Tag Archive | "healthy choices"

Healthy Eating Strategies to Teach Your Kids

Teaching your kids the importance of healthy eating while they’re young will not only ensure they’re getting the proper nutrition they need to grow, it will help establish good habits for when they’re older and start making their own food choices. By sticking to healthy eating rules, your children will become accustomed to making better choices and will hopefully carry these lessons with them through life.

Involve Them When Deciding Meals

By giving your kids a choice of which vegetable to have with dinner or what type of healthy snack to have between lunch and dinner, they will feel more invested in what they’re eating and less like they’re being forced to eat something they don’t want. If they really hate one type of vegetable, give them the option of something they prefer and you’ll have far fewer battles at dinner time every night.

Make Healthy Food Fun

By cutting food into interesting shapes or making pictures out of the food on their plate, eating becomes a game that they’re now interested in participating in. Letting them help you prepare their food can also get them more excited for meal time because they may feel like they’re playing a bigger role and have made some of the decision regarding what they’ll be eating.

Lead By Example

Telling your children they aren’t allowed to eat ice cream while you’re sitting there with a big bowl of it probably won’t go over very well. When your kids see you eating the same things as them and having veggies as a snack instead of a bag of chips, they won’t question why they’re eating healthy food instead of anything else. If junk food just isn’t an option in your cupboards, your kids won’t be asking for the bag of chocolate chip cookies instead of the bowl of grapes.

Substitute for Healthy Alternatives

Giving them carbonated flavoured water instead of pop will still seem like a treat. Watering down their sugary juice will reduce the amount of sugar they’re consuming. Changing the white bread for whole grains will add some extra nutrition to their diet. By making small changes to the ingredients of all their meals, you’ll be sneaking healthy food in and they won’t even notice most of these changes. The more they become used to healthier alternatives, the easier it will be to establish healthy eating habits.

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Healthy Eating On a Tighter Budget

You don’t need to spend a lot of money to stick to a healthy diet. While you may decide to buy those expensive organic crackers or keep your fridge stocked with pricey imported vegetables, but it isn’t necessary to spend that much on healthy eating. In fact, some of the healthiest meals can be the cheapest if you take the time to put together the right recipes and meal plans.

Convenience Foods

Pre-packaged snack foods and ready made meals are often more expensive than making your own meals and are usually loaded with extra sugars, fats, and preservatives. Preparing veggies and low fat dip as a snack is not only one of the healthiest things to munch on, it’s incredibly inexpensive. Instead of grabbing a breakfast burrito from your local drive-thru, making one at home will cost a fraction of the price and you can cut back on the oils you use while packing it full with more veggies.

Fruits and Veggies

Sometimes our favourite produce isn’t in season and trying to get that basket of berries we love to snack on can be very expensive. Frozen fruits and vegetables keep all their nutrients so shop in the frozen section and stock up when your favourites are on sale. When those fruits and vegetables are in season, buy a large quantity and store them in your freezer if it’s an item that freezes well.

Create a Menu

Plan your meals in advance and keep ready made snacks and meals on hand for times when you think you’ll be too busy or tired to cook. Quite often, after a long day of work and school when everyone’s wiped out, it can be all too tempting to just order a pizza rather than preparing a meal. If you have it already made or at least partially prepared the day before, you’ll save money on fast food while enjoying a healthier meal than that greasy fast-food burger and fries.

Buying non-perishable foods in bulk that can be stored or frozen can save you quite a bit of money as well. Keeping a good supply of meats, veggies, and whole grain bread products in the house will encourage you to cook a healthy, homemade meal rather than buying something more expensive that can just be heated up in the microwave.

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Healthy Eating During the Christmas Holidays

Sticking to your healthy eating plan when your fridge is filled with vegetables and there’s no temptation in sight can be much easier than sitting two feet away from a buffet table loaded with gingerbread cookies and eggnog every night for a week. Once the holidays come around, you’ve got food filled parties and get-togethers to attend every night so it’s important to have a strategy to avoid binging until January rolls around.

Stay Full

Having a healthy breakfast that morning and filling up on fruit and veggies before you head to your next Christmas party will reduce your cravings for all the cakes and cookies you’ll be faced with. Once you do decide to grab a plateful from the buffet table, load it with the leaner meats, vegetables, and whole wheat crackers. If you still need a sweet fix after that, limit yourself to just one then position yourself further away from that table.

Drink Smart

Alcoholic drinks can be loaded with hidden calories so be aware that what you’re drinking could be sabotaging you. Choose a lower calorie beer or mix spirits with a sugar free type of mix. Alternating alcoholic beverages with a glass of water or low calorie juice can greatly reduce the amount of extra calories you’re consuming.

If having eggnog and hot chocolate is a tradition you just can’t give up, limit yourself to just one of those types of drinks. These beverages are loaded with fat and sugar, so drinking too much of them too many nights in a row can destroy the benefits of all the other healthy eating habits you’ve been practicing. Another option could be watering these beverages down with some skim milk to cut out a bit of the extra fat.

Bring Healthy Options

A lot of get-togethers around the holidays tend to be potluck style parties. Especially if you know your friends aren’t the type to bring healthier options, be sure that what you bring is geared towards healthy eating. You may even find that quite a few other people will enjoy the healthier options you’ve provided them.

Sticking to any workout regimen you currently have can be great incentive to stick to your healthy eating routine as well. If you throw in the towel over the holidays you’ll probably be wracked with guilt throughout the entire month of January. Forgetting about healthy eating is a slippery slope, so telling yourself you’re still doing a good job will help motivate you to stay at least somewhat strict in front of that cookie platter.

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Healthy Eating: Not Just a Way to Lose Weight

healthy food choices

Weight loss isn’t the only reason to lead a healthier lifestyle. By building healthy eating habits, you’ll be lowering your risk of heart disease and diabetes while making your body feel stronger and more alert. Many people have a naturally high metabolism and don’t need to watch their weight, but this doesn’t mean they should live off chips, cookies, and chocolate milk every day.

Heart Health

Thin people can be at risk for heart disease as well. Just because you don’t have a spare tire around your midsection doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about health issues such as diabetes and high cholesterol. Especially if you don’t get any exercise, healthy eating is something that should be kept in mind for people of all shapes, weights, and sizes.

Brain Food

Healthy eating habits aren’t just good for your body, they’re good for your brain as well. Eating properly will help you to be more alert while giving you increased mental and physical energy. Not only will you have a clearer mind, getting the proper nutrition will help your mood as well. Healthy eating can fight depression and will prevent you from suffering from insomnia and irregular sleep patterns.

Skin, Hair, and Nails

Being properly hydrated and getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs will help to give your skin a healthy glow and will strengthen your hair and nails. Even if eating healthy is something you do for aesthetic purposes only, your weight still isn’t the only appearance orientated factor it can affect.

Digestive System

By eating healthy and getting the proper grains and fiber, you’re ensuring your digestive system stays in proper working order. A clean digestive system will allow you to absorb nutrients properly and will lower your risks of diseases such as colon cancer.

Healthy eating affects every aspect of your body, not just your waistline. If you’re one of the naturally thinner people out there, keep in mind that fuelling your body with trans fats and refined sugars will catch up with you down the road. You may not always see the effects junk food can have on your body, but once you start practicing healthy eating habits, you’ll notice the difference and your organs will thank you later.

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Healthy Eating: Learning to Snack Smart

healthy snack choices

With any good healthy eating plan, snacking can throw a wrench into your best efforts. You can have the healthiest meals planned out, but when you can’t make it from lunch to dinner and have to grab something to tide you over, be sure you aren’t eating something that will sabotage you.

Satisfy Your Cravings

Always have a snack alternative for every craving. When you want a salty bag of chips, eat a handful of nuts instead. For that sweet tooth, grab an apple or banana rather than a pack of candy. Substituting a healthy choice for your hot, cold, crunchy, and creamy cravings will keep you feeling full and satisfied without out all the guilt.

Eat Smaller Meals

If you feel like you have to snack quite a few times a day and just can’t wait for your main meals, split your three large meals up into six smaller ones. This will keep you feeling full all day while giving your body time to properly digest a smaller amount of food. Eating this way may also encourage you to plan out healthier meals rather than grabbing something quick between meals that may not be as good for you.

Stay Hydrated

Dehydration can make you feel hungry when you’re actually just thirsty. Make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day to fight these feelings. Caffeine and drinks with artificial sweeteners can sometimes cause you to feel hungrier, so sticking to water and low calories juices are usually your best bet.

TV Snacking

Either completely cut out the snack sessions while watching television or switch to something that isn’t loaded with calories. Plain popcorn without the extra butter, sunflower seeds, or a bowl of grapes are all healthier options than a bag of chips or pretzels and they will still take quiet awhile to eat.

You don’t have to give up your afternoon snack times in order to practice healthy eating habits, just choose your snacks more wisely. Picking the lower calorie or lower fat varieties of your favourite snack can be the first step in eating healthier. Changing to a different type of food altogether or cutting down on how many snacks you have throughout the day can be your next step. Start off slowly and gradually switch to healthier foods for long term success in healthy eating habits.

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Healthy Eating: Fighting the Urge to Rely On Comfort Foods

Too often people eat to make themselves feel better rather than to satisfy their hunger. When you eat for this reason, the foods you crave are usually those loaded with sugar or fat rather than healthy fruits and veggies. In order to develop healthy eating habits, the reliance on comfort foods needs to be reduced or eliminated completely.

Reflect On Why You Eat

Before reaching for a candy bar when you’re in line at the grocery store, ask yourself if you really need some chocolate and why. If you’ve had a stressful day at work or you’ve been under emotional strain, put the candy back and try to find a healthier way to make yourself feel better. Replacing exercise with eating will not only maximize any weight loss goals, it will increase your endorphins and give you a huge self esteem boost.

Healthy Eating For Dessert

A delicious dessert at the end of a hard day can be the highlight of the evening for a lot of people. Rather than eating a piece of cake or bowl of ice cream, have a fresh bowl fruit salad or some low-fat frozen yogurt. Substituting your high calorie desserts for something a little healthier can be a guilt free way to finish your day.

Clear Out Your Cupboards

Keeping chips and cookies in the cupboards is too tempting for most people, especially after a rough day. Throw out all your junk food and when a craving hits you, you won’t be tempted by fatty snack foods and you’ll be more likely to munch on something much better for you. Willpower can only take you so far in your healthy eating goals, so avoid the candy aisles and don’t even look in the vending machines you walk past until you’ve trained yourself to resist your junk food cravings.

Don’t Negotiate

It’s easy to talk yourself into having just one piece of cake or thinking that because you’ve had a rough day you deserve it. After eating that one piece it’s pretty likely that you’ll feel guilty for doing so and you may end up feeling worse than you did before. By just being strict and laying down the law, you’ll probably feel much prouder of yourself for choosing the apple instead of the cookie.

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