Good nutrition should be forefront in your mind when planning family meals. That may be easier said than done in the busy lives of your family members. Busy schedules may not allow your family to sit down together for a nutritious healthy meal or, no matter how nutritious the meal, you may have picky eaters who won't eat what you serve. Consider these five simple tips to help you overcome those family eating challenges.
Eye Appeal on the Plate
An appealing plate entices the eater and can add to the fun of the meal. Plan your meals around colorful fruits and vegetables and you have a plate of good nutrition. Wander the produce section of your local grocery store or farmer's market and you will see red, yellow, orange, green, blue and purple fruits and vegetables that are easy to include in your daily meals. Start with blueberries and strawberries with breakfast, carrots for snacks, green salad with vegetables for lunch and finish with your choice of green vegetable for dinner or combine several colorful vegetables in a stir fry. Your children may be more likely to eat their veggies and fruits if they are prepared in a simple, colorful and enticing fashion.
Eat What You Grow
Growing your own fruits and vegetables is a great way to get a variety of nutritious foods into your diet. Those picky eaters will look forward to eating their veggies if they helped plant, water and harvest them. A fun idea is to track in a series of photos how your vegetable garden grows and display those photos in picture frames as a reminder to your family that they helped to put the nutritious food on the table.
Meals, A Family Affair
Another great way to spark children's interest in eating healthier is to include them in the preparing of the meal. Not only will they learn about healthy eating, you will have special family time together. Young children are usually excited to help in the kitchen. They can stir ingredients together or snap green beans, and while they are helping, they may be snacking on nutritious vegetables. Older children can be drawn into the meal planning by taking turns being in charge of the meal. The more family time you have at meal time, the more nutritional information you can pass along to your family, whether they know it or not.
Know Your Food Pyramid
Your children may have learned about the USDA Food Pyramid in school, but are you familiar with it? The Food Pyramid is a handy guide when you are planning meals. It takes the guess work out of how many servings of each food group makes for healthy eating. Get a colorful poster size version of the pyramid and encase it in a picture frame and hang it in your kitchen as a daily reminder of nutritious eating and what you should be doing to maintain your family's health.
Invest in Healthy Cookbooks
There are many health conscious cookbooks on the market today. Healthy eating starts with the ability to plan and prepare healthy meals. When you invest in one or two cookbooks geared toward a healthy lifestyle, you and your family will enjoy looking through the different recipes to find healthy weekly menus everyone will enjoy.
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