There are as many personal tastes in food as there are members of your household. Worse still, people take their food very seriously and you might worry that your family will be resistant to changes in their eating habits. Fortunately, there are ways you can easily improve your family’s nutrition.
1) You control the food supply line.
Remember that you control the food supply line. You are in charge – you decide which foods to buy and when to serve them. While your children may pester you for junk food, they might lighten up when they hear the next tip.
2) Allow family members to choose what to eat.
Allow the members of your family to look through the refrigerator, freezer and cabinets and choose whatever they want to eat and allow them to control the quantity of their portions. While this might seem extreme at first glance but if you control the supply chain, you know every food choice in your home is a healthy one.
3) Involve family members in meal planning.
Involve your family – especially your children – in meal planning and preparation. Teach decision-making skills by offering specific healthy choices for meals and desserts. Ask your child if she would like a piece of chicken or salmon for dinner and a banana or apple for dessert, for example, rather than simply asking her what she would like to eat.
4) Be a role model by eating healthy.
Be a role model to your family by eating healthy. Show your children that eating breakfast is healthy by eating a nutritious breakfast yourself, for example, and skip the donuts sugary cereals. Eat sweets in moderation and encourage your entire family to do the same.
5) Eat family dinner at the table.
Eat family meals around a table instead of in front of a television. When you stare at the TV, you lose focus on the food you are eating and the people surrounding you. This leads to overeating and missing an opportunity to bond with your family. Encourage mindful eating habits that keep attention focused on food and the people with whom you share it.
6) Work as a team to improve.
Work as a team to improve the nutrition of each member of your family. If one person needs to lose weight or wants to adopt a healthier lifestyle, it helps to have at least one more person work towards that goal too. In fact, research from University of California shows that a child loses one-quarter body mass index (BMI) point for every one point a parent loses. In other words, a family tends to lose weight as a team.
7) Keep healthy snacks within view.
Keep ready-to-eat produce, including bananas, apples and oranges, within plain view. Move unhealthy snacks out of sight, preferable to top shelves where nobody will see them.
8) Remove the saltshaker from the table.
Remove the saltshaker from the table. More than 75 percent of salt in the average American’s diet comes from processed foods, according to the American Heart Association. Do not allow your children to get into the habit of adding even more salt to their food. While you are at it, replace processed foods with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats whenever possible, and avoid adding salty spices, rubs or side dishes.
9) Avoid arguments related to food choices.
Avoid battles over food with your children. Arguing with your kids about food can lead them to feel negatively about making healthy choices regarding nutrition.
10) Avoid meals with large platters on the table.
Avoid family-style meals featuring large platters of food on the table. Instead, encourage each family member to serve up a plate of food in the kitchen and carry it to the table. Putting a little distance between the table and the food discourages unnecessary second helpings.
Contact Revere Health for more information on how to improve your entire family’s nutrition.