We are well into the start of 2016.
For those of you who made the commitment to feed your family better in the new year, I’m wondering: How are you doing? Is it starting to get difficult? Many new years resolutions begin to fade by the end of January.
If you have chosen to improve the eating habits of your family this year, then know that there is hope to meet this resolution (even if you’ve been thinking of giving up)! Eating healthy can be difficult for many people, especially since there are so many pre-made food items ready and available. Let’s face it, they’re easy and take less work! But what’s the trade off in relation to health and nutrition?
About 3 years ago, our family was forced to make some rather drastic changes to the way we were eating. My husband and our two boys were both diagnosed with various food allergies; and in the blink of an eye, what I was used to preparing for meals had to change. The New Year’s resolution of eating healthier was no longer something we tried for a few weeks and gave up—it became our reality. Over the past 3 years we have had many meal successes and failures, and have tried various tips and tricks to eat healthier and keep allergen-filled foods out of our diet.
Whether you have chosen to improve your family’s eating habits because you want to be healthier, or you are required to make changes due to medical conditions or difficulties, I want to share with you a few simple tips that have been the most helpful for our family:
- When you are grocery shopping, go around the edges of the store. By doing this you can fill your cart with more healthy fruits, veggies, and meats—and less pre-packaged food that is filled with chemical dyes and preservatives. Your cart will be far more colorful by the end of your shopping trip with all of those fresh fruits and vegetables!
- If your family has some preferred pre-packed lunch or snack items, look online for recipes to make them at home. My boys absolutely love granola bars, but the ones you find in the store are not always as nutritious as they could be. We have made it part of our routine on the weekend to make a batch of homemade granola bars that will last us during the school week. Not only are these bars made with natural ingredients that we can see and touch, but they also provide an opportunity for our family to have fun together doing something productive.
- Plan your meals for the next week over the weekend, and have the ingredients on hand. Take time on a Sunday afternoon to sit down as a family and ask, “What sounds good for dinner this coming week?” It can be a lot of fun to find recipes together. Once you have your menu planned, go purchase everything you need. You will be more likely to actually make the recipe you had planned if you have these items on hand, rather than trying to fit a shopping trip in while on your way home from work. I really enjoy using a chalkboard in our kitchen to list our menu for the week—it’s a great accountability strategy!
I hope that these simple tricks make mealtime just a little easier for you as you continue on your quest to feed your family in a healthier way this year. Let’s keep those healthy resolutions moving forward all through the year!
This post was written by Courtney Kowalczyk, MS – Limited Licensed Psychologist at Horizons Developmental Resource Center