We consume a lot of calories at home. Unfortunately, home has become the place for fast food and snack food convenience. While not ideal, home is where we grab the candy bar or bag of chips and sit in front of the television. Home is where we sit down to eat after stopping at the drive-thru. But it doesn’t have to be. The steps below will give you specific actions that you can take to turn your home into a healthy environment for your entire family.
Make Real Food Easy
Healthy foods should be the easy snacking options around the house. We grab for chips or cookies because chips and cookies are there. If fruit is sitting in a bowl on the counter, we would grab for that instead.
Real foods should also be the easy meal options around the house. This takes planning. We often stop at the drive-thru for a quick dinner instead of going to the grocery store to pick up food to prepare. Make your trips to the grocery store last for the week. Plan out the meals you will eat every night so that the quick fast food stop is not even a temptation.
Are the snacks at your child’s school smart snacks? The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated nutrition standards for snacks and drinks served throughout the school building, in vending machines, school stores, snack carts and a la carte lines. This means we must all work together to help all our schools meet these new guidelines.
Our Smart Snacks Calculator takes the guesswork out of determining if the snack, side or entrée item being served in school meets the new guidelines. Simply enter the product information and answer a few questions. You’ll get an immediate answer if your product is approved or not.
Set Food Rules
Decide which junk foods you simply do not want in the house and make a rule to keep them out.
- No non-nutrient snacks in the house
- Our house is a “no fry zone”
- No sugar-sweetened drinks in the house
- Only whole foods in the refrigerator
- Half of our grain servings will be whole-grains
- Whole-grains will be the first ingredient on the nutrition label
Create Healthy Traditions
Show respect to any traditional meals prepared for your family, and show respect to your family by making those meals good for their health. Infuse your traditional dishes with fresh produce and spices and consider growing all the veggies and herbs you need in a family garden.
Some of our favorite meals often include meat. By replacing fatty meats with lean meat and grilling instead of frying you can quickly cut down the calories of your family’s favorites.
In Your Own Backyard
Introduce your family to the idea of farm-to-table foods, or better yet, family-garden-to-family-table foods. Your family will have a stronger connection to the healthy foods they eat when they feel a sense of ownership over the fruits and vegetables they’ve helped plant, watched grow, and prepared for their meals.
Growing your own fruits and vegetables will keep your family attuned to what’s fresh and what’s out of season. The vibrant colors and flavors of your seasonal produce can encourage you to try new recipes and healthy recreations of old recipes.