Take a better bite! Healthy eating tips for families | SierraSun.com

Take a better bite! Healthy eating tips for families

Most parents agree feeding their family well is very important. According to a new survey commissioned by Wendy’s, 80 percent of moms want their kids to eat healthier. A top concern is shared by more than four in 10 parents: kids are not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Picky eaters and eating too much junk food round out overall concern.

What’s a parent to do?

Make meal time family time. Try to have a least one meal a day together. Children tend to eat more fruits, vegetables and dairy foods at meals shared with their parents.

Get the family involved in meal planning and preparation. Your kitchen can be a learning laboratory. Give children simple tasks with family food shopping, preparation and cleanup. Children are more likely to eat foods they have helped to prepare.

Be a good role model. Moms and dads often tell their kids to eat healthy but don’t follow the advice for themselves. Make sure you set a good example.

Try something new. Set a goal to include one new food or recipe each week. You’ll discover new favorites to incorporate into family menus. Try a new or exotic variety like mangoes or tangelos.

Stash healthy snacks. Keep healthy, nutritious snacks in key places at all times ” your purse, the car, your desk drawer. As you run out the door, grab a few healthy snacks: fresh fruit, pretzels, home-made “trail mix” or plain popcorn. You won’t be tempted to eat unhealthy options and you’ll have portable nutrition for your kids.

Think creatively to adapt to your family’s schedule. Accommodate a busy schedule by working in time for a meal.

Face dining out challenges head-on. Moms feel restaurants don’t have enough variety for their entire family. This doesn’t have to be the case. Choose restaurants that allow you to mix and match food options that give you the control to create a balanced meal for you and your family. Remember, it may be healthier to order a la carte or off the regular menu and split it with your child.

” Developed with the help of American Dietetic Association by Jill Whisler, MS, RD. Jill knows busy, she has three children 5 and under!

Come get more healthy nutrition and exercise tips at our “Let’s Get Active” Fitness Exhibit. It’s free and fun learning for the whole family. Open to the public Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through April 25 at the Tahoe Center for Health and Sports Performance, 587-3769.