Ways to get your family eating healthy foods
Preparing healthy meals for the family is a wonderful way for a mother (or any caregiver) to promote their family’s well-being. Janet Nsokwa, a mother of five gives some tips to help in the process:
Plan ahead: Take some time to plan meals for the week. Consider your family’s dietary preferences, nutritional needs, and any specific dietary restrictions or allergies. Planning ahead allows you to create a balanced and varied menu.
Include a variety of food groups: Aim to include foods from all major food groups in your meals. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Each food group offers unique nutrients necessary for optimal health.
Cook from scratch: Whenever possible, cook meals from scratch using fresh ingredients. This allows you to control the quality and quantity of ingredients and avoid added preservatives, unhealthy fats, and excessive sodium or sugar often found in processed foods.
Portion control: Pay attention to portion sizes to ensure your family is receiving appropriate amounts of food. Using smaller plates and bowls can help control portion sizes. Remember, it’s better to serve smaller portions and offer seconds if needed.
Limit added sugars and unhealthy fats: Be mindful of added sugars in processed foods and beverages, as excessive consumption can contribute to various health issues. Opt for healthier alternatives such as natural sweeteners like honey or fruits. Similarly, choose healthy fats like olive oil, avocados, and nuts over saturated and trans fats.
Involve your family: Engage your family in the meal planning and preparation process. Encourage them to share their preferences, help with grocery shopping, and participate in cooking. This not only eases the workload but also encourages everyone to develop healthier eating habits.
Make it colourful and appealing: Create visually appealing meals by incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables. The vibrant hues make meals more enticing and indicate a diverse range of nutrients. Experiment with different cooking methods, seasonings, and spices to enhance flavors and make meals even more enjoyable.
Batch cooking and meal prepping: Consider preparing larger quantities of food and utilize batch cooking and meal prepping techniques. This allows you to save time during busy weekdays and ensures that nutritious meals are readily available.
Keep healthy snacks available: Stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy snacks such as cut-up fruits, vegetables, yogurt, nuts, and whole-grain crackers. Having nutritious options readily available can help prevent unhealthy snacking.
Be a role model: Lead by example and maintain a positive attitude toward healthy eating. When children observe their parents or caregivers enjoying and appreciating nutritious meals, they are more likely to follow suit.
Remember, healthy eating is a journey, and small steps can make a big difference. It’s about finding a balance and making sustainable choices that work for your family’s lifestyle.