Do you want to eat healthier for the whole family? Does your kids look forward to coming home from school and eating a wholesome meal? Then it’s time for you to get serious about how you prepare home-cooked meals. Not only will you be teaching them to prepare healthy and delicious meals, you’ll also be instilling healthy behaviors into their little minds.
Let’s face it: cooking is time-consuming. Kids don’t have the patience or (wants) the interest to patiently listen to you prepare a meal. They want something that’s fast and easy (which they probably won’t get if you use pre-packaged meals as your guide). So it makes sense that they’ll resist your attempts to make things quicker. You may even find yourself getting frustrated by their resistance. When this happens, you just add more time and energy into the mix.
But resist you urge! You don’t have to cook time-consuming meals for the whole family every day. But there are ways to make meal preparation less complicated. For instance, did you know that you can teach your kids to prepare healthy meals on their own? By using simple step-by-step plans, you can save time, money, and aggravation – especially when the family is large. Here are some time-consuming activities you can use to instill healthy eating habits into your kids:
Cook at home. Cook at home means preparing foods in a kitchen that can be eaten by the whole family – even if they’re not part of the meal planning group. Buy prepackaged foods instead of pre-packaged meals. Use your creativity to determine which ingredients your kids will like. You can use different flavors for different meals, or have one main flavor, and prepackaged foods are much easier to prepare in bulk than a traditional meal.
Pick healthy ingredients. Choose ingredients that are healthy but are also nutritious. This way, you’ll be helping your whole family get started eating healthy on a budget, which means eating healthy on a budget means paying less for food and more for quality. Whole grain foods, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread and pasta; low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat ice cream and skim milk; fresh fruits, such as apples and oranges; and vegetables, such as tomatoes and spinach are all excellent choices for your family meal.
Prepare ahead of time. Don’t let yourself get boxed in by the word “filler” in your family’s name. There are whole foods that are just as tasty and healthy as traditional “meal” ingredients. Prepackaged foods take time to prepare, and can end up being more expensive in the long run. For instance, frozen fish is more expensive per pound than canned tuna or chicken, but takes less time to prepare and eat, and is an excellent choice for the whole family. So while the can is definitely an economical and time-consuming option, keep your kids’ entrees simple and they’ll be happy and excited to eat them, without the expense.
Have healthy treats every once in a while. You probably realize that buying good-quality food at a discount or a reduced price can be a wise financial move for your family. So stock up on fresh fruits and veggies when you go to the grocery store, and stock up on low fat snacks and chips (especially if you frequently entertain guests). These simple snacks add variety to your whole family meal times, and they’re so much healthier and better for you than the snack choices that you might find at your local store.
Finally, avoid unhealthy foods whenever possible. This doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily have to completely give up favorite foods, or that you will have to deprive yourself of all carbohydrates and fats. It’s just a reminder that it’s important to periodically evaluate what you’re feeding your family, and make sure you’re still getting all the vitamins and nutrients your kids need. You might also want to think about introducing your kids to healthier foods before they become too old to learn to read food labels themselves. This way, they’ll be eating healthier for the whole family long before they hit middle age!
Negou Seid is a Software Engineer, Business owner and loves writing useful blogs.