What’s your vision of the perfect family meal? Maybe it’s having dinner on the table by five o’clock a few times a week. Maybe it’s hoping for the entire family to be seated at the dinner table at least once a week despite conflicting schedules. Or maybe it’s that your kids will actually enjoy a healthy meal without complaining.
Creating a healthy meal may seem like a challenge. And that’s okay—there isn’t one perfect way for families to eat healthfully. All families are different, and eating styles reflect those differences.
A recent MyFitnessPal blog post highlights suggestions from IFIC Foundation staff on tips to make healthy eating attainable for the entire family.
Make Sit-Down Meals a Priority
Try to sit down for a family meal most days of the week. If you can’t swing dinner, try breakfast or prioritize meals during the weekend. These occasions are a chance for family bonding and can serve as a teaching moment for establishing healthy habits.
Offer Only One Option
If you have picky eaters in your family, you may be tempted to make different dishes to please everyone. Try your best not to fall into this habit. Instead, make only one main dish per meal.
Make Your Kid Your Sous-Chef
Encourage your kids to give you a hand in the kitchen. Lightening your workload isn’t the only upside to inviting them to join you in meal prep—when they’re invested in the preparation process, they’ll be more willing to accept new foods. Yes, even veggies!
Choose one day of the week for meal planning and commit to spending a few hours planning, buying and preparing a few meals. Have your kids help you through the whole process, from grocery shopping to meal prepping and all the way through to storing leftovers.
Be the Example
What’s the best way to get your family to eat something new? Show them that you eat it too— and you enjoy it! Kids are more likely to try new foods or foods that they think are “yucky” if they see their parents and siblings enjoying them. Avoid expressing dislike in front of your kids when trying new foods. After all, young family members are impressionable.
By committing to even one of these simple solutions, you have the opportunity to lead your family toward adopting healthier eating habits. Although hectic schedules may make it seem daunting, following these tips can encourage family bonding and may even inspire your kids to enjoy healthy meals.