By: Sari Davidson-Crevin, founder of BooginHead.com
Let’s face it, us moms are busy and making healthy choices for our families can be time-consuming and overwhelming at times. The New Year brought along new beginnings, but some new beginnings can be tough to stick to without a plan. Not to worry! Below are fantastic strategies that will help families eat healthier throughout 2015 and beyond.
1. Make a meal plan. The reason most families default to eating takeout is because they don’t plan healthy meals. Take time once a week to plan out the week’s family dinners and snacks. If your kids take lunches to school, include those meals in your weekly shopping plan as well. Use a shopping list that includes all of the ingredients required for each meal, then list your meals on a calendar so that you can stay organized. Also do prep work once a week to save time during the week, such as cut ingredients into small pieces so they will cook faster. Make sure to also utilize the Crock Pot, so that dinner can be ready when you walk in the door on late nights without having to cook.
2. Make snack packs. Use snack-sized re-sealable snack pouches to make healthy snacks in advance. You can fill them with almonds, crackers, fresh fruit, or veggies for wholesome goodies any time, any place! Having portion-controlled snacks to grab on the run or throw into daily lunches will save time and help control what your family eats. Also utilize single portion prepackaged foods like string cheese, raisins, or applesauce.
3. Plan healthy on-the-go breakfasts. Make fruit and yogurt smoothies and freeze them in re-sealable food pouches. These frozen smoothies can be made in any flavor you like, such as peanut butter, oats, and raisins; blueberry, pear, and spinach; or strawberry, banana, and sunflower seeds. Fruit smoothies also work great as an after-dinner snack or as part of a lunch pack.
4. Buy in bulk! Eating healthy can be expensive, so shop at a food warehouse and buy in bulk to help keep your budget intact. Buy larger packages of meat to portion out and freeze for future use. Also buy vegetables that can be used in soups, stews, and casseroles. The veggies can be chopped and diced in advance and then frozen until you’re ready to cook with them.
5. Give up processed foods. They are filled with extra sugars, sodium and unhealthy fillers. Adopt the farm-to-table philosophy for feeding your family. Less processing means more nutrient-rich foods, so serve up more fresh and raw foods in your diet for their maximum health benefits!
Living a healthy lifestyle takes intention and effort, but the benefits are well worth it. Your family will have more energy and feel more focused, but they will also stop craving chips and candy bars once they are fully detoxed from all of the extra sugars and processed carbohydrates. This will enable them to ask for more fresh fruits and vegetables for snacks and meals.