Habits: 10 Tips for Eating Healthy Foods

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Habits—We all know that one of the more challenging parts of our job descriptions as mothers and parents is to provide food for our families that is healthy and delicious and at least somewhat convenient (i.e., doesn’t take all day to prepare). This topic is something we’ve discussed frequently here on MomItForward.  For the “non-foodies,” it is perhaps even more of a challenge. One thing is for certain: we all like our food to taste good, we all need at least some of it to be healthy, and none of us have the time to spend all day every day shopping for and preparing food.

During a MomItForward Twitter Girls’ Night Out a couple of weeks ago, sponsored by Hormel Compleats new microwavable meals for kids, Many people on Twitter had many good suggestions for providing delicious and nutritious and convenient meals. As @troypattee described it, it was “intervention for his eating habits.” Here are the top 10 suggestions, some of which you may already know, but some you may not have thought of before:

10 Healthy Eating Tips and Tricks

  1. Shop around the perimeter of your grocery. As @TimeOutMom, store as much as possible. This is usually where the fresher, refrigerated foods such as dairy products, eggs, cheeses, meats, and produce are located.
  2. Buy local. @celiagarcia says, “What’s most important when buying groceries? For me, amount of packaging, don’t buy processed and buy local.” Buying local is indeed becoming more important for those who are environmentally conscious, or aware of their food miles. Check the labels on your fresh fruits and veggies to see if they tell you where they come from.
  3. Watch the serving size. @amanda_ferg says, “I look to see what size the serving is (on the nutritional label of processed foods). They trick you with that. Then I look at calories, fat, fiber, etc.”
  4. Have on hand dried fruit, trail mix, fresh fruits and veggies, granola bars, and lots of water, says @jylmomif, and @peekababy suggests shelled edamame, string cheese, cheddar bunnies, and raisins.
  5. Serve bunches of healthy snacks. From @muffintinmom and @vloky: try serving lots of little bunches of healthy snacks with dips in muffin tins. Check out for ideas on that theme.
  6. Meal plan. Often, eating healthier requires some advanced planning, which may be the hardest thing for many of us to change. This means packing a few minutes into your already busy schedule to make sandwiches instead of picking up burgers or nuggets, or going grocery shopping (torture!) often enough to ensure there’s a consistent supply of fresh stuff on hand.  
  7. Avoid food battles. As far as avoiding food battles with your kids, @amanda_ferg says, Have them help cook. Model good eating behaviors. Don't FORCE food on them.” @handsonaswegrow has a whole series on this subject, written by various experts.
  8.  Increase the nutrtition. To up the nutritional content of the food you and your kids eat without necessarily being the “bad guy,” consider this tweet from @cafesmom, “I add flax to a lot of the foods I prepare. Breads, pasta, breaded chicken bakes... the kids don't know but I do."
  9. Cook healthier. @southwestgirl takes things her family likes and uses healthier cooking methods, like grilling, or roasting/baking potatoes.
  10. Buy healthier versions of the snacks you already like, like @jylmomif’s Garden of Eatin’ chips. Oftentimes, they taste at least as good as, if not better, than their less healthy counterparts.

What are your healthy eating tips and tricks? How do you make sure that your family practices healthy eating habits?

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

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