Did you know that a good diet reflects not only your health but also your looks, skin, energy, and even your mood? That’s why so many people nowadays are making big changes to their diets. When it comes to the family diet, especially if you have kids, it is important to start with healthy habits early on. Here are some of the tips that will make cooking for families easier and more fun.
1. Planning is the key
Sometimes it can be hard to prepare a meal for one or two people, let alone for the entire family. You have to think about individual tastes, and we all know that kids can be really picky. For that reason, meal planning is a great idea. Surely there will be times when you don’t know what to cook and you just prepare the first thing you find in the fridge, but try to minimize those moments. You can make a list of meals your family likes; you can even have a certain meal for a certain day in the week. If your family gets bored by a certain meal, switch it up, you got tons of recipes online you can choose from.
2. Involve kids
This can be tricky, but it is really useful and fun. Now don’t let your kids make a mess in your kitchen when you are in a hurry and you want to prepare something fast. Choose a day when you don’t work. That should be a day when you experiment and prepare something that your kids usually wouldn’t eat because it is more likely that they would want to try it due to the fact that they participated in making the dish. Sometimes it is the hardest to make them try the food, especially when they are younger. This can not only be useful, but also fun, and bonding family time that can become a tradition.
3. Five meals
This is closely related to meal planning. We know that is very hard to eat on the schedule, but you should at least try to eat regularly, at the same time every day. That means that you should incorporate three main meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner, and have a snack in-between. That leaves you with five meals each day, which should be small to medium portions. The main problem will be to get everyone together, but try to find the time that fits everyone. For example organize breakfast in the early morning, launch when work time or school is over and dinner around 6 or 7 pm. Keep it strict, and avoid eating out unless it’s really unavoidable.
Now let’s take some time to think about the perfect snack. You probably assume it is a fruit, and you are right. It is healthy and low in calories. It will give you energy because it contains natural sugars and you won’t get satiated, so you will be hungry when it is time for lunch. You don’t need to prepare it in any way, just wash it and it is ready to be eaten. However, when it comes to kids, you have to use your creativity. Make a fruit salad or something even more interesting. Keep in mind that it is important for fruit or any other snack to be eaten at once, otherwise, you might cause an imbalance in your digestion.
5. Local and in-season products
As with cooking, you can also plan when it comes to buying groceries. It can be chaotic when you go to the grocery store with your kids, and that’s why you should decide what to buy in advance so you can be quicker and more efficient. Buy groceries from local stores and farmer’s markets, where you know that they are fresh and grown naturally. If you have time and place you can grow your own fruits and vegetables. There is nothing better than having your own garden. Kids will love taking care of it and they are more likely to eat fruit or vegetables when they pick them on their own. As we all know, it is better to eat fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables than to buy them out of season.
6. Freezing food
Most of us make too much food and we don’t know what to do with the leftovers so we throw it away, but many don’t know that you can freeze healthy food without any loss of benefits. Of course, it is better to eat it when it is fresh, but it is hard to determine the quantity when you cook for the whole family. There are special bags and containers for freezing food, or if you don’t want to buy them you can freeze them in regular zip bags, however, make sure you get as much air out as you can. Also, keep in mind that different foods react differently to freezing, so don’t expect it to taste as good as it did when it was just cooked.
7. New ingredients
It is a good idea to add some new ingredients to your everyday diet. But new ingredients come with new tastes, which we are not accustomed to. You should incorporate some of your favorite foods with the new ones, especially if you want your kids to try something new. For example, if you want them to try a new fruit, make a fruit salad, and mix fruits that you already know your kids love with the fruit you want them to try. Start with small quantities, and then slowly increase it and adapt it to their taste. It might be hard at the beginning, but with time, your kids will be eager to try something new.
8. Herbs and spices
If you cook, you know how much difference herbs and spices can make. First of all, they can be really healthy, like peppermint, cinnamon, basil, cayenne pepper, or turmeric which has many health benefits. Second, they can make a dish completely different, compared to the unseasoned version. Also, most of them have a specific and pleasant smell, and if you didn’t know your sense of smell increases your sense of taste. You can grow your own herbs in small pots somewhere in the kitchen or balcony. You will have a nice decoration and also a source of fresh herbs. They are usually very easy to grow, and it’s something your kids can take care of.
9. More boiling and steaming
It is not only important what you prepare but how you prepare it. We often ruin healthy vegetables or meat and by preparing it in an unhealthy way. That’s why we should boil and steam food as much as possible, of course, if it can’t be eaten raw. That is the healthiest way to prepare food; you just add water and some spices, and usually, it is enough to boil the food for a few minutes to get it done. There are different techniques and recipes, so make sure you do proper research. For example, there are special pots that can be used without any oils, and that is surely a smart investment that would benefit the whole family.
Smoothies are slowly becoming indispensable in the nutrition of every individual. They are easy to make and very healthy. Smoothies are also a great way to trick your kids into eating something they usually wouldn’t eat. You just blend everything together, so they wouldn’t know that you snuck in something extra. They are colorful and tasty, so your kids can drink them instead of juice. You can also drink it on the way to work or school. They are very nutritious, and they can replace breakfast. Also, they are good for hydration and energizing, but most importantly combinations and ingredients for smoothies are endless. Besides all that, smoothies are a great way to introduce a healthy diet to your family.
11. Healthy choices
In the end, when you cook for yourself or for the entire family it is important to always choose the healthier option. Instead of giving your kids sweets and candy, give them fruit or make them a smoothie or a fruit salad. When you make food have fun with it, add not only special spices but make sure that you add some colorful vegetables. Kids love when food looks nice. Have in mind that there is a replacement for everything. For instance, you can replace snacks with nuts and almonds. If you decide to eat out, don’t go to a fast-food restaurant, there are plenty of places that offer healthy food and are perfect for a family gathering.