How’s your family’s eating plan? Healthy.. not so healthy? Do you simply resort to convenient or “fast” food because you simply don’t know how to prep healthy foods without spending an eternity in the kitchen?
As promotion of healthy eating becomes more mainstream, a growing number of people – especially health-conscious moms – are trying to adopt a healthier diet for themselves and the whole family. But oftentimes they don’t know what to eat or where to begin. Eating healthy doesn’t have to allude you. It can be as easy and simple as including more real foods – those that are as close to their natural forms as possible – into everyday meals.
Healthy, clean eating starts with choosing the right ingredients, those that are rich in nutrients to fuel your body for optimal health. Then using those ingredients to build a balanced plate at every meal.
These guidelines can be used whether you’re cooking just for yourself or making larger meals to feed an entire family. Healthy eating comes down to a mindful awareness of your nutritional needs, and eating foods to satisfy those needs with minimally processed ingredients that are good for you and your family.
To make it even simpler, you can think of it in terms of a balanced plate including three categories of foods to build healthy meals. These categories are vegetables, protein, and whole grains. Having these at every meal will give you the food you and your family need to ensure a healthy lifestyle for the whole family.
Step 1: Vegetables – Start off by filling half (or more!) of your plate with veggies.
Despite what you (or the kids) might think, veggies don’t have to be boring. Choose from local, seasonal veggies to ensure that you have the freshest ingredients with nutrient-density at their peak.
Vegetables like peas and sweet potatoes (the starchier kind of vegetable) give you a natural source of energy and can help you to keep going all day. Added benefit: they help promote healthy weight maintenance. And vegetables like kale and brussel sprouts are full of phytonutrients, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
Step 2: Protein – Fill one quarter of your plate with clean protein.
When choosing protein it’s important to look for high quality options such as grass-fed beef, organic chicken, and wild caught salmon. Protein helps promote your immune system and build strong muscle which helps maintain a healthy metabolism.
Step 3: Whole Grains – Fill the remaining quarter of your plate with whole grains.
Adding healthy, whole grains to your family’s balanced plate is the final step to round out a healthy meal for the whole family. But beware. Many foods labeled as “whole grains” aren’t really whole or healthy. What you’re looking for are foods like amaranth, kamut, spelt, millet, barley, teff, quinoa, buckwheat, bulgar, oats, brown rice, and wild rice to name a few. These add fiber while promoting digestive health for proper absorption of nutrients.