It's a new year, and a new opportunity to adopt a healthier eating lifestyle. Having a positive impact on all aspects of your health, optimal nutrition can also support your child's growth, development, cognition, behavior, and overall school performance.
Here's how to get started!
Clean Eating for Families — 10 Ideas to Support Your Nutrition Resolutions Journey
If you're ready to eat clean in the new year, here's how to achieve this beneficial goal.
1. Eat the colors of the rainbow.
It's well understood that fruits and vegetables provide a wide spectrum of nutrients, but in order to make your kids gobble them up, you need to make them more enticing. Check out these 20 tips to get your kids to eat more veggies (you'll have fun too). You can also make 3D art using fruits and vegetables, helping your children develop a more positive relationship with nutrient-dense foods.
2. Grow your own food.
Nothing is more rewarding than starting your own little backyard garden. Whether you grow tomatoes and herbs on your balcony or an array of fruit and vegetables in your backyard, this is a great way to become more active, as you teach your kids where food comes from. Here are 10 fruits and vegetables that are great to plant with kids!
3. Cut out processed foods.
Cooking from scratch doesn't need to be a chore, especially when you make meals together, as a family. This is a great way to eliminate processed pre-made meals, full of excess trans fat, sugar, and salt, all while making cherished memories. Here are some tips to cook with kids of varying ages, helping them get more involved!
4. Schedule meal times.
When everyone is rushing around, doing their own thing, it's easy to grab nutrient-void foods that are convenient, as well as high-fat, sugary snacks. Whether it's breakfast before school or dinner, make meal time a priority. Sit down and eat together. For breakfast, lay out a quick spread of coconut milk yogurt, gluten-free granola and a selection of fruits. For dinner, depending on your weekly schedule, make time to eat together — and not in front of the TV.
5. Offer a healthy selection.
Whether you're at the grocery store or preparing fruits and vegetables at home, give your family a choice. For example, allow your children to each pick one fruit and vegetable they would like to try or prepare that week. When it comes to meal time, make 2-3 vegetables, asking your child to pick two. That way, they will not feel as though they're being forced to eat foods they don't like.
6. Hide healthy ingredients in family-favorite dishes
Hide healthy ingredients in all of the dishes your family loves! Does your family love meatloaf? Why not incorporate finely diced vegetables and even oatmeal into the ground beef mixture? Get creative!
7. Prep snacks ahead of time.
There's a reason why unhealthy snack foods are gobbled up so quickly — they're easily available. The first step is to stop purchasing so many chips and cookies, so that they are no longer accessible and preparing healthier snacks in advance.
8. Experiment with herbs and spices.
The easiest way to cut back on salt is to incorporate more dried herbs and/or spices into your cooking. Even squeezing fresh lemon on your meals can do the trick!
9. Eliminate "family-style" serving at the table.
Portion control is important, and when heaping bowls of food are in front of you, you're prone to eat more. One study found that when food is served family-style, people eat 35 percent more. Spoon out your meals at the counter or stove, and if there's leftovers, send healthy lunches the next day.
10. Sit back and observe.
Instead of putting meals on the tables and discussing why your children should eat every last bit, just sit back and enjoy regular conversation. Kids tend to eat intuitively and if they feel as though they're being forced to eat certain things, they may rebel, especially if they are picky eaters. To ensure that kids consume a variety of nutrients, encourage them to try a few bites of everything on their plate. Discuss their favorites.
By implementing clean eating habits at a young age, you will encourage a foundation of good health for many years to come — but remember to also lead by example.
About The Balance 360 Nutrition System
Based on years of working with tens of thousands of children who struggle with learning and behavioral challenges, we are confident that the Balance 360 System makes a difference in helping your child’s brain and body function according to healthy standards. Just ask our parents! The Balance 360 System is a step-by-step approach, designed to help parents customize a nutrition plan to fit a child’s lifestyle and needs. Learn more about our plan for clean eating!