Up Your Food Game
for the Whole Family’s Sake
Author: Kristin Louis
It’s not just about keeping trim. If you don’t eat healthy, you risk the following: fatigue, decreased concentration, memory loss, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and premature death. That should be enough to scare you, especially if you’re in charge of what the kids are eating.
Now look on the bright side: Getting enough nutrients gives them energy as well as a strong heart, sharper brain, less stress and a longer life. Feel better now? That’s great because it’s time to get down to action. Here’s what you need to do to tap into the benefits of nutrition.
Research the Basics
You can’t eat healthy unless you know what’s healthy, and that’s not easy when the media are packed with dieting fads and rumors of the latest superfood. Luckily, a nutritionist has narrowed it down to 10 rules and shared them with readers of the One Medical blog. They include loading up on vegetables and not starving yourself, as that only comes back to bite you.
Hit the Farmers Market
There aren’t many places better than the farmer’s market to find the nutritious ingredients you’re looking for. Produce, meats, dairy, and bread that are locally grown, raised, harvested, and made are better for you. They contain less of the bad stuff, like pesticides and hormones, but that’s not the only advantage. Buying locally will allow you to eat your food when it the absolute freshest, ensuring it has the most possible nutrients and benefits for your body. Supermarket foods that are picked, preserved, and shipped just can’t make that claim.
Not filling your basket with sweets and snacks can be tough, but there are some tactics to adopt to ensure only the good stuff comes home with you. First, have a bite to eat to avoid temptation, and then arm yourself with a list and the discipline to follow it. If you are having trouble finding all the items you’re looking for at the farmer’s market, but you still want to shop local, consider a co-op service. These organizations source a variety of ingredients from local farmers and deliver it to your door. Not only do you get a wider variety of the wholesome foods you want, it’s more convenient too!
These contain helpful bacterial that improve the absorption of nutrients and give the immune system a boost. They include fermented foods such as sauerkraut, pickles and yoghurt along with apple cider vinegar and kombucha. You’ll also need plenty of prebiotic, which differs from probiotics in that it’s fermented in the large intestine but has the same positive effects on your gut. Garlic, onion and soybeans are all good sources.
Improve Your Cooking
Did you know that you can make decadent, creamy sauces without all the fat? All it takes is mixing low-fat milk with some flour, which makes for a great fettuccine alfredo, and that’s just one of the tips from EatingWell that help you live it up without regretting it. You may also want to replace salt with a combination of lemon and chopped herbs.
Get the Kids Involved
It’d be a shame not to pass down those techniques and others you’ve learned in the kitchen, and the only way to do that is putting the little ones to work. Don’t worry; they take easy to imitating adults, and there’s plenty for them to do beginning at the tender age of 2. To boot, dinner will be ready in no time with all hands on deck.
According to an article in Time magazine, families that gather for dinner are healthier. Kids benefit the most as they pack in more fruits, vegetables, fiber, calcium and vitamins when their parents are at the table, while giving a pass to junk food. However, it provides a forum for everyone to interact and that means a more supportive social environment overall.
Grow a Garden
If you really want to kick healthy eating into high gear, this is the way to go. After all, you can’t say “no” to vegetables you’ve grown yourself, so into the salad they go. Meanwhile, the kids get an important lesson on the life cycle of plants and the importance of sunlight, water and healthy soil to your well-being.
Once these become ingrained in your everyday life, you won’t even have think about eating healthy. It’ll be the norm. Best yet, your children will grow up and pass on the lessons they’ve learned to your grandchildren.