Promoting Healthy Eating and Creating Family Bonds

18 Apr Promoting Healthy Eating and Creating Family Bonds

Dinner is really the ideal, and sometimes the only time we can all sit down together as a family and choose to make healthier food choices. Frequent family meals, which according to the Journal of Pediatrics & Child Health is at least three meals a week, can significantly improve family connection, self-esteem, well-being, positive social behaviors and stronger family bonds and relationships while decreasing the chance of risky behaviors.

Being able to get the entire family involved in meal decisions not only makes for a fun family activity, but it allows for better choices when all hands are on deck. Additionally, kids will feel more empowered if they are able to make some of the meal decisions which can lead to healthier eating that will stick with them as they grow older.

Here are some tips on family meal preparation:

Invite the entire family to participate in the kitchen. Allow each family member to choose their favorite meal once a week. Adding a different ethnic-related theme 2-3 times per week can allow more opportunity for introducing new flavors & textures to meal time. The rule of thumb is to ensure everyone’s plate has at a minimum of three food groups filled with color.

Allow each family member the opportunity to help figure out what type of protein, grain, veggie and/or fruit they would like to eat this week. To get ideas, it may be helpful to look at cookbooks, online recipes online, or Pinterest, for example.

Doubling a recipe to allow leftovers is a great way to plan ahead and provide your family with a nutritious meal for more than just one night. School nights can get busy for families, so planning ahead is a great way to ease some of the stress of the nightly preparations that usually take place.

For more information on this topic as well as more healthy eating advice for your family, please contact our PediaTrust Pediatric Nutritionist, Marisa Persky at mpersky@pediatrust.com or at 224.707.8893, and make an appointment at your pediatrician’s office.

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