Getting your family to eat healthily can often seem like an uphill battle. After all, chips and cookies are often more tempting to little palates than broccoli and spinach--and if your own eating habits are less than perfect, it can be all the more difficult to get your family to choose (and enjoy!) healthy foods. Healthy eating habits support gut health. If your family is constantly fussing about the healthy food selections you offer, consider adding a probiotic supplement to their diet as well.
Here are 5 tricks for getting your family to make positive food choices and form healthy eating habits that will stick with them forever.
Keep Healthy Foods Options Readily Available
One of the easiest and most effective ways to get your family to make smart food choices about what they eat is to make sure that healthy food options are easily accessible and always available. Try keeping a bowl of fruit on the table or putting carrot sticks on a bottom shelf in the refrigerator where your younger family can easily see them and easy grab and go dishes on top shelves for your teens such as homemade yogurt parfaits. Junk food should be reserved for an occasional treat instead of always being kept on hand in your home. After all, your family can't reach for a bag of potato chips at snack time if you don't have them in the house.
Avoid Labeling Foods as "Bad"
In your efforts to encourage your family to choose healthy foods, you don't need to label junk food as "bad" or completely prevent your family from enjoying an occasional treat. Indeed, this strict approach can backfire. Studies have found that banning unhealthy foods makes family's desire for such foods even greater, and their intake of these unhealthy foods may actually increase. The long-term consequences of attempting to restrict your family's food choices can be even greater. Researchers have found that families whose have actively restricted their diet have a higher incidence of body dissatisfaction, increasing the risk of developing an eating disorder.
Focus instead on discussing the benefits of nutritious foods with your family so that they can learn to make their own smart choices. Explain how lean proteins like turkey or skim milk can help give them greater strength to play sports, or that the vitamins in vegetables and fruits can help keep them from getting sick and missing out on fun activities.
Prioritize Meals Together as a Family
Finding time to eat together as a family can be challenging, particularly as your family gets older and have their own schedule of time-consuming activities. Working to make family dinner together a daily occurrence, however, can make a huge difference in your family's eating habits. One study found that family who regularly ate dinner with their families had healthier diets that included more fiber, fruits and vegetables, and less soda, fried foods, and foods high in saturated fat. The benefits of eating meals together when your family is young don't end when they reach adulthood, either; research has demonstrated that those who ate dinner with their families when young continue to make smart and healthy food choices once they reach adulthood.
Include Your family in Meal Planning
Transitioning from a diet heavy in unhealthy foods to one rich in healthy options can be a struggle at first, but letting your family help with meal planning and participate in the decision-making process can make a big difference. Particularly at first, feel free to serve the healthy foods your family enjoys more frequently, and offer up those foods they dislike less often. Don't be afraid to keep meals and snacks simple, either; carrots and ranch dressing, for example, have the benefits of being healthy, enjoyable and quick and easy to prepare.
Make a Daily Probiotic Supplement Part of Your Family's Routine
As your family starts making more nutritious food choices and establishes a healthier diet, your family (and yourself!) will benefit from the health-promoting vitamins and minerals found in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. You can boost these health advantages by incorporating certain supplements into your family's daily routine—and a probiotic is one of the most important supplements that you can give your entire family.
From helping to treat stomach flu to promoting digestive health to increasing your metabolism, a probiotic supplement can help augment the positive health effects of a nutritious diet. Best of all, there are probiotic options designed for even the tiniest tummies, making incorporating a probiotic supplement into your family's routine a simple step to support their health.
Making the change from a diet full of unhealthy, processed foods to one founded on nutritious and healthy options can be a challenge at first--but there are steps you can take to help instill healthy eating habits in your family that will last a lifetime.
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