Following a healthy diet has a lot of benefits. It can lower cholesterol, prevent certain health conditions, improve your energy, help your focus, and help you and your family stay healthy. As you probably know, fruits and vegetables are a massive part of making healthy food choices. To help you get started, we’re sharing some fantastic tips to make healthy food choices for your family.
1. Start Meal Planning
If you have all your meals planned ahead of time, you are more likely to make healthier choices throughout the week. Look for healthy recipes you can make in batches and have them ready for your family instantly. This cuts down your cooking time during the week and streamlines your shopping since you’ll spend less time wandering through the aisles trying to figure out what to buy.
2. Redefine Snacks and Treats
Snacks and treats are part of our routine and can be excellent for controlling cravings in the afternoon. Unfortunately, we tend to rely on snacks loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and additives that are not good for our health. These aren’t good choices for fueling our bodies and keeping us going until our next meal. Instead, redefine treats and snacks and opt for healthy choices instead. Think of snacks as mini-meals that contain nutrients to give you energy, like fruits with nut butter or cut vegetables with grain spreads.
3. Include More Seafood
Most families are used to poultry, beef, and pork as their go-to protein sources. But you can also find great protein in salmon, along with healthy omega-3 fatty acids that are excellent for heart health. Wild-caught salmon is a versatile protein choice that you can bake, fry, and even turn into salmon burgers as you integrate this healthier alternative into your diet. You can also poach, steam, broil, or even grill seafood to make it more interesting for the entire family.
4. Start Reducing Fats
Fats can be harmful to our bodies, especially over time. To reduce fats in your diet, make healthier choices by baking, broiling, or boiling foods instead of frying. Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products, salad dressings, and spreads. Remove the skin from poultry like chicken or turkey and discard it. Cool soups and gravies to skim off the fat before you reheat them. These are quick tips that can help you make healthier food choices.
5. Control Sugar
One of the most challenging dietary changes to make is cutting down on sugar, but it is also one of the most significant opportunities to improve your health. You can try serving fruit instead of cookies or ice cream for dessert. Reduce the amount of sugar in your baking recipes by a quarter. Use more natural sweeteners like vanilla, cinnamon, or nutmeg to add flavor when sugar is reduced, so you can still enjoy the sweetness you crave.
6. Make Healthier Choices While Eating Out
When you’re choosing food at a restaurant, try to go for items that have less fat or added sugars. You can always ask for the low-fat or low-sugar option, if available. A quick trick to make healthier choices while eating out is to order foods steamed, broiled, baked, roasted, or stir-fried—avoid fried foods. Pick foods without butter or sauces, or ask to have the food without the sauces. If you ask for a salad, ask for the fat-free or low-fat dressing and request to have it on the side.
7. Reduce Your Portion Size
If your family usually overeats, consider using smaller plates and bowls instead. This will help you reduce portion sizes effortlessly. We’re so accustomed to family-style eating that we often consume larger portions than we need. If you adjust your portions, the odds are that eventually you will eat less and feel satisfied with less. Gradually reduce your portion sizes both at home and whenever you eat out.
8. Become Mindful Eaters
Stop eating while you watch TV or use your computer. Distracted eating can result in unplanned overeating. Avoid electronic devices and other distractions while you eat. Instead, sit at the table or outdoors and engage in family conversation as you eat to be more mindful of your meals.
9. Read Nutrition Labels
Learn how to read nutrition labels and what the information provided means. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the top section of a nutrition label includes the serving size, followed by the calories per serving. Then, you can look at the daily value percentage of calories used. As a general rule, 5% or less is low, and 20% is high. Finally, the nutrition labels include the nutrients and other ingredients.
10. Cut Sweet Beverages
Sodas and other sweetened beverages can contain more than ten teaspoons of sugar, three times the amount of sugar kids should have in a day. A quick way to make healthier food choices is to trade sodas for sparkling water and add a touch of fruit juice for flavor.