Our families are our greatest treasures, and it’s important to steward them well by providing all the love and care that they deserve. This applies not least in the area of what they eat and drink. It begins with having a health-positive mindset and then training everyone to think the same way. The process can even be fun.
This article is all about identifying the key nutrients we need to provide for our families.
A healthy diet begins at birth. Wherever possible, breastfeeding is recommended for the first six months of a baby’s life, so it can receive all the nutrients it needs.
Family members can be of all ages, therefore, there are many dietary options available. When looking at meal replacement shakes, there are detailed reviews online and the experts provide helpful advice about what they should contain. This includes fiber, protein, and micronutrients. The side benefit here is that such drinks also help suppress one’s hunger pangs during the day.
Both these foodstuffs help strengthen our immune systems and provide essential vitamins. One can be subtle when regularly including fruit in the family’s diet. Breakfast cereals become tastier if they have blueberries or sliced bananas on top.
Many people love pancakes at mealtimes, and strawberries make a great topping. High fibrous fruits are an excellent choice, such as pears and raspberries.
Green vegetables are particularly healthy to eat. Even if a meal as unhealthy as a pizza is being eaten, there is still the opportunity to include something wholesome like broccoli as a topping. Vegetables can also be sneaked into tasty sandwiches, such as adding cucumber, lettuce, or tomato.
Dairy products are important because calcium is good for the bones and they provide valuable protein and vitamin D. Low fat and fat-free versions are often clearly displayed in most shops these days.
If someone doesn’t like or can’t eat dairy products there are fortunately some natural alternatives like spinach, and other dark green leafy vegetables. Almond milk and salmon are also valid options to use.
Whole grains are important in order to keep one’s cholesterol levels low and to aid digestion. They come in different forms, ranging from wheat to bran to rice, corn, and oats. Having plenty of fiber in one’s diet aids concentration and helps reduce feelings of hunger during the day. In turn, this reduces the likelihood of someone eating sweets or unhealthy snacks to fill themselves up.
Healthy proteins come with some of these key players: meat (such as chicken) and fish, poultry, and such dairy foods as cheese, eggs and milk. Nuts and beans are also important for a balanced healthy diet.
Many beverages carry unhealthy additives, such as soda or sweetened drinks. Pure fruit juices like orange or apple are a tasty treat that also increases one’s daily fruit intake. Milk is an important calcium provider as we have discussed, and milk lovers can compromise by having the 0% fat versions to drink.
It’s important to have a healthy eating routine and this can involve three regular meals plus a couple of daily snacks. Often the latter is bad for you, so healthy alternatives should be investigated. Items like crisps are high in salt content. (In fact, the salt shaker is best left in the cupboard during mealtimes!)
Fresh vegetables can be cut up and used rather than having chocolate bars. Apples, bananas, and oranges are an easy item to put in someone’s lunch box too.
In addition to avoiding drinks with artificial additives, it’s also important to avoid junk food. It’s usually highly convenient and can be very tasty. The problem with processed foods is their high fat and sugar content. They are full of carbs and unhealthy calories.
Not all food has to be fresh to be healthy. Whilst tinned food is suitable for occasional use, frozen food can still retain much of its goodness.
If there is nothing unhealthy in the pantry, there won’t be any temptation to eat junk food. Mealtimes can be precious moments when everyone gets together. If everyone has a say on the weekly menu, they will feel part of the journey and not victims of a parents’ strict rules.
When a family enjoys a healthy diet of food and drink, the benefits are many. Children enjoy strong bones and teeth and grow well. Older individuals reduce the risk of such things as type 2 diabetes or heart disease. Cholesterol levels are kept within safe parameters.
There is so much that a responsible parent can do for their family’s dietary needs. For any specific issues, however, medical help (including dieticians) should be consulted. As an example, both vegetarians and people with Coeliac’s Disease will need extra vitamins in their diet.