A Fresh Approach to Meal Planning
So many of us make resolutions each year to get our families to eat healthier. The problem, all too often, is that despite our best intentions, life always tends to get in the way. There’s no doubt that eating healthy takes more time and forethought than rushing to a drive-thru when you’re late. But with just a little planning, and a few simple choices, creating healthy eating habits for the whole family can be much easier than most of us imagine. Here are three simple steps to help get your family started:
1. Veggies, Veggies, Veggies – When you do your weekly shopping, get twice as many veggies as you think your family will eat in a week. Even if you have to make impromptu meals that aren’t as healthy as you’d like, if you serve simple veggie options that can be eaten without preparation (carrots, celery, broccoli, etc.) you can feel good that your family is still getting some good health benefits from the meal, and they’re less likely to go back for seconds on the foods that aren’t as healthy.
2. Make Open-Faced Sandwiches – Sandwiches are a staple for any busy family. But too much bread isn’t conducive to a healthy diet. You can cut your family’s bread intake in half by making open-faced sandwiches. Start with bread, then a layer of spread (like light mayo) to help the toppings stick, and stack with all the lean meat, lettuce, and tomato that are usual for your sandwich routine—just leave off the top piece of bread. Open-faced isn’t as easy or practical for on-the-go lunches, but you can still reduce bread intake by cutting one slice of bread in half, and loading up the half-sandwich with the same amount of ingredients you would eat with two full slices.
3. Smoothies – With the right planning, smoothies can be one of the fastest breakfasts or snacks you can imagine. Dump in fresh or frozen fruits and slip in some kale for added nutritional benefits. Your family will never even know! The internet is full of healthy and delicious smoothie recipes, like this flavorful peach-strawberry smoothie. Or, try a spinach smoothie recipe for a little added green!
When it comes to eating healthy, or changing any habits for that matter, remember, it’s always better to start slowly. Get your family used to a few simple changes and when those become part of a normal routine, you can introduce others – that way the change doesn’t seem so drastic and overwhelming. Before long, your family won’t even remember what it’s like to not eat healthy!