, or use a combination of rosemary, thyme, and parsley to spruce up a basic potato dish.
2. Commit to eating whole foods.
It can be a tricky habit to get into, but eating clean contributes greatly to a healthy diet and lifestyle. It's all about picking recipes that depend on fresh produce, meat and dairy, and less on elements that have added sugar, preservatives and things you can't even pronounce.
Try to forget all about processed foods – they’re often loaded with unnecessary fat, salt, and sugar. This could also apply to snacking. Get in the habit of eating a handful of grapes, nuts or baby carrots for a snack, rather than granola bars or a bag of potato chips.
This is not to say all clean foods are fat-free. There is such a thing as healthy fats found in whole, fresh foods.
3. Replace soda with a healthier alternative.
Soda is not good for your family on any level, so why drink it? Instead find fizzy replacements like flavored sparkling water, kombucha, or Zip Fizz. Kombucha is a fermented tea that has many health benefits! You can even find soda-flavored kombucha at many stores in the healthy/organic section.
Whatever you choose, you’ll still want to drink it in moderation (once or twice a week).
4. Jump on the zoodles revolution.
There's no getting around the fact that pasta is delicious. It's also filled with carbs and calories, however, something you're looking to avoid when eating healthy.
One of the best investments you can make when transitioning to a healthy diet is a spiralizer, which is basically a spiral slicer that cuts pieces of zucchini into noodle-like pieces called zoodles.
The sheer numbers should be enough to convince you. One cup of cooked spaghetti has about 220 calories and 43 grams of carbohydrates, while a similar amount of zoodles has just 20 calories and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
The beauty of zoodles is you can top them with the same things you would traditional pasta, such as a spaghetti meat sauce, pesto or parmesan cheese. Here’s a great teriyaki chicken and zoodle recipe to get you started.
5. Plan your work and work your plan.
This may be the toughest habit to get into, but it's absolutely essential if you're serious about eating healthy– plan your meals. Plan breakfasts, lunches, dinners and even snacks up to a week in advance, so everybody in the family knows exactly what's on the menu for a given day.
Just think about it – on days when there is no plan, it's all too easy to fall into the trap of grabbing a quick and unhealthy option to fill the gaps. Limit these instances by simply making a plan.
If you do need a frozen meal for those days when things just turn out as planned, try healthier options like Bird’s Eye’s Protein Packs (New England flavored is my personal favorite).
Well On Your Way
Don't feel pressured to embrace all of these tips immediately if it feels like too much. Take a “walk before you run” approach and introduce one tip a week as you become comfortable.
Teaching your family good eating habits is an important part to grow a healthy and happy family.
Tell us in the comments what tip you want to add to your routine this week!
Ali Lawrence is a kombucha-sipping writer who focuses on healthy and sustainable living via her family blog Homey Improvements. She also writes about DIY projects, home tips and organic gardening. Find her on Twitter at @DIYfolks.