Are you thinking about ways to improve your lifestyle and your health? Most people believe that to eat healthy, you have to change all your eating habits overnight. It’s not true. Eating healthy doesn’t mean giving up your favorite foods forever. And the changes you do need to make don’t have to happen all at once. In fact, if you make the changes gradually, you’re more likely to stick to them. Suddenly switching your eating habits can lead to failure and frustration. Good nutrition doesn’t have to be all or nothing. So start by taking small steps and ease yourself into it. You’re more likely to succeed.
Healthy Eating - Eat a Rainbow
Different colored fruits and vegetables provide you with the vitamins and minerals that you need to stay healthy. Eating a variety of colors helps you to get more of the nutrients, essential vitamins, minerals and fiber that keeps you healthy and may reduce your risk for chronic diseases, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Lower risk of some cancers
Strong bones and teeth
Spinach, Lettuce, Green peas, Green beans, Broccoli, Cabbage, Bok Choy, Artichokes, Zucchini, Cucumbers, Asparagus, Kale, Cauliflower, Watercress, Kiwi, Honeydew melon, Green grapes, Green apples, Limes, Avocadoes
Healthy Eating - 30 Ways to Add Fruits and Vegetables to Your Daily Meals
Add strawberries, blueberries, or bananas to your waffles, pancakes, cereal, oatmeal or toast.
Have fruit as a mid-morning snack.
Stir low-fat or fat-free granola into a bowl of low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Top with sliced apples or berries.
Top toasted whole-grain bread with peanut butter and slices bananas
Fill your omelet with onions, bell peppers, spinach, broccoli, mushrooms and tomatoes instead of meat and cheese.
Add sliced apples or bananas and a dash of cinnamon to your pancake batter.
Lunch and Dinner
Place a box of raisins in your child’s backpack and pack one for yourself, too.
Ask for more vegetable toppings (like mushrooms, peppers, and onions) and less cheese on your pizza.
Add some cooked dry beans to your salad. Or, if you have a sweet tooth, add chopped apples, pears, or raisins.
Add broccoli, green beans, corn, or peas to a casserole or pasta.
Have soup. You can stick with the basics like tomato or vegetable soup or mix up some minestrone or veggie chili to cut winter’s chill. When possible, choose soups with less sodium.
Add lettuce, tomato, onion, and cucumber to sandwiches.
Order salads, vegetable soups, or stir-fried vegetables when eating out.
Choose beans, corn on the cob, or a side salad with low-calorie salad dressing instead of French fries.
Try eating at least 2 vegetables with dinner.
Canned, dried, and frozen fruits and vegetables are also good options. Look for fruit without added sugar or syrups and vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces.
Customize spaghetti sauce with fresh zucchini, green peppers, mushrooms and onions.
Turn a mixed green salad or spinach salad into a main dish by including diced apples, almonds and grilled chicken.
Grill portabello mushrooms as a main or side dish.
Try hummus and whole wheat pitas.
Snack on vegetables like bell pepper strips and broccoli with a low-fat or fat-free ranch dip.
Try baked tortilla chips with black bean and corn salsa.
Stash bags of dried fruit at your desk for a convenient snack.
Keep a bowl of fruit on your desk or counter.
Drink a fruit smoothie made with whole fruit, ice cubes and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.
Top a cup of fat-free or low-fat yogurt with sliced fresh fruit.
For quick and easy snacks, stock up on fresh, dried, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables.
Pick up ready-packed salad greens from the produce shelf for a quick salad any time.
Encourage your child to choose his or her own fruit when shopping.
Store cleaned, cut-up vegetables in the fridge at eye level and keep a low-fat or fat-free dip on hand.
Healthy Eating - Getting Your Preschooler to Eat Healthy
Healthy Eating Tips for Parents of Preschoolers
How can I help my child eat more fruits and vegetables? Role modeling. They learn from watching you. Eat fruits and veggies and your kids will too.
Eat together. Let your child see you enjoying fruits and vegetables at meals and snacks.
Take it with you. Show your child how whole fruit is a great snack to eat at the park or in the shopping mall. Put apples, oranges, or bananas in your bag for quick snacks.
Share the adventure. Try new fruits and vegetables together.
Fix them together. Teach your child to tear lettuce or add veggie toppings to pizza.
Why does it matter what I do?
They learn by watching you. Kids get curious when they see you eating fruits or vegetables. Before you know it, they’ll want to taste what you are having.
You teach them lessons they’ll use for life. It’s normal for 2- to 5-year-olds to be “picky” eaters. Help them increase the types of fruits and vegetables they like by setting a good example.
What kinds should we eat?
Fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables are all smart choices. Buy some of each to last until your next shopping trip.
Frozen vegetables have as many vitamins and minerals as fresh. Choose packages that contain vegetables and nothing else–no added fat, salt, or sugars.
Buy canned fruits that are packed in “100% juice” or water.
Rinse canned beans and vegetables with cold water to make them lower in salt.
Look for canned vegetables that say “No added salt” on the front of the can. Buy them when they go on sale.
Cooked vegetables or ripe fruits that are cut into small pieces are easy for your child to eat.
Cut whole grapes and cherry tomatoes into smaller pieces to prevent choking.
Eating Together It takes a little work to bring everyone together for meals. But it’s worth it and the whole family eats better.
Start eating meals together as a family when your kids are young. This way, it becomes a habit.
Plan when you will eat together as a family. Write it on your calendar.
You may not be able to eat together every day. Try to have family meals at least four times a week.
How to make family meals happy
Focus on the meal and each other. Turn off the television. Take phone calls later.
Talk about fun and happy things. Try to make meals a stress-free time.
Encourage your child to try foods. But, don’t lecture or force your child to eat.
Fast family meals
Cook it fast on busy nights. Try stir-fried meat and vegetables, quick soups, or sandwiches.
Do some tasks the day before. Wash and cut vegetables or make a fruit salad. Cook lean ground beef or turkey for burritos or chili. Store everything in the fridge until ready to use.
Cooking Together Teach your kids to create healthy meals. It’s a lesson they’ll use for life. Kids like to try foods they help make. It’s a great way to encourage your child to eat fruits and vegetables. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.” Give them small jobs to do. Praise their efforts. Their smiles will light up your kitchen. Kids love helping in the kitchen. Parents love knowing that their child is also learning skills they’ll use for life. Help teach them to follow instructions, count, and more! Prepare fruits and veggies together.
Children learn about fruits and vegetables when they help make them. And all of that mixing, mashing, and measuring makes them want to taste what they are making. It’s a great trick for helping your “picky eater” try fruits and vegetables.
On busy weeknights…
Cooking together can mean more “mommy and me” time on busy days. Ask your child to help with easy tasks, like adding veggie toppings to a cheese pizza.
Let your child choose which veggies to add to soup. Only an adult should heat and stir hot soup.
Make sandwiches together.
Make some meals special.
Have a color contest and see how many green, red, yellow, and orange fruits and vegetables you can include in one meal.
Name a food your child helps create. Make a big deal of serving “Karla’s Salad” or “Corey’s Sweet Potatoes” for dinner.
Try a “Make Your Own” night. Let your family put together its own soft tacos, sandwiches, pizza, or salads. Place the ingredients within easy reach and let the fun begin.
Cooking Activities by Age 2-year-olds Make “faces” out of pieces of fruits and vegetables. Scrub vegetables or fruits. Tear lettuce or greens. Snap green beans. 3-year-olds Add ingredients. Stir. Spread peanut butter or other spreads. Shake a drink in a sealed container. Knead bread dough. 4- to 5-year-olds Peel some fruits and vegetables like bananas. Peel hard boiled eggs. Cut soft fruits with a plastic knife. Only adults should use sharp knives. Wipe off counters. Mash soft fruits, vegetables, and beans. Measure dry ingredients. Measure liquids with help.
Start with lean cuts of meat and trim off the fat before cooking.
Use skinless poultry or remove the skin before cooking.
Instead of frying your food, try baking, barbecuing, broiling, boiling, poaching, or roasting.
Instead of basting with butter or meat drippings, baste with wine, tomato juice, or lemon juice.
When a recipe calls for vegetables sautéed in oil, instead, try using water, wine, stock, or broth.
Prepare stews, soups, gravies or other dishes containing fat in a liquid base a day ahead of time and refrigerate. The hardened fat can be spooned off the top before re-heating.
Instead of using these:
Whole milk or 2% milk
1% or less (Skim or 1% milk)
2 egg whites
Full fat Mayonnaise or Salad Dressing
Low-fat or fat free mayonnaise or salad dressing
Low- or Non-Fat Frozen Yogurt
Fruit, Angel Food Cake, Sorbet
Sugar-Free Pudding or Gelatin
Lean ham, Canadian bacon
Butter, margarine or shortening in baking
Neufchatel or low fat cream cheese
Low-fat cottage cheese, pureed
1 ounce of baking chocolate
3 Tbsp cocoa powder
Healthy Eating - Eating Out - Making Healthy Choices
Go Green: Try a salad that is infused with grilled chicken, shrimp or vegetables with fat-free or low-fat dressing on the side. Try to avoid salads with deep fried or breaded chicken, and cheese, bacon bits, croutons etc.
Grilled is Great: Order steamed, grilled, or broiled dishes instead of those that are fried or sautéed.
As a beverage choice, ask for water or order fat-free or low-fat milk, unsweetened tea, or other drinks without added sugars.
Ask for whole wheat bread for sandwiches.
Start with a salad. In a restaurant, start your meal with a salad packed with veggies, to help control hunger and feel satisfied sooner.
Choose main dishes that include vegetables, such as stir fries, kebobs, or pasta with a tomato sauce.
Choose a “mini” or “medium” portion. This includes main dishes, side dishes, and beverages.
Order an item from the menu instead of heading for the “all-you-can-eat” buffet.
If main portions at a restaurant are larger than you want, try one of these strategies to keep from overeating:
Order an appetizer or side dish instead of an entrée.
Share a main dish with a friend.
Resign from the “clean your plate club” – when you’ve eaten enough, leave the rest.
To keep your meal moderate in calories, fat, and sugars:
Order foods that do not have creamy sauces or gravies
Add little or no butter to your food.
Choose fruits for dessert most often.
If the menu doesn’t say how the food is being prepared, ask questions. You can usually ask for your food to be grilled, steamed or baked.
Why fill up on bread? Ask if fresh or steamed vegetables are available, or order a small dinner salad before your meal.
Watch those sauces and dressings. Order them on the side, you’ll be surprised how little you actually need.
We live in the era of “super sizing” and getting more for your money. Try to remember what they serve is usually more than a serving. Ask for a take out box right from the beginning, place half in the box and enjoy the half that remains on your plate.
Enjoy each bite of your meal. We often live our lives rushing from place to place, use your meal as a time to slow down. It takes the body approximately 20 minutes to know that it is full.
Making small changes can make a big difference. Try these options: