How to Create a Healthy House
Bring in the Good
Fill your kitchen with these real, healthy foods instead. It make take a few extra trips to the store, and it will take more time to prepare your meals, but good health is worth a little of your time.
If you aren't in the habit of eating fresh fruit every day, make it a habit today. You may have to go to the market twice a week, because fresh fruit needs to be fresh. You don't want to buy too much and have it spoil before you can eat it.
To make fruit a habit, try these tips. Take a piece of fresh fruit in your lunch every day. Instead of bringing that baggie of pretzels or chips, bring a whole apple, orange, nectarine, banana, anything that you enjoy. Fruit is extremely reasonable to buy. A whole bunch of bananas can cost as little as a dollar.
When the kids get home from school, cut up a few fruits and put them on the table. Having the fruit already cut up makes it easy for little hands, especially with difficult fruits such as oranges and bananas. Or cut them into little pieces and let the kids use toothpicks to pick up the fruit. Kids love to eat things with toothpicks...go figure.
Then, as you are preparing dinner, cut up a few fresh fruits and put them on a plate. Set the plate on the table, so that when everyone is done eating their dinner, they can grab a few slices of fresh fruit. This will give everyone a little "sweet fix" after dinner, calming the need for dessert. You can use fresh fruits in pancakes, muffins and as an ice cream topping as well. Make fruit a daily requirement.
Your kids may protest at first, especially if they are used to eating potato chips as snacks. But if there are no potato chips in the house, they will have no other choice. This is why it's so important to throw out the unhealthy food. Try it for a few days. They'll come around.
You may have children who claim to hate vegetables. But guess what? Once you decide to start living a healthy lifestyle, everybody eats vegetables. That's your new rule. You can use many of the same tricks for vegetables as you use for fruit. Bring baggies of carrots and celery to work with a little container of ranch dip. Buy a big chef salad for lunch. Go ahead and have the heavy dressing, if that's what you like. The dressing doesn't add that much fat, and that little bit of fat will leave you feeling full and satisfied after lunch.
When the kids get home from school, or are starving a few minutes before dinner, put a plate of veggies and dip on the table. This way, they're not ruining their appetite. They are just getting some extra veggies.
If your kids are very particular, you may have to find ways to hide the veggies. This is where your food processor comes in handy. Puree cooked spinach and stir it into pasta sauce. Puree chickpeas, tomatoes and garlic and serve it hot over rice. Shred zucchini and use it to bake "apple" cinnamon muffins. (They'll never know the difference).
Stock up on Healthy Snacks
Most doctors agree. Three heavy meals a day is not a healthy way to eat. Instead, try grazing all day long on healthy snacks, with light meals in-between.
In addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, always keep these items on hand:
- Dried Fruit
- Unsweetened Yogurt
- Your Favorite Nuts
- Peanut Butter
- Whole Wheat Brea
- Jam (with "no added sugar," not "sugar-free")
- Frozen Fruit
- Whole Grain Cereal
Mix a little fresh fruit and honey into unsweetened yogurt for a great snack. Take a baggie of whole grain cereal or dried fruit to snack on between breakfast and lunch. For the afternoon hours, a handful of protein-rich nuts will revive you faster (and cheaper) than any sugar-laden energy drink. Snack on slices of cheese before dinner. Puree frozen fruit and unsweetened yogurt in the blender for a cool smoothie for dessert.
There are so many delicious alternatives to chips and cookies. You'll never want another stale, tasteless, store-bought cookie again!
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