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Healthful Eating Tips For Families On The Go

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Many of today’s families are constantly on the go. Therefore, finding time for family style meals that are also healthy can be a difficult task. To assure that families, especially children, eat healthy there are some very simple steps that parents can take. Studies have shown that taking these steps to promote healthful eating habits in children can have long lasting benefits. “Some past studies have suggested that when parents and children regularly connect over dinner, children are less likely to take up habits like smoking and drinking”. (Norton, 2007). To help busy families eat healthier, it is up to parents to lead the way. “Sometimes, this requires parents to act as a united front. This means that one parent can not offer vegetables as a snack and the other parent makes regular trips to the ice cream store. By doing these, the children will often receive mixed messages and will likely make decisions on their own”. (Lair, 2000). Often times the decision they make may not be the best for their health. Therefore, parents who are good role models with their eating habits have a much easier time convincing their children to eat better. If parents are eating vital, wholesome foods like whole grains, beans, fresh vegetables and fruit, and healthy animal products- children will be more likely to follow suit. (Lair, 2000). Children who are introduced to healthy eating habits at an early age have a better chance of eating right when they are adults. America, one of the most obese countries, is partly caused by society being too busy to eat right; therefore, developing time saving techniques is key.

To develop good time saving techniques the best place to start is in the planning. “Preparing meals in advance, making shopping lists, and doing grocery shopping on a specific day can help make cooking more manageable”. (Survival Guide for Working Moms, 2006). Families should plan ahead for meals by creating weekly menus. When planning the menus, remember to keep meals simple. It is best to choose meals that have fewer steps to prepare. In addition, plan meals that are easy to warm up if cooked a day or two in advance. One example of this could be to make an extra large pot of chili then store dinner sized portions in freezer safe containers. This one pot of chili can feed the family for more than one day. On those extra busy days when cooking dinner is almost impossible, simply remove a container of chili from the freezer; thaw, heat, and enjoy. When searching for recipes, it is also helpful to choose meals that are child friendly. Child friendly meals not only provide ingredients that are appealing to children, but they also are usually fast and easy to prepare. This planning step is also an exceptional way to create a shopping list.

While shopping, remember to shop for foods that are time savers. For example, get foods that one can make and serve in a hurry. Stock the kitchen with canned goods and heat-and-eat frozen foods. These foods provide an easy and fast alternative to fast foods because they can be prepared with very little effort. Next, buy foods that are partially prepared. An example of this could be to buy things like cheese that is already grated, precut meats, or bagged mixed salad greens to save time. Often times, these partially prepared foods can cost more; therefore price comparisons or coupon clipping for these items is important. Lastly, buy foods that require no cooking. For example, purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables is a good choice. Stocking the kitchen with things like deli items is another good suggestion. The key is to find ways to save time. A few timesaving steps can help parents prepare an easy family meal is all that is needed to minimize stress over meals.

Many parents are desperately seeking ways to cut corners on time. Time saving tips when it comes to eating healthful is vital to ensure that our children stay healthy. Lack of time often forces parents to make fast food pit stops far too often. This can lead to more obesity especially in children. “In North America, children are becoming obese (defined as being 20 percent or more above desirable weight) or overweight in growing numbers and by earlier ages”. (Readers Digest, 2006). Studies have shown that the lack of time to eat healthy is one of the barriers faced by many people today. One time saving tip is to create fewer visits to the grocery store. One way this can be achieved is by buying groceries in bulk. When groceries are purchased in this way, it creates more time for other activities including the time to eat healthier food choices. This also makes buying a month worth of groceries at one time much easier. Another time saving tip is to prepare more than one day’s meal at a time. In addition, cook all meals only once. This means that if there are picky eaters in the household; do not prepare a separate meal just for them. Rather the solution for this dilemma is simply to set aside a “plain” portion for the picky eaters. The important goal is to save time and to promote the numerous benefits for healthful eating.

There are many benefits of family involvement when it comes to healthy eating. “Studies show that children who sit down to regular shared family meals have more



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