Thursday, December 29, 2011

10 Tips to Change Your Family to Healthy Eating!!

Changing your entire family to healthy eating seems like a daunting task.  But when you are the one who does the grocery shopping and cooking it is easier to control what goes into their bodies.  At least when they are eating at home!!

Tip #1:  The most important tip is to do it gradually!!!  I see so many of those weight loss shows where they go into peoples homes and throw away everything in their fridge and cupboards.  Then replace it with new things.  This may work on TV when someone else is footing the bill.  But it is not helpful to you.  So gradually replace your food with healthier food.  Plus we are human.  We don't like change.  So to replace everything that your family is used to eating with different things is not going to go over well.  As you run out of something the next time you go to the store replace the item with a lower fat version.

Tip # 2 Fiber!!  Need I say more.  Fiber is needed in your diet.  A lot of people think that they get enough fiber.  Most people don't.  Fiber is needed to help eliminate waste out of your body.  If your body is not getting rid of your waste properly it won't absorb the nutrients it needs.  So you can eat all the healthy food you want but if you are not eliminating the waste properly you still will not be healthy.  Fiber is found in fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains.  So eat more whole fruits and vegetables. Juice is good for you and healthy, but start replacing some juice with the whole fruit.  Also start replacing your breads and pastas with whole grains.  The white, processed, bleached, grains do not have the fiber you need. 

Tip # 3 Water!!  You need to drink at least 8 8oz glasses of water a day.  Get rid of that pop and juice.  My kids are only allowed to drink one glass of juice or sugary drink at meals.  Once they have drank that glass if they are still thirsty they have to drink either milk or water.  I still have one son that still has an allergy to milk.  So he drinks juice or water.  Then between meals they are to drink water.  I started this over a year ago.  I was tired of going through a pitcher of juice or kool aid in one day. And having my kids bounce of the walls all day too.  Juice is good for you but it is still sugar.  So limit yourself and your kids.  Start replacing some pop each day with water.  If you have to add a sugar free drink pouch to it then go for it.  But when you start drinking more water you will begin to feel better. 

Tip #4  Low fat dairy!!   Dairy products are good for you.  This can come from cow, goat, or any other animal that you might have that you milk.  Dairy provides calcium and is great for you and your kids.  But dairy has fat. Some fat is needed in your diet.  But most Americans eat a ton of dairy foods and use it in almost every meal we cook.  So start replacing it with lower fat versions.  Use low fat sour cream, cottage cheese, cream cheese, milk, cream of mushroom soup, and cheese.  When you are using these items to cook with you will never know the difference.  We eat a lot of Mexican food so we use sour cream.  I started buying low fat sour cream. It still has fat but the amount is less.  These little changes will start reducing the amount of fat you consume in a day.

Tip #5 More vegetables!!  If you are like me it is hard to get your kids to eat vegetables.  But vegetables are a free food.  Most vegetables don't have carbs, sugar, or fat.  They are full of fiber and help you fill up and feel full.  So think of creative ways to get more vegetables in your families diet.  I have one son who only likes potatoes and green beans.  Does not do well with variety.  But he is required to eat at least a small portion of vegetable with each meal.  Kids tastes are constantly changing.  One week they hate cucumbers and the next week it is their favorite thing to eat.  So keep introducing new vegetables and ways to cook and serve them.  I started making baked french fries.  You take a potato and cut into thin wedges with the peel on.  I use a wavy cutter so it makes them look fancy.  I spritz them with a cooking spray and sprinkle with seasoning salt and sometimes with a little Parmesan cheese.  Then put on a cookie sheet and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit about 20 minutes or until tender.  My family loves these.  And they are low fat and they are eating that skin which gives them a little fiber!! 

Tip #6 Smaller portions of meat.  Meat is important in your diet.  You need protein and different vitamins and minerals that only meat can provide.  But start to serve lower fat meats and smaller portions of it.  I add my own canned pinto beans to  my ground meat when we eat tacos.  So we still have a lot of protein but I am cutting the fat in half by adding beans to it.  When serving steak or chicken serve smaller portions.  Fill up on your veges and carbs.  If you look at the food guide pyramid meat and proteins are not on the bottom.  This should not be your biggest portion on your plate!!

Tip #7 Watch your Carbs!!!  Now bread, grains, and cereals is on the bottom of the food guide pyramid.  You do need the most of this in your diet.  But it is so easy to over eat on your carbs and not balance it out with the other food groups.  Do you ever wonder why you are starving an hour after eating Chinese food?  It is almost all carbs.  You fill up on the rice and noodles and hardly have any fruit, veges, or protein.  Switch your carbs to more complex carbs.  These are carbs that takes your body longer to break down and gives you more energy over the day.  Simple carbs break down almost instantly and give you a quick burst of energy but then you crash back down. Simple carbs are things that have simple sugars, such as candy, processed flours and grains, and some fruit.  Complex carbs are things that have more carbons to them and it takes the body longer to break down.  These give you energy throughout the day as your body breaks them down.  These are things such as whole grains, avocados, brown rice and wild rice.  Basically processed food have broken down the grain.  It is already processed so your body does not have to do it.  It is alright to eat processed foods,  but they will give you a quick burst of energy then leave you hanging the rest of the day.  This leaves you feeling hungry and then you keep eating to fill up.  That is why a bowl of regular oatmeal or granola made from whole oatmeal will fill you up and give you energy through out the day.  So whole grains don't just give you the fiber you need it gives you the complex carbs that your body needs to have energy through out the day.  If your family is not into whole grains just start by mixing a little brown rice in with your white rice.  Mix in some whole wheat pasta with your regular pasta and so on.  Remember tip #1 do it gradually. 

Tip # 8 Watch the Caffeine.  A little caffeine is not going to harm you.  And I am like many people out there have come accustomed to drinking their morning cup of coffee.  Just remember that caffeine is a drug.  That is why we don't let kids have Mountain Dew all day long!!!  Caffeine robs your body of calcium.  So if you do drink a lot of coffee consider using a calcium supplement. Caffeine is an upper.  It will quickly raise your metabolism and then it also crashes.  So if you are drinking caffeine laden drinks all day long your metabolism will raise and crash all day long.  This is not good for your body.  Caffeine is also a diuretic.  It eliminates water out of your body.  Excessive caffeine intake can lead to hydration.  So just watch how much you are putting into your body each day. Caffeine is not just in coffee.  It is in tea, pop, and chocolate.  It is ok to have a pop now and then or drink your coffee in the morning, just use your caffeine in moderation especially if you are exercising or working outside on a hot summer day!

Tip # 9 FATS!!  That dreaded word that we hate to hear.  How much fat is in your food?  Besides switching to low fat dairy products there are other things that contain fat.  Some fat is needed in your diet but most of the fat we are consuming can be eliminated.  Read labels, switch to low fat snacks, bake foods instead of frying them.  You can take the fat out of a lot of baked goods by using applesauce, pumpkin, squash, or other pureed fruit instead.  Look for recipes that already call for those things.  They taste just as great without all the fat.  Use small amounts of oil when stir frying and try using non stick cooking spray instead of butter or margarine to grease pans.  You are not going to eliminate all fat out of your families diet, but by switching to better fats and things that are already low in fat will help!

Tip # 10  It is ok to Splurge!!  I think so many times that people fail when they diet is because they go without so long and then temptation overcomes them.  Then once they splurge they just keep going.  If your family is used to a dessert after your Sunday dinner don't take that away.  If your family is used to eating dessert after their supper each night just try for healthier options.  Maybe change to fruit, jello with some whipped cream, a low fat pudding, and then still have your piece of pie once or twice a week.  You can't try to make your family that is used to their sweets just give them up one day.  I read a cute saying the other day, it said "I love to run, because I love chocolate cake!!"  So don't forget to splurge and eat a little goodness here and there. 

These tips are meant to be tips to help you get started.  I am not a doctor and in no way pretend to be.  So feel free to research things on your own and see what is best for your family.  These tips will not make you lose 100 lbs in a month but will help you to start changing to healthier eating habits.  And remember to lose weight you need to be using up more calories than you are putting in.  So exercise is a key to losing those excess pounds. 

Here is to having a happy New Year and to start out 2012 by changing our families to healthy eating!!

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