Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seven Tips to Make Your Family Healthier

I’ve been focusing a decent amount lately on my expanding muffin top, creating make ahead meals, and trying to shop healthy. So I was very excited to have the opportunity to participate in a conference call last week with Michelle Dudash, a registered dietitian and Cordon Bleu-certified chef. I learned lots of great tips for eating healthy with your family (keep reading to find them out!) and also about the great initiatives from the Walmart Foundation. This non-profit division of Walmart helps 250,000 Americans access school breakfast and nutrition education programs through grants. The Walmart Foundation has committed $2 billion (yes, Billion!) cash and in-kind commitment through 2015 to help fight hunger in America. Pretty cool, huh?

There were so many useful tips discussed on the call that included cleaning out your kitchens of unclean foods, getting kids in the kitchen, quick meal ideas and so much more. I could write all day about the tips but instead I’m going to pinpoint a few topics/items that hit close to home for me. In no particular order they are…

  • Semi-homemade can be healthy. Convenience is okay. Don’t beat yourself up over not having a full three course meal made from scratch on the table. Take short cuts when necessary but be sure to read labels. Choose products with names that you can recognize (and pronounce!).
  • Fuel your body with beneficial items. Skip the junk. Example: Choose a serving of nuts over a serving of potato chips. You’ll get more energy and feel full longer.
  • If watching your budget it’s okay not to buy organic. Your main focus should be buying fresh, healthy foods. Don’t break the bank worrying about organic.
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup is not your enemy. Okay, it’s not your friend either but neither is sugar. Truly eating healthy means limiting all forms of sugar (not just high fructose corn syrup).
  • Artificial Food Coloring is your enemy. I’ve actually been working on reducing/eliminating this from my kids’ diet as much as possible. On a TMI note, Daniel recently had cake with a vibrant frosting color that not only came out the same color but also stained the skin on his bottom for a day. If the color couldn’t be broken down in his body and then also still had the power to discolor his skin there is NO way it could be good for him.
  • If your kid will only eat one thing just make sure it’s the healthiest version of the food. Got a kid who will only eat PB&J (ahem…Henry!)? Well then shoot for whole wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and a glass of milk. Eventually they’ll change their eating habits (knock on wood!).
  • Making one meal that everyone will eat is the goal. Meal planning will make your life easier!
So there you have it, those were my top takeaways. If you’d like to hear more from Michelle you can check out her book Clean Eating for Busy Families. She is honest, down to earth, and really has some useful information to share! I was glad to have had the opportunity to chat with her on the call!

*This post is part of a compensated campaign on behalf of the Motherhood and the Walmart Foundation. As always, all opinions are my own*
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