Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month? Your Family Medical’s Lewisville pain and wellness specialists (Locations also in Benbrook, Bedford, and Boyd) see that as an excellent reason to talk about healthy family meal ideas. We know that adding more nutrition into a family menu can be difficult with the fast-paced lives we all lead. However, with the right tips and guidance, that change may be simpler than you think. Read on for our top 5 expert tricks to add nutrition into your family meals!
1) Prep & Freeze Healthy Breakfast Options
Many folks have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. However, it is a challenging time to sneak in a healthy meal when everyone is in a rush to get out the door. Our top tip for incorporating nutrition into your breakfast is to prepare healthy, freezer-friendly, easy-to-reheat options ahead of time.
Two of our team’s favorite include the following:
- Energy Bites: There are a whole variety of ways to make them, but the base ingredients are typically some type of nut butter, old fashioned oats, ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, and honey. Mix and roll into small balls and store in the fridge or freezer. Additional ingredients vary depending on your family’s preferences. Do not be afraid to get creative! Some versions even come dangerously close to tasting like raw cookie dough! These can be eaten right out of the freezer or thawed to room temperature first.
- Egg Muffins: Pour an egg scramble mixture (Exa: eggs, cheese, hashbrowns, green peppers and sausage) into a greased muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until firm to the touch. Cool to room temperature and then drop into a gallon sized freezer bag to freeze until needed. These reheat very nicely for a quick, hot breakfast option or even a filling, protein-rich after-school snack.
2) Keep Healthy Snacks Readily Available
Healthy snacks are an essential part of a family’s daily nutrition. Whether it is a mid-morning option for the weekend or an after-school snack, these are excellent opportunities for infusing a few more vitamins and minerals. We highly recommend preparing single-serving portions of the following options early in the week for optimal success.
- Raw carrot sticks
- Sliced cucumbers
- Cuties (small, easy-to-peel oranges)
- Celery (plus peanut butter & raisins for an old childhood favorite – “ants on a log”)
- String cheese
- Air-popped popcorn
Our Lewisville pain and wellness specialists (Locations also in Benbrook, Bedford and Boyd) often encourage families start by swapping out one unhealthy snack for a healthy one. If one of your family’s go-to snacks is chips, try offering popcorn instead of chips for three weeks. At the end of the three weeks, add in another substitution. Before you know it, you’ll have a much more balanced snack rotation.
3) Increase Water Intake for All
According to a recent study, almost a quarter of children and teens (ages 6-19) do not consume enough water daily. Staying hydrates is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. This is especially true when considering how many empty calories are consumed in other types of beverages that typically take the place of water. If you and your family struggle with getting enough water in your daily diet, try one or more of these ideas:
- Try infusing fruit into your family’s water
- Get each family member their own water bottle they can customize with stickers
- Keep a pitcher of lemon water in the fridge for quick and easy refills
- Serve water at the start of every meal
- Try substituting sparkling water for soda
4) Involve Everyone in the Planning
Get your partner and the kids involved right at the “ground level” of meal planning. Ask them what their favorite meals are and try to incorporate those ideas often. Let your kids take turns helping you plan the menu for the week. Find healthy, kid-friendly recipe books online or at your local bookstore and let your kids bookmark the ones that look good to them. (Disney even has some great diabetic-friendly recipes.)
Give your family members opportunities to try their hand at cooking or baking with you, too. These are great ways to make memories as well as create healthy habits that will hopefully follow your children into adulthood. There are opportunities for helpers to join in every step of the way – from shopping to preparing to serving and clearing, too. You can even look up the individual serving calorie counts together to see just how healthy the meal actually is!
5) Hide Veggies and Fruits in Desserts
Yep – you read that correctly. It is amazing how well zucchini or avocado blends with chocolate! With the right recipe, you will not even know the difference. In fact, you may even find your family prefers the vitamin-rich version more than the traditional box mixes! Here are a few kid-approved recipes to get you started:
- Black Bean Brownies by the Minimalist Baker (Vegan and GF)
- Healthy Zucchini Bread by Cookie + Kate
- Dark Chocolate Avocado Mousse by Gimmie Some Oven
- Sweet Potato Cookies by Well Plated
We recognize the challenges involved in raising healthy families. We’re here to support you every step of the way. Your Family Medical offers services in the areas of family medicine, geriatric medicine, women’s health and wellness, preventative medicine and more. Come see us today at one of our four convenient Texas locations.