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Healthy Eating Tips & Tricks for Both Parents AND Kids
In the midst of the holiday season, it can be incredibly difficult to eat well.
I don’t know about your house, but at ours, we always end up with tons of unhealthy food and treats — and we end up eating junk for days, or even weeks, after the holidays.
This is a time when we can really benefit from some easy healthy eating tips to sneak in a few nutrients wherever we can.
The coming New Year is also a great time to make a healthy eating resolution. Make it your goal to not only eat healthier yourself, but make good, homemade meals to feed the entire family. Even a few small changes can make a difference!
Here are my ten best, effortless healthy eating tips for the entire family, including kids.
Top 10 Healthy Eating Tips for Kids + Parents
Try out as many of these ten healthy eating tips for families with (or without) kids!
1. Balance carbs with protein.
I always try to provide some type of protein with every meal.
With my last pregnancy, I was borderline for gestational diabetes, so I met with a dietitian to discuss how to control my blood sugar with my diet.
Of course, I had to count carbohydrates (and completely eliminate certain types of carbs), but the dietitian’s healthy eating tips included balancing every carb with some protein to help keep my blood sugar from spiking.
And it worked!
Even though I already tended to eat some type of protein with every meal, I learned that I also need to balance the carbs in my snacks with a little protein. This a good idea for non-diabetics as well.
2. Serve whole foods whenever possible.
One of the best ways to eat healthier involves making fewer convenience foods and more homemade meals.
Rather than chicken nuggets for dinner, cook up some chicken breast and season it with some garlic, salt, basil, and olive oil (yum!). Serve it with a side of rice, quinoa, or potatoes and some veggies.
Other ways to incorporate whole foods into your diet include choosing whole grains as well as whole fruits and vegetables.
3. Carry healthy snacks along with you.
Have you ever found yourself suddenly starving when out and about? What did you do — pull a healthy snack out of your purse or buy a candy bar?
It’s all too easy to buy junk food when you aren’t prepared. If I end up being out longer than anticipated and go too long without eating, I suddenly find myself getting shaky and in need of a quick sugar boost.
But if I have something healthy on hand, like a beef stick or trail mix, I will eat as soon as I feel hungry, and that will often hold me over until I get home.
4. Have a side of fruit or vegetables with every meal.
Whole produce (rather than juice or supplements) provides fiber, which is important for our digestive health.
I’ll admit, I occasionally skip the fruit and veggies, but it’s very rare. I always try to provide either a fruit or vegetable — if not both — at every meal and sometimes for snacks.
It was important to me before I had kids but, now that I have a family to cook for, it’s even more important to make sure my growing toddler gets the nutrients she needs.
In fact, sometimes she’ll eat only the produce and won’t touch anything else!
5. “Hide” vegetables in the main dish.
Sometimes you can sneak some veggies into taco meat or even into a fruit smoothie, and the kids will be none the wiser.
This isn’t to say you should hide every single vegetable in the main dish. This healthy eating tip is just a way to sneak in a few extra nutrients without the kids knowing it.
Whole veggies should still be served at every meal so they can get used to the taste and texture of the vegetable on its own as well.
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6. Make cooking fun by doing it together.
It tastes better when you make it yourself, right?
Cook together as a family to encourage healthy eating habits and make mealtime more fun for everyone.
Plus, that’s less work for you! Win-win.
7. Make double batches and freeze.
Sometimes you just don’t feel like cooking. I get it! On these days, it’s easy to pick up fast food or make a frozen pizza.
But what if you had a meal in the freezer, ready and waiting?
Next time you make a meal that would reheat well, double the recipe and freeze half of it in freezer-safe meal prep containers for a lazy day.
8. Prep veggies ahead and freeze.
This is one of my favorite healthy eating tips.
Who wants to spend the time washing and dicing vegetables for every meal? It’s easy to just skip it when you’re in a hurry.
I like to dice onions, mushrooms, or peppers and put them in freezer containers to use later for cooking. It may take a few extra minutes now, but saves me a ton of time later.
9. Don’t deprive yourself or your family.
It’s okay to treat yourselves every now and then. Enjoy a pizza night on the weekend, or have ice cream sundaes as a special treat on occasion.
You can follow all the healthy eating tips in the world but, if you or your family feel deprived, what’s the point?
Eat healthy most of the time, and treat yourselves to something you like that’s not so healthy every once in a while.
10. Plan out your meals.
Meal planning is essential in our house. One of my absolute best healthy eating tips is to plan out your meals ahead of time — that way, you don’t have to try to come up with a meal at the last minute and resort to picking up something from the drive-through.
How can you improve your eating habits in the coming year?
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