Your family is your asset. It is not always easy to raise a family. As you have a busy schedule and your children too.
There’s a lot to do in a little time. It’s crucial for parents to build healthier behaviors early on.
These are going to help you make smart decisions for your family.
Children mimic their parents, so it is necessary to set a good example. If you consider your eating habits, you can protect yourself and your family from many diseases.
The tips below will encourage your family to be safe and happy.
Learn Healthy Habits as a Family
I hear parents say this all the time that he’s just a kid, let him eat all he wants, he is a growing boy he can worry about his diet when he’s an adult.
Habits good or bad, they’re always hard to change.
Until recently for example, type 2 diabetes was considered an adult condition. Sadly, this is no longer the case.
Many kids are developing diabetes in part because of unhealthy habits.
Take your child to well care visits so your doctor can tell if your child’s height and weight are appropriate for his or her age.
You can help your child by modeling healthy habits. Try healthy snacks such as apple slices, strawberries, melon, carrots or handful of raw nuts.
As parents it’s their responsibility to model and promote healthy habits for their children that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Don’t force kids to eat everything on their plate. Set family health goals.
When shopping, choose healthy produce and avoid getting tempted by unhealthy processed foods. Finally, help your kids get 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
How to Make Healthy Food Changes
It is very hard to eat healthy all the time, but there are simple food changes you could make easily right now.
Making these small changes will lead to big rewards for you and your family and when it comes to your health, this is priceless.
1. Use Healthy Fats
Use good fats like healthy canola or olive oil.
Your family won’t notice a difference in taste, and healthy fats are better for you.
There’s another way to cut down on fat, grill rather than fry meat and chicken. Top with lots of colorful veggies.
2. Choose Whole Foods
Replace foods made with white flour for those for those with whole grain like whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas and brown rice which have more good fiber.
3. Less Salt Consumption
If you’re buying packaged foods, look for options low in salt, also called sodium. 140 mg of sodium or less per serving is recommended.
Another way to cut down on salt is to use less and flavor your food with tasty herbs like oregano, pepper or cumin and lemon juice.
4. Choose Healthy Snacks
Replace packaged snacks with homemade that taste just as good. You can make popcorn at home using a tablespoon of olive oil.
This is healthier than store-bought chips. Or cut up fruits and vegetables for healthy snacks at home or on the go.
5. Say No to High Calorie Beverages
The sodas, sports drinks and energy drinks have much sugar that’s why you should serve only water may be with a splash of lime or plain milk.
How to Create a Healthy Plate
What can you make your family for dinner that’s healthy and tastes good?
You can follow the plate method, this is healthy eating plan works for everybody, including people with diabetes.
Indeed making nutritious healthy meals will be a snap.
What’s a healthy plate? It’s a way to control your serving sizes where you don’t have to count. Simply use a 7-inch plate for children and a 9-inch plate for adults.
First, divide the plate in half and fill one of them with vegetables.
There are two types of vegetables, starchy like potatoes, corn and peas and non-starchy like zucchini, cucumbers and carrots etc.
If you have diabetes, fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, then fill ¼ with whole grains or starches like brown rice, corn, beans and whole wheat bread.
In the other quarter add some protein like fish or chicken. Add a drink like unsweetened coffee, tea or a glass of milk.
Brain Food: How Do Nutrients Boost Your Mood?
Many essential nutrients and foods can actually boost mood in long run.
These include vitamins such as A, B, C, D and E.
Some minerals such as chromium, iron, zinc, selenium and magnesium, antioxidants and omega-3 fats which all have different roles in supporting a healthy brain.
Chromium in broccoli, apples and whole grains can help increase levels of neurotransmitters including serotonin, norepinephrine and tryptophan, which all help regulate emotion and mood.
Magnesium found in leafy vegetables, nuts and legumes is one of the most important mineral in the body.
Insufficient levels can lead to many problems including headaches, insomnia and agitation. Magnesium may also have an antidepressant effect.
Zinc is another highly essential mineral, found in red meat and poultry, oysters, nuts and legumes, which act as a cofactor for hundreds of enzymes in the body.
It also important for our hormones, immunity and the brain, including neural functions that may help ward off depression.
4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids from oily fish like salmon and edible algae have many roles in the brain, including lowering inflammation.
Chronic inflammation, linked to diets high in processed foods, can be an underlying factor in depression, heart diseases and many other conditions.
Vitamins B6, B9 (folate) and B12 are found in foods such as eggs, dairy, citrus, dark green veggies and whole grains.
These vitamins help to regulate your body’s homocysteine levels.
Homocysteine is an amino acid found in small amounts in the body but when these levels increase, you may have a higher risk of heart diseases and depression.
So, keep your B12 and folate levels high to help prevent these conditions.
Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants, as are the hundreds of polyphenols found in plant foods including fruits, vegetables, legumes, green tea, herbs and spices.
These repair oxidative damage in the body and brain, which may offer some protection against depression, dementia and more.
Help Your Kids Get Moving
Kids spend more of their time in front of TV or computer rather than playing sports or being physically active.
That’s the reason why the children face obesity conditions, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
This is going to affect their self-esteem and overall health and even shorten their lives.
Kids needs 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
How can you help your kids get moving for at least one hour each day? Make sure that their hearts be faster and they breathe harder and sweat.
Set activity goals together as a family. Exercise helps to children maintain their weight and grow strong.
Kids are physically active sleep better and can more easily handle life changes. There’s also less likely to develop chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes.
For all this reasons it’s important to be sure your kids physically active every day.
Eating healthy is important for your health, and is about what you eat, and also knowing about portion control.
Establishment of healthy eating habits must start in the family. Being physical active can do many good things for your teen.
The ideas shared above will help you turn every day into an opportunity to get fit and have fun together.
Written by Memoona Rehman (MSc. Hons) Food Technology, institute of Food and Nutritional Sciences, PMAS arid agriculture university Rawalpindi.