3 Easy Ways to Make Healthy Eating a Family Habit

By Grace Derocha, A Healthier Michigan

Kids Food Allergies Program

Photo by Kids Empowered (Creative Commons)

You hear it all the time. “Eat Healthy!” Most people have an idea of what that means; eat breakfast, drink water, watch the fat, eat more fruits and vegetables, keep your portions controlled, eat regularly…the list is endless.

As a dietitian, I know how important it is to share these lessons with kids. Here are 3 easy and proven ideas that will help you influence your kids and family to eat healthier.

1.   Lead by Example

Children are like sponges. They absorb everything that happens around them. So show them how important good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is by leading by example. Make healthy meals a priority, enjoy a variety of foods, eat fruits and vegetables, drink water, dine as a family, exercise, wear your Zamzee, log your exercise and food intake, avoid too much screen time, be kind and smile.

2.   Get Everyone Involved

As you educate yourself towards living a healthier lifestyle, get the whole family involved. Getting your kids invested in the meal planning, grocery shopping and food preparation will keep them focused on wanting to try more healthy food options.

3.   Try, Try Again

It may be cliché but it makes sense. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again. This goes for trying new healthy foods. On average for children (and adults) it takes 20-30 times to try a new food before you acquire a taste for it. So introduce foods in different ways, try cooked vegetables versus raw vegetables or vice versa. If it comes down to it, you might want to consider sneaking in some nutritious foods into everyday favorites and teach your children that eating regularly is important. Healthy snacking is also a good way to introduce kids to nutrient dense food.

Here is an easy heart healthy recipe that the whole family will love:

Slow Cooker Turkey Chili

Ingredients:

1 pound lean ground turkey~ps9E.tmp

1 large onion, chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 green bell pepper, chopped

1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes, no salt added

1 (15-oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce, no salt added

1 (1.25-oz.) package chili seasoning mix

1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Cook first 3 ingredients in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until turkey crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and rinse. Spoon mixture into a 5 1/2-qt. slow cooker; stir in corn and next 7 ingredients, mix thoroughly.
  2. Cook at HIGH 4 to 5 hours or at LOW 6 to 8 hours. Serve and enjoy!

Check out more heart healthy recipes from A Healthier Michigan.

Grace Derocha is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator and health coach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Grace is also the community manager on the social and digital communications team. She blogs regularly for the BCBSM sponsored health and wellness blog – A Healthier Michigan. Mrs. Derocha is a lover of life, a self-proclaimed foodie and enjoys music, dance and workout classes. www.aHealthierMichigan.org

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