With life so busy all the time, keeping tabs on your family eating habits can be a bit tricky. But once you’ve got a handle on things you can make sure that everyone’s reaping the benefits of a healthy diet, especially those who are fussy eaters. Here are five top tips to help you take charge and encourage healthy family eating habits, and also, high cholesterol foods to avoid.
Work to a balanced template
When you’re prepping meals for your family, working to a healthy template is going to make the process a lot easier. For each meal a balanced combination of carbohydrate, protein and healthy fats is going to help provide all the necessary nutrients. Here are some examples:
- Carbs: wholemeal bread and pasta, brown rice, potatoes and other veg
- Protein: lean meat like turkey and chicken, fish and soya
- Healthy fats: olive oil, eggs, oily fish skin, nuts and seeds
Avoid processed and high cholesterol foods
Eating whole foods and cooking with fresh ingredients, as opposed processed foods, is always going to help you eat healthier as a family. For one, you’ll know exactly what’s going into what you’re all eating, and two, you’ll also have much better control over the amount of sugar and salt you all consume.
In addition, there are a number of high cholesterol foods to avoid, including full fat butter and cheese, fatty meats, cakes and biscuits. You don’t have to cut them out altogether, just limit the amount of these types of food.
It is also helpful to consider the impact of the oils you are cooking with. Extra virgin olive oil is incredibly healthy compared to most other cooking oils. It is essentially a pressed fruit juice, while other vegetable oils are typically extracted from seeds with chemical agents. The mono-unsaturated fats in olive oil can help with weight loss, decrease in inflammation, cholesterol, and reduce the risk of heart disease. Like other fresh ingredients olive oil does eventually go bad, so be sure to use your bottle within 90 days of opening and before the “best by” date on the label.
Using the healthy eating template, it’s time to pack lunches for everyone. But that’s going to take ages, you say. Well, not really. Once you get into the habit and have plenty of ideas for healthy packed lunches you can do it really quickly.
Also, when you’re cooking your healthy meals you can always make enough to pop in some food containers, ready for the next day. After all, the little time it takes will be more than worth it to know that your family members are eating healthily both in and out of home.
Sitting down to eat as a family is not only a nice thing to do, it’s also a great opportunity for everyone to try new things and talk about food. Get everyone involved in the cooking and prep, and you’re more likely to get them interested in trying new recipes too.
The more you make the whole healthy eating experience a collaborative process the easier it’s going to be to get everyone on board. Make it fun by writing menus and even setting up your table to resemble a restaurant – kids love that one!
Be the change you want to see
This is your chance to be a role model. The more you’re seen to be doing the right thing the more you’ll be encouraging your family to eat healthily too. Take every opportunity you can to enthuse the benefits and don’t let anyone catch you sneaking that bit of chocolate… even though that’s perfectly fine every now and then.
From working to a template and avoiding high cholesterol foods to eating together and being a role model, healthy family eating requires a plan and plenty of encouragement. Put these tips into action and enjoy the benefits!