- Switch out Pop-Tarts for Pancakes
We know how difficult it is for busy parents to get their kids out of bed, dressed, and fed every morning. But taking shortcuts like feeding them – or you – something with little to no nutritional value is not a healthy way to start your day. Cereal (not the sugar filled ones either!) with milk, fresh fruit with yogurt, or French toast are healthier options. If waffles are your thing, these can easily be made ahead and frozen for older kids to pop in the toaster for a quick breakfast, too.
- Detail Your Plan
If we have a plan to reach our goals, we’re more likely to be successful. Write down exactly what you’re hoping to achieve: lose pounds, be more active, save money (eating “fast foods” often quickly takes a chunk out of your budget as opposed to making meals at home). Once you know where you want to go, figure out how you’re going to get there and get the whole family on track.
- Eat Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Yes, fresh. Fruit swimming in syrup sold in individual containers is not always a healthier option than tossing a candy bar into your child’s lunch box, believe it or not. Instead, cut up fresh fruit and include a few scoops of almond butter in a small container. This healthy snack is packed with protein and will give your kids the energy they need to grow in a healthy way.
- Control Portion Sizes
If your family plans on eating out a lot, remember that restaurants often serve more food than we actually need to eat in one sitting. Split one meal between two people or immediately place half your meal into a to-go container. You’ll still be full and you’ll have a meal for the next day, too!
- Avoid Processed Foods
Plan meals and snacks in advance to avoid finding yourself reaching for the nearest unhealthy food just because it’s convenient. Cook healthy meals in bulk and then freeze into individual portions to reheat when you don’t have time to cook from scratch. (see tip #1 for the waffle idea)
You’re on Your Way to Healthy Eating for the New Year
The New Year is a great time to start eating healthier. Your children can help by washing (younger ones) and cutting (older kids) fruits and veggies. Serve vegetables in a kaleidoscope of colors to pique their interest in different foods. Have them find a new fruit they’ve never tried before and learn about the variety of ways different fruits can be eaten (a pomegranate versus a banana versus a peach, for example). Happy New Year and Happy New You to you and your family!