When you’re a mom, you’re definitely always trying to put your family first. From their happiness to their health, every decision you make is always in their best interest. But sometimes, those decisions can heavily conflict. And then what? How are you supposed to make a decision for the best? This is often how your thoughts can go when it comes to food. Because food generally fits in both camps. On one hand, it’s something we need for fuel. It keeps up healthy and gives us energy. But at the same time, it tastes good and often makes us happy.
So you can often find yourself at a catch 22. You want to cook your family all of their favorite foods and make sure that they’re full of nutrients and able to eat well. But you still want to make sure that they’re being healthy too. It can be a hard crossroads to find yourself at. Throw in picky eaters, allergies, and eating disorders and that idea can seem so much worse. But you can get through it. And you will. How? By choosing to focus on the right foods. Combining what they need and what they want, here are ten ways to help you fill your family with the right foods.
Always Cook From Scratch
Rule number one, you’re going to want to always cook from scratch. If you’re the kind of mama that does this without fail, then you’re definitely on the right track. When you buy premade, it might seem so much easier, but in reality, it’s so much worse for your kids. Even if you think that you’re doing right by then by choosing healthy options, you have no idea what’s actually in the food that you’re buying. But when you make it from scratch yourself, you know everything that goes into each dish!
Avoid Refined Sugars
Next up, you should try to do what you can to stay away from refined sugars altogether. This can be a lot harder to do in reality, but it’s something that is good for your family. So try to stick to it if you can. Here’s a list of foods that are classed as refined carbohydrates. If you’re not sure what constitutes as refined sugar, check back in with that list to make sure. Again, this kind of ties in with the cooking from scratch idea, because many store-bought items are laden with sugar which can be really bad for your family’s health.
Focus On Whole Foods
Instead, you should really be focusing on eating whole foods. Feeding your family with whole grains is much better for them. Not only will you then be making sure that they’re staying away from too much sugar, but whole foods are generally better for your body and can help to keep your health on track too.
Try Take Out Substitutes
Maybe your family is a sucker for a good take out? If that’s the case, don’t feel bad, because all of us are! But, many fake out dishes are high in fat, sugar, and salt, and when combined, can be really bad for your body. So why not think about making them yourself instead? You can make a lot of fast food favorites at home that taste just as good as the originals. Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and Kung Pao Chicken are just two of the dishes you could try from that list. Yum!
Find A Balance
One of the best approaches to take with this is finding a balance. You shouldn’t just change everyone’s diets and hope it will last. Instead, you need to balance out what they want with what you know they need. Opt for some healthy meals and some more indulgent. At first, you could go for half and half, then slowly going in with more healthier meals and reducing the amount of indulgences they have.
Rotate Your Meal Plans
Next up, you need to think about the way you can keep it interesting. If you’ve decided to follow a meal plan such as the Cruise Control Diet then you may find that everyone gets bored after so many weeks of sticking to the same thing. So switch them up. Move between different meal planning regimes every few weeks or months, just to keep things interesting – but also to see what works best for your family.
Let Them Choose
What about letting them choose their own meals? Now, not just from thin air, but from a list that you provide. If you’ve come up with a roster of healthy recipes, there’s not reason not to let each member of the family take turns to pick the meal. That way, you get the family more involved in the process and you can help picky eaters to choose something they actually want to eat.
If you’re a big dessert family, then you might want to think about limiting the amount you have from week to week. Because if you have a dessert every night after dinner, you’ll probably find that you’re eating too much sugar – even when you’re cutting back. So limit them. Only have dessert so many times per week, and that should help you to find a good balance.
Don’t Use Food As A Reward
When your kids act up, it’s so easy to use food as a reward. If you know that they like dessert or a certain snack, holding it back could get them to behave. But resist temptation. Using food as a reward is a bad idea. I can encourage unhealthy eating habits, picky eating, fear foods, and even distort their relationship with food!
Try Portion Control
Finally, you should also start to think about using portion control a little more. By preparing meals with the right amounts of protein, vegetables, and carbohydrates, you’ll be sure to feed them the foods they need, and make sure that they’re not overeating in any way. It’s a great and simple way to promote healthier eating for your family.