This is a sponsored guest post.
Getting your whole family to eat healthier is a challenge many families face today, especially with fast food restaurants and convenience stores on every corner. And kids are force-fed junk food commercials a thousand times a day on TV and the internet. But there are also a lot of things you can do to foster a nutritional mindset in your home. For instance, you might choose Berkey water filter to provide safe, clean drinking water in your home. You can also stock your pantry with healthier options and replace packages of cookies on the kitchen counter with fresh fruit instead.
But home-cooked meals are really where your family will receive most of their daily nutritional needs. So here are some ideas to help you form new, healthy eating habits with your family.
1. Let Your Kids Take the Lead While Grocery Shopping
Let your kids do the meal planning and shopping – like this mom did with her 5-year-old. Allot plenty of time, be patient and let them take the lead. Guide younger kids to healthier sections of the store (like the produce section rather than the boxed/packaged processed food aisle), and then let them pick anything that looks interesting. Encourage curiosity. Be willing to experiment and try new fruits, veggies and recipes together.
Treat this like a fun family outing and not just a quick trip to the grocery store. Shopping trips with little ones will take two or three times longer than usual, so maybe just have them plan a single meal their first time out.
Young kids will absolutely love it. Some teens may take a bit longer to warm up to it, so don’t expect them to go all-in on your first trip. Eventually, they’ll realize that Mom and Dad aren’t just going through a “health nut phase” and will start giving some input when choosing whole foods to eat.
2. Prepare Your Meals Together
It might not always be possible to get all your family members together to prepare every single meal together due to conflicting school, work and social schedules. But do the best you can to get each member of the family to participate at least some days of the week.
When the whole family contributes to the process, it brings everyone together and creates a greater sense of unity and responsibility.
3. Eat Meals Together as a Family
Also, it’s okay to let your kids make some “bad” food choices too when shopping.
Starting up a non-judgmental conversation during family dinner time about snacking on junk food is easy – especially while you’re snacking on junk food like frozen pizzas or whatever they chose. Let yourselves enjoy it, but also discuss pros and cons along with concepts like moderation. Then come up with healthier alternatives for next time.
Don’t try to force perfection, but allow this to be a learning and growing process that you and your children experience together.
4. Encourage Conversations About Healthy Eating
You don’t necessarily need to have formal “family meetings” where you have awkward discussions and lectures about the healthy nutritional changes you’re trying to make in your home. Instead, just incorporate these mini conversations into your daily interactions that involve the foods themselves.
For instance, once you get your kids involved in grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking and eating meals together at the dining table – you’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about healthy lifestyle. What better time to discuss healthy food choices than during these times? It’ll just come naturally.
5. Engineer Your Environment to Align With Your Goals
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, invest in health-conscious appliances like water filters or replace packaged snacks with fresh fruit in conspicuous places. Simple environmental changes like these can improve your family’s eating and drinking habits with little ongoing effort.
But what else can you do to create an environment in your home that automatically encourages healthy eating habits? Here are a few more ideas:
– Dump or donate unhealthy snack foods
– Stock the pantry with organic, low-sodium and low-sugar food options
– Fill the fridge with whole foods from the produce, meat and dairy sections
– Keep the dining room table clear of clutter so eating together isn’t a chore
– Meal prep large batches of food and divide into microwavable containers for the week
Eating healthy as a family is a lot easier when everyone is on the same page and contributing. But this won’t happen overnight. Take baby steps. Expect mistakes. But keep trying and be sure to involve everyone in making those decisions rather than just telling them what to eat.