Making healthy eating choices for your family means eating from a variety of food groups. It also means choosing healthy options over unhealthy, like a piece of fruit over chocolate, but not going so overboard that you’re depriving them of fun treats. Read our healthy eating tips for your family so everyone is fit and happy at the same time.
Regular Meal and Snack Times
Create regular meal and snack times as kids need to eat every 3 to 4 hours for sustaining energy levels. Keeping their tummies full of healthy and digestion friendly snacks keeps tantrums and cranky moods away. Instead of giving them junk food, give healthy but tasty options. Swap your Slantys for apple slices, sweets for French toast (using whole grain bread) or parathas, soda, and high sugar juices for water and milk. Try little veggie sticks with yummy dips for change. Start with small, easy-to-achieve changes, such as offering more fruit and veggies at meals and snacks.
Eat meals together as a family as often as possible. By sitting down without any distractions and sharing your day with each other, food becomes a pleasant, family activity and not something to hurry through. Remove all electronic devices as well such as smartphones and the television. Studies have shown that eating with the television, or with the iPad on, causes you to hurry and over eat instead of savor your food and stop when full.
Less is More
Instead of piling that plate sky high with biryani, do a little research into portion sizes. Remember that young children will eat less than an adult and don’t force feed your child to make yourself feel better. It is up to your child to ultimately decide how much they need to eat to feel full.
Drink Water to Quench Thirst
Cut down or just eliminate all fizzy and high sugar drinks! You may think there are some nutritional benefits to that delicious box of Milo, but any positive effects are drowned out by the sugar and additives. There is nothing better than good ole water to quench your thirst and keep it at hand so your family learns to switch.
Be Role Models
You and your husband/wife are your children’s role models. When they see you eating healthy and exercising, they will mimic their favorite people in the whole world. You have to set the example. Make sure you are ALL getting enough active time and make physical activity a part of your daily life. Limit your children’s screen time to a MAXIMUM of 2 hours a day and use the rest to be outside and playing. We are lucky to live in a country with fantastic weather and plenty of parks so get yourselves outside and play!
Family Grocery Shopping
The next time you head out to buy groceries, take your kids with you! It’s important to involve your child in meal planning and grocery shopping. When they are old enough, you can even teach them about food preparation, cooking, food safety and how to understand the food label. By making food a family decision, they will feel included and more invested in meals. Taking them to the fruit and sabzi wala is an educational experience too. Don’t forget you have the final say, so when they keep trying to sneak in ice cream, say no and make them understand it’s a special treat.
Try and make a weekly cooking date with your family. It’s a great family activity and your kids will love to help out. They will also benefit by using other skills like math and counting when measuring ingredients. This helps everyone learn more about food and what it takes to make a meal.