The modern lifestyle takes its toll on many families. A lot of parents work from 9 to 5 or even longer hours.
So, most parents have no time to prepare food at home or to have meals with their children.
The stats published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about 20% of schoolchildren in the USA are obese.
However, parents still have their kids’ eating habits in their own hands.
What they need is proper time management with a pinch of pre-planning.
That’s why we’ve put together five takeaways that will help every family put healthy food on the table.
1) Making a weekly meal plan
One of the main reasons why many parents don’t cook today is the lack of time.
In the morning, parents and their children need to dress up for work and school, respectively. Therefore, they can’t prepare lunch for that day. Some families don’t even have breakfast together because every member leaves home at different times.
When they come back home in the late afternoon, everybody’s too tired to cook. So, they just order takeaway food or eat junk food outside.
What you should need instead is make a weekly meal plan at the weekend. The whole family can sit down and take part in this activity. This will give every family member a chance to add their favorite meals or ingredients to the plan.
After putting together this list, you can immediately go shopping to get all the groceries for those meals.
That way, you’ll hit two birds with one stone: you won’t have to waste time buying groceries after work and you’ll have all the materials in your fridge.
Some families even prepare a week stash of dinners at the weekend and store them for the week. You can read more about it in the guide on the Eating Well website.
2) Diversifying the groceries
When you’re preparing the shopping list, make sure to add as many healthy groceries as possible.
You don’t have to listen to new-age nutritional gurus to have healthy meals. Just follow your common sense and some traditional experiences.
Here are some general principles that parents should bear in mind when making their grocery list:
- Get whole-wheat products. When it comes to bread, pastries, pasta, and other products made of flour, get whole-wheat products whenever possible. These items have a lower glycemic index. Hence, they are better sources of energy and they keep the level of blood sugar under control.
- Reduce red meat. Eating too much red meat, such as pork and beef can cause health issues, from increased blood pressure to gastro issues. Healthy family diets should therefore contain more poultry and fish. Still, you can put red meat on your table once a week.
- Prepare veggies in all forms. Vegetables are the main source of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. So, add as many types of veggies to your list and prepare them in various forms. From boiled and grilled vegetables to potage and veggie burgers, preparing vegetables can be fun for the entire family. For instance, put a few zucchinis and veggie burgers on your summer barbecue and you’ll see that your kids are going to love this food.
3) Taking homemade food to work
Now that you’ve made your weekly meal plan of diversified nutrients, it’s time to cook.
Like we’ve already pointed out, some people manage to prepare all their weekly meals at weekends.
Still, families with babies or toddlers will find this almost impossible to do.
What they can do instead is make a deal regarding the cooking responsibilities. For instance, one spouse can cook on the first three days of the week and the other one can do that for the rest of the week.
When possible, they can even cook together – this can be a real time-saver for all family members.
Apart from eating that homemade food at home, parents can even take those meals to work.
That way, they won’t have to wait in line in the company cafeteria and eat suspicious food. As a result, they will save more time. In turn, this half an hour or even more will serve them good to spend more time with the rest of the family.
4) Having a family meal once a day
Food isn’t only a physical and medical phenomenon. Ahealthy diet is an important social element, as well.
If your children eat junk food or unhealthy homemade food, they might have problems with obesity. From there, they can have many other social and psychological issues.
So, raising kids who eat healthy food can have certain social benefits, as well.
For these reasons, it’s important to have a family meal once a day. No matter if it’s breakfast, dinner or a midday meal – more probable to happen at weekends – this daily family gathering will give your family a new value.
As explained by the childcare experts from a UK governess agency, children learn through food, as well. So, eating together is especially useful for families with babies and toddlers. That way, they will learn how to appreciate food from day one.
Apart from that, you will be able to discuss both family matters and events that have happened to every member that very day. If your kids had some problems in school, they will be able to talk about them in a relaxing home atmosphere.
Family meals will give you a chance to discuss the food you’re eating, as well. So, it will be another chance for parents to set an example to their kids by eating healthy but tasty stuff.
Our two cents: switch off the TV during those meals and play some relaxing music.
The final word
Despite the hectic tempo of living, parents shouldn’t neglect their kids’ eating habits.
Proper planning and budgeting are the two main prerequisites for establishing a healthy eating routine for the entire family.
If you cut back on the time you spend on the Internet and get up earlier in the morning, you can save an hour or two every day. So, everyone can find that much time to prepare food for one, two or more day in advance.
We hope that the time management and diet tips from this article will help you eat healthy homemade food.
Also, don’t hesitate to do your homework and introduce some other healthy habits in your diet schedule.
Your children will appreciate your effort and you will feel satisfied with everything you’ve done to ensure a healthy diet.