It’s not always easy getting people to eat healthy, even the adults. There are things you can do to get healthier foods into the diets of your entire family.
However, just talking about the health benefits of foods isn’t going to be enough. You need to show your family the things that happen when you don’t eat a healthy diet.
Show them pictures of what people look like when they have a vitamin deficiency when they are living with morbid obesity, and of what arteries could look like when clogged with cholesterol.
An unhealthy diet can lead to an untimely death.
What Makes a Healthy Diet?
You need to understand what makes a healthy diet before you can expect your family to enjoy eating healthily.
Healthy eating means having a well-rounded diet that explores all of the food groups. You can eat healthily without meat and dairy though.
Learn and teach your family about dairy-free diets and meat-free eating. You don’t have to become vegans or even vegetarians to understand why these dietary choices are popular. Let them explore deeper into healthy eating by having meat-free Monday in your own home, even if you eat meat the rest of the week.
Look at the USDA website and get an understanding of MyPlate. Your biggest serving should be vegetables, followed by grains. Proteins and fruits split the rest of the plate. Consider the fact that you can get protein from far more sources than just meat.
1. Try New Ways of Making Things
Just because someone didn’t like a certain main dish or side dish one way, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t like it with some different seasoning or made in a completely different way. Get experimental in the kitchen. Try baking something that you normally fry (baking is the healthier option).
Look up recipes online for your favorite dishes. You may find some alternative ingredients you never would have thought to use before. It could make you love a dish even more. Don’t be afraid to do some experimenting with seasonings and alternate vegetables, or even with alternatives like using apple sauce in place of eggs or yogurt instead of sour cream.
2. Find Out What Everyone Likes
Ask everyone in your family to name all of their favorite foods. Find out which foods they don’t like, and which ones they absolutely refuse to eat.
Consider whether or not anyone in your family has a food allergy, because that will also affect what you cook as well. There are certain diets, like gluten-free, that you should only follow if you actually have an issue, like an intolerance to gluten (otherwise your body is missing out on nutrients needed for good health).
Once you know what everyone likes and dislikes, you can start making delicious recipes that everyone will enjoy. The foods that are disliked, as long as it’s not because of an allergy, can be worked into those new recipes to say if you can change their minds.
3. Make Foods that are Children and Adult-Friendly
Children often enjoy different foods than adults. Find a way to turn adult foods into something kid-friendly, and vice versa. Some easy recipes that will please everyone include homemade chicken nuggets and fancy macaroni with cheese. These are things everyone in the household can get behind.
When it comes to quick, healthy meals, instead of buying packaged microwave meals (over-processed foods do not count as being healthy), create make-ahead meals for your family and keep them in the freezer for a quick heated meal. Foods that are great for kids and adults include homemade hot pockets and fun soups, like tortilla soups.
4. Pick the Right Ingredients
Healthy eating isn’t just about the right ingredients, but they really do matter. Ingredients are what initially make a food a healthy option.
Whole foods are the best ingredients to include in any meal. Lots of fruits (to curb your sweet tooth) and vegetables will ensure your family gets all of the vitamins and nutrients they need to feel healthy.
Aside from ingredients, learn about portions.
A healthy diet isn’t as healthy if you’re eating too much. Eat even the healthiest foods in moderation. There are portion sizes on packaged foods, but those are processed. When eating raw foods and whole foods, do a little research online to find out the correct portions. The proper portion for a child will be different than it is for an adult as well.
Have the Kids Help with the Meal Preparation
If you want your children to get more into healthy eating, bring them into the kitchen with you while you’re preparing meals and let them help you out. They’ll find more interest in food if they get to help make it each day.
Feature image via stuff.co.nz