The family member who does the job of planning well-balanced meals for the family will tell you it is one of the hardest of all household chores. Selecting nutritious meals that are satisfying to all household members is a hard job. Add the varying schedules, different taste buds, and preparation methods; encouraging healthy eating as a family may seem next to impossible.
However, there are several ways to plan and encourage healthy eating for every family member that are cost-effective, nutritious, and delicious. Some of the ways to promote healthy eating for a family are:
Having fruit and veggies ready first
Whether you have cooked a hot breakfast or serving cold cereal, call your family to the table before you’ve finish preparation for fresh fruit before their meal. The same goes for dinner. Call your family to the table for a salad or sliced veggies before serving the entrée. Doing this ensures that they are getting the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Other ways to incorporate more fruit and vegetables are:
- Add sliced berries or banana to cereal.
- Put a cup of fresh sliced fruit in to-go lunches.
- Fill half the dinner plate with vegetables.
- Use a cookie cutter to cut out fun-shaped fruit.
- Make soups with lots of vegetables.
- Make fruit smoothies as a meal replacement.
- Top meals like pizza or burgers with lots of vegetables.
- Wrap sliced deli meats and cheese in lettuce wraps.
- Puree peas and carrots and add to pasta sauce “loaded pasta sauce” and serve over pasta.
- Offer sliced veggies with dip as a movie night snack.
Prepare more meals at home
Eating out is such a convenience, and fast food makes that convenience less of a financial burden. However, preparing meals at home ensures that your family eats a more nutritious meal since fast food has more fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium than fast food. If your family has young children, get fun recipes and fix food encouraged by fast-food restaurants but are healthier.
Some examples of good, home cook food inspired by fast foods are:
- Hot wings – baked in an oven with sauce added at the end.
- French fries or sweet potato fries – cut from whole potatoes and baked.
- Cheeseburgers – made with ground beef and shaped into patties with a slice of cheese added when done.
- Chicken nuggets – sliced chicken breast seasoned and baked.
- French bread pizza – use loaded pasta sauce, cheese, and toppings
- Taco’s – ground beef, chicken, or steak with all the toppings
- Fried chicken – can be prepared traditionally, in an air fryer, or coated and put in the oven.
Meal delivery services
A meal delivery service is a service that sends customers frozen or fresh prepared meals directly to their homes. Meal delivery services have meals for every member of your family. Usually web-based, customers select meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There is something for everyone, even the picky eaters in the family. Meal delivery services prepare traditional meals, pescatarian meals, kids meal delivery, vegetarian meals, vegan meals, and anything in between. The meals are safely delivered and stored for preservation. Most companies provide weekly or bi-weekly.
Allowing each family member feedback on meal planning keeps everyone in the loop and part of your family’s healthy eating plans. That means that the four-year-old who loves hot dogs and beans get to select that for lunch or dinner during the period that hot dogs and beans will be served. A salad or fresh fruit can be served on the side of the hot dogs and beans.
That also means that someone selecting filet mignon must consider the four-year-old and how they will enjoy that meal. Tiny tots may not enjoy filet mignon, so the sides should be nutritious and prepared in ways that youngsters in the family will enjoy.
Family participation in meal planning is a great way to guarantee variety, participation and encourage family members to eat what others enjoy.
Encouraging healthy eating as a family can be done without a lot of fanfare. Some tips to make it smooth are to have fruit and veggies first, cooking at home, considering a meal delivery service, and family participation.