Eating healthy is not always easy. Even if you tend to be on the healthier, more natural side, that can all fall apart when someone gets sick, or you get busy. It only takes one pizza night, and a fast food stop to derail you, and get your family off track.
Maybe you want to eat healthy, but aren’t sure how. Many of us grew up eating fast food, tv dinners, and lots of convenience meals. It can be hard to not pass that down to your family if that is how you grew up.
I didn’t grow up eating healthy, and did not know how to cook when I first got married. It took me awhile to learn how to cook from scratch, and now we mostly eat whole foods, and all homemade. It can be hard to keep up with that when we are busy though. Just these past few months we were out of the house almost every single evening. My 3 girls and I were all in a community theater musical and had rehearsals 5 days a week.
If I didn’t have a plan in place we would be eating out as many other families were doing. For one, we don’t have it in our budget to eat out, and for another, our bodies can’t afford to eat junk.
We are trying to keep our immune systems up by not eating things that are bad for us. I spent many days pre-cooking ingredients for quick, and easy meals, and cooking ahead for the week which helped a ton.
Are you wanting to eat better as a family? It can be done, and it is not that difficult. I have lots of ideas and suggestions that work well for our family, and there is no particular order to these, just pick a few and start from there. Then you will find it easier and easier as you go along trying to eat better.
Check out these 15 Ways to Eat Better as a Family:
1. Make a meal plan.
If you don’t have a plan in place it can be disastrous for trying to eat healthy. Meal plans are so helpful. Annette creates some amazing meal plans for our readers each month. They save so much time if you don’t like trying to figure out what to make.
I love the themes, which are fun and different. These are great for when you want to mix things up. Each meal plan has clickable links directly to the recipes. She includes Instant Pot meal plans too!
2. Let your kids choose meals.
We enjoy letting our children be a part of our meal planning. Some weeks I am so burnt out on making the decisions for everyone, that I just want someone to tell me what to cook. There are many times that we will let the kids choose what they want us to cook. This helps everyone out. I know that I am making foods that they like, and that they will actually eat. And I don’t have to come up with all the ideas for what to feed people each day.
3. Keep fresh fruits and vegetables handy.
I always make sure to have fresh fruit and vegetables available for when someone is hungry and needs a snack. Apples and oranges are always in our fridge. I try to grab bananas each week, and fresh berries when they are on sale.
We love seasonal fruit like peaches and plums, watermelons etc… My girls enjoy cutting it up and making fruit salad too. Same with veggies, we always have fresh veggies available and we like to make veggie trays for fun with different dips and hummus.
If you have lots of extra fruit that goes unused, you might want to incorporate it into recipes.
We have over a thousand fruit recipes in our Fruit Recipe Series!
4. Prep grab-and-go snacks at the beginning of the week.
I find that we eat more veggies if they are prepped ahead of time. I like to make little baggies of carrots, celery and broccoli that we can dip in ranch. These are great for lunches on co-op days and for my husband’s lunches at work. We do the same for fresh berries and grapes, and cheese and meat cubes for healthy lunch/snack ideas.
5. Cook extra meat for easy, healthy meals for lunches and snacks.
My husband loves to barbecue and usually runs the smoker on Saturday or Sunday each weekend. Whatever he is making for dinner that day, I will always throw in some extra meat. We love chicken quarters, or whole chickens, a pork roast etc… that meat can be shredded and saved for fast meals later in the week. The same goes for using the Instant Pot. I like to cook shredded chicken, and roast beef to use again later in the week for salads, burritos, sandwiches etc..
We have a great round-up of Instant Pot Recipes. All of these you can make with 5 ingredients or less!
6. Stop purchasing pre made snacks.
Pre-made snacks are expensive and they are full of sugar, salt and preservatives. Now there is a time and place for them, but you will save a lot of money if you don’t buy them. You can replace them with homemade granola bars and homemade treats.
7. Have your kids help you in the kitchen.
When your children help you cook, they get excited about food and want to eat it. This works great for picky eaters and helps to strike up conversations about what you are making and why it is important for your body.
8. Keep a garden.
Gardening is a great way to get your family involved in where your food comes from. There is just something about gardening that will naturally help you to start eating healthier. Fresh grown vegetables are so sweet. You will be surprised at how kids who normally frowned at vegetables will devour them when they grow them themselves!
9. Avoid fast food by packing lunches or meals when on the go
If we know that we will be out and about for long homeschool days, or extra curricular activities, sports, theater, dance etc… I always make sure to pack food. We keep a small cooler filled up with cheese, meat, fruit, veggies, etc… It helps to eliminate last minute stops and kids whining that they are hungry.
10. Don’t eat late at night.
Late night snacking puts on the pounds. Usually when you are tired you will reach for salty or sweet snacks which isn’t good on your body. Try to avoid eating past 8pm and instilling those habits in your children.
11. Talk about healthy eating choices.
Make sure that you are discussing healthy eating with your children and give them options to choose from. If they are craving something sweet encourage them to eat a piece of fruit and see what happens afterwards.
Water is life! We do not drink juice or sodas (except for a treat). Some of my kids drink milk, others do only with dinner. Everyone has their own water bottle that we fill up from our water filtration system. We are drinking water all day long and always make sure to fill up when we are going out the door. I have found that when my kids are cranky and they drink water, they feel so much better. The same goes for me too! It also helps when they think they are hungry, if they drink water it usually makes them feel less hungry.
13. Eat dinner together as a family as often as you can.
This not only creates healthy eating habits, it creates a healthy family habit. We have some great dinner conversations and memories at the family table.
14. Freezer Meals
Making freezer meals is a great way to have extra food on a busy day. You can incorporate your whole family in helping to create the meals. Make sure you keep a list of your meals on hand. This will help with meal planning and also help with an easy meal on a busy week.
We have so many freezer meal round-ups that will help get you started. There are over 250 recipes!
15. Have a treat day each week.
Allowing treats once in awhile is a great way to reward good choices during the week. We like to do a pizza night once a week, or an ice cream night. My kids love root beer floats, so that is always fun to do on a family night. It also creates lots of memories with your family.
Sarah is a wife, daughter of the King and Mama to 4 children (one who is a homeschool graduate)! She is a an eclectic, Charlotte Mason style homeschooler that has been homeschooling for over 16 years now. She is still trying to find the balance between work and keeping a home and says she can only do it by the Grace of God, and Coffee!