Tips for Transitioning Your Family to a Healthier Diet

Tips for Transitioning Your Family to a Healthier Diet

Q & A with Guest Blogger and Health Coach Meredith Keith-Chirch

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Hi Rebecca and Meredith,

I want my family to eat healthier in 2016. I was the same weight for 20 years, but gained over 30 lbs after adopting my two kids due to the stress of being a single parent and eating too many meals in restaurants. My 11-year-old daughter is not at a healthy weight either, and craves carbs and cheese. I’ve struggled with how to limit food intake with my kids without causing food issues for them down the road.  This year, I’ve resolved to make more meals and have more healthy food at home.

I would like to know how to handle food issues with my kids in a healthy way. I would love any help you can provide. Thank you.

Amanda

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Hi Amanda!

TacosFirst, kudos to you for having the courage to make this decision  for your family -- to eat healthier this year. It can be tough, in the face of the Standard American Diet, to even get to that point. Being a parent is a busy job, and being a single parent is an even bigger challenge. When you're the only adult in the family and you have the multitude of responsibilities that typically come with running a household, it's a successful day if everyone eats at all -- let alone in a healthful way!

 

Second, it's great that you are aware that addressing food issues with kids can often cause problems. What I have seen in my work with clients is that most often these are in the form of power struggles. It's a good idea to remind ourselves that we don't truly have control over what our kids eat. If we can let go of the pressure of thinking we do, it can really alleviate some stress.

 

Healthy SnacksHaving said that, we can definitely influence the outcome of things by setting up a more successful home environment. One of the easiest things to do is to keep only foods that we feel good about our kids eating in our homes. Now, by easy, I don't necessarily mean that it won't be an adjustment in lifestyle; what I mean is that it's a straightforward solution. The fewer processed foods eaten, the better. We know that we will be able to get them elsewhere -- school, work, social events -- so it's not as if we'll be completely deprived; but you can lower your intake of foods that can cause health issues simply by not purchasing them at the store.

 

Another recommendation I have to ease the transition when moving from eating meals at restaurants to eating more meals at home is to begin by eating healthy convenience foods. These can still save time when you don't have time to cook a full meal, and many brands have organic, whole food ingredients. When my family first started moving in this direction, my husband began buying Amy's Organics meals to keep in his workplace freezer, which was much better than the McDonald's meal he'd been purchasing daily.

 

Real IngredientsLastly, make things easy on yourself when transitioning to cooking at home by finding simple recipes that save time, like crock pot recipes. While some crock pot recipes contain processed ingredients that aren't so healthy, there are a growing number of websites that list crock pot recipes using only whole foods. Meats (or other sources of protein for non-meat eaters), veggies, and some seasonings can be thrown in that morning and will be a meal by dinnertime. Overnight crock pot oatmeal makes for a fast breakfast the following morning.

 

These are just a few ideas, but I'll stop there as I know too much information can be overwhelming when you're starting a new eating endeavor. Pat yourself on the back for wanting to make some changes. You can do this!

 

- Meredith

 

 

MeredithMeredith Keith-Chirch juggles roles as health educator, homeschooling mother and advocate, dancer, and vocalist, with the common thread being her commitment to causes devoted to self- improvement. Her work has led to increased awareness of the importance of holistic wellness involving one’s lifestyle and the many areas that can be integral to health, including environment, mindset, movement, and nutrition. Car-free by choice, Meredith is a tireless advocate for mindful living and the importance of aligning your lifestyle with your beliefs and passions. Learn more about Meredith and her work at mforhealth.com.

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