Friday, September 23, 2016

5 Top Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Family

I am so excited to work with Zoe Clark again, she is here to share her tips on meal planning for a family. Check out her ideas, I know I could use all 5 of these in our daily life. Thanks Zoe! 

5 Top Meal Planning Tips for a Healthy Family

Many families have extremely busy schedules and eating together sometimes just seems impossible. However, gathering around a meal even once a week is important as it benefits both emotional and psychical health of all the family members. These are the times for having memorable talks, as well as for creating healthy eating habits. Preparing a nutritious menu is not so easy, but there are many useful tips and tricks you can use in order to nourish your youngsters with ease. Here are some.

Tip 1. Brainstorm, Plan, Organize

Making plans for the following week is the most practical piece of advice you'll ever get. The only thing you need to get used to is making lists of meals your family likes, together with the list of ingredients. Shop smart and watch for sales so as to help your budget. A good idea is to stock the freezer with different options, as recommended by Janet Helm, MS, RD of Nutrition Unplugged. Various dishes, like pasta, taco, casserole, large roasts can be kept in the freezer and easily used when you don't have much time for cooking.

Tip 2. Schedule All the Meals

  • Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. Ideally, it should include lots of whole grains, fiber, a good deal of protein and perhaps little carbohydrates. The only thing a family needs is setting some time aside to actually eat the healthy breakfast. Waking up a bit earlier might help. Try it out.
  • Preparing lunch can become a fun activity you'll do with your kids, especially on Sundays, when there's plenty of time. Letting them help you gives them a sense of responsibility and control. They become interested in what they eat and can start making more healthy choices if they have a chance to experiment with the ingredients. And that's exactly the moment you longed for.
  • Dinner is perhaps the only meal during the day you can eat as a family. So do it, as often as you can. Families tend to eat more vegetables and fruit as they have control over the quality and quantity of the food.

Tip 3. Organize a Stash with Healthy Snacks

Busy life makes you reach and take whatever comes at your hand when you're hungry. But, you definitely need to have a healthy alternative for all those bags of greasy chips. Making bags of healthy snacks for you and your family is much better option as you can include various nuts, dry fruit, as well as fruit and veggies, like baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, grapes, banana, etc.

Tip 4. Include Interesting New Foods

Changing routines and experimenting with new recipes can be extremely useful and fun. If you have younger kids who don't want to try something new firsthand, you can mix a bite or two of something new with their familiar favorites. When you have more time, prepare at least one familiar and "safe" dish together with the new one. You can use many different kitchen appliances to prepare various kinds of interesting meals, like slow cookers, food processors or blenders. You might also opt for a bigger dishwasher, if your family dinners become more regular.

Tip 5. Motivate Your Family

There are many benefits of eating together. Firstly, you have an opportunity to reconnect with your loved ones. It's an excellent time for making strong family bonds. Children develop sense of responsibility, eating manners and healthier eating habits. What's more, family dinners can be followed by some fun activities, like playing board games, watching films or having a reading club, when you can enjoy time spent together even more.
Regular family meals are ideal moments for carrying on your family values and traditions. A family gathered together develops a sense of identity which is extremely important, as you’ll be able to bring up your children in a healthy and positive atmosphere. So, enjoy preparing, serving and eating your meals as much as you can. It's all for a reason.


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