Quick Tips for Healthy Eating

Cheryl Metheny

Getting your family to eat healthy isn't easy – but it may not be as hard as you might think. Start slow, identify small changes you can easily accomplish and build on your success.
  • Start everyday with breakfast! Make it enjoyable. If your family does not like typical breakfast food, it IS ok to serve something else.
  • PLAN AHEAD. If you don't have time see if you can find time by getting up a few minutes earlier or reducing morning crunch time by picking out clothes the night before, making sure all homework and necessary papers are in the backpack before students go to bed, gathering all items for lunch – put those that do not need to be refrigerated in the lunch bag and the others on the same shelf for easy access, preparation and packing in the morning.
  • Plan your snacks. Portion whole grain cereal into individual containers with dry fruit and/or nuts for a quick treat, or to pair with low-fat yogurt. Keep fruit and vegetables that are ready to eat or require very little preparation in your line of vision. If you must have chips, cookies, or other high fat, high salt, high sugar snacks around – move them to a cabinet where they are not as easily to see. Maybe you have heard the saying "Out of sight – Out of mind?"
  • Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables at each meal. You might not want vegetables at breakfast, but if you include a variety of foods at each meal and snack you should maintain a healthy intake of most vitamins and minerals.
  • Set limits. It is ok to have chips or sweets, but not every day – maybe not even every week. Each family must decide how often, and when these items will be served. Food should not be used as a reward, but there is not anything wrong with having chips with your raw vegetables and low-fat dip as the snack during family game night.
  • Drink water! Cool, refreshing, no calories! Offer water or low-fat milk with meals or snacks.
  • Set a good example. Be a good role model at family meals by trying new foods, eating healthy choices, limiting foods high in fat, salt, or sugar while including a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.