Do you desire to pursue better health? My purpose for sharing 5 Practical Ideas for Improving Your Diet is to provide encouragement for your health journal and pursuit.
The practical ideas written below were taken from my families lifestyle. I know what it is like to juggle multi schedules, responsibilities and appointments.
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What is the most frequently asked question by friends and readers?
How do I eat healthy and encourage my husband and teenagers to eat a healthier diet? Here are 5 ideas to get you and your family started on improving their diet. Without fighting or coercing. Hopefully after you incorporate these ideas you will see a change in their attitude. Perhaps they will desire to use diet as a tool to living a healthier life.
1. Start with 1 meal at a time!
Respect your preferences and the preferences of those that dine with you. We all have ideas on what tastes good. For some it could be scary to think about throwing away all the boxed cereal or their favorite snack bars all in the pursuit of health. (Although not a bad idea to replace those items with healthier choices.)
Communicate with family members and express to them that you care about the health of your body and want to move towards meals that are rich in nutrients. My biggest suggestion is to begin by focusing on one meal.
What meal would make you most successful?
- How well do you function in the morning? You might chose to improve breakfast. Breakfast could consist of cheesy omelets, fried eggs & chicken sausage, scrambled eggs with veggies, or even pumpkin pancakes. So delicious!! For breakfast recipes check out Quick Healthy Breakfast Ideas.
(Just for fun fact: an organic free-range chicken egg contains all the vitamins you need except vitamin C.)
- Lunch might be the meal of choice! It can be prepared the evening before if you need to pack it for school or work. You will need to have nutritious food available for making yourself and everyone else successful. Wraps are fun, allow for personal choice, and you can really fill them up with great food! Chicken wraps with lettuce, sliced carrots, slices of raw cheddar cheese, tomatoes and even some hummus. Include the option of bringing a homemade snack bar or oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. (Note: In our family we buy whole wheat wraps for my husband and coconut wraps for the rest of us. )
- My family looks forward to sitting down to eat dinner together! Often times, it is the wonderful smells of dinner that bring much anticipation. A whole chicken roasting, venison chili or even a beef stew…….yum! I love planning a meal to be cooking in the crock pot, it fits perfectly with a busy day. Whenever everyone makes it to the table; dinner is ready. What kind of food does you and your family enjoy? Would they be open to trying a new soup? While you are enjoying a meal together, discuss favorite wholesome vegetables, meat choices, and even entreés.
Hopefully with much communication and love you all can adjust to eating meals that are nourishing to the body.
2. Healthy Substitutes
Begin to replace sugary drinks with water, iced sun tea, or herbal tea. How many times do you drink a glass of juice, buy a soda pop, or purchase a sweetened coffee? Conscientiously give up one drink and replace it with water. (Note: own a refillable water bottle). Eventually the amount of water drank in a day will be more then a sugary option.
Set goals! When you set goals, it gives a date to be free of sugar based drinks. Plus you’ll be amazed at how much money you will save! During the winter months, three out of the four of us, enjoy herbal teas. I purchase a variety, like Yogi Green Tea with Kombucha, Traditional Medicinal’s Chamomile and Lavender Tea, Yogi Stress Relief tea, or even Tulsi Holy Basil tea.
During the summer months, I brew sun green tea or herbal tea on the deck. Hibiscus tea is a favorite, as it naturally relaxes! We even replaced orange juice with home brewed Kombucha tea. A glass of effervescent ginger kombucha……. what a refreshing way to begin the day!!! Simple recipe for brewing Kombucha from your home.
3. Provide Nutritious Food Options
Plan nutritious snacks. At the beginning of the week or whenever you grocery shop plan to have fresh food available.
- carrot slices, celery sticks, and pepper sticks to be eaten with homemade hummus.
- unsweetened coconut milk yogurt with homemade granola or fresh raspberries.
(A favorite of my teenagers.)
- trail mix ingredients like, jerky (we like Epic jerky), organic peanuts, raisins, salted sunflower seeds and raw pumpkin seeds. We have a tree nut allergy in the family, so tree nuts are not an option.
- organic homemade oatmeal snack bars.
- Plantain chips with homemade or store bought organic salsa.
- boiled eggs with Real sea salt.
- Fruit! Apples, bananas, and berries make a great snack.
4. Dine at Home
Plan to eat at home. Eating meals at home takes planning and preparation. Once you establish a meal plan and develop new habits, you will enjoy the flexibility of eating at home. It is extremely hard to eat healthy outside the home, not impossible, just a challenge. Most restaurants serve meat, fruit and vegetables that contain sugar, preservatives, and additives to make them look fresh. It is amazing that even the vegetables contain sugar!
Occasionally our family will take a guess at how much our “plate” would cost at a restaurant, just for fun! For example, a large organic grilled chicken salad. We would have organic grilled chicken tenders, several organic salad ingredients, Bragg’s organic vinaigrette, and topped with shredded raw cheese. We might have a side of cheesy grain-free biscuits and organic pumpkin pie for dessert.
Eating your meals at home will be more challenging for some then others. You can be successful in this area too!! When you do choose to eat at a restaurant, do your homework. Check online for the types of food they serve and you might even call to check to see about sugar-free options. Grilled local fish is one option here in Michigan. Once you find a restaurant or two that serves healthier food, enjoy your special evening.
5. Food is Fuel
Since food is necessary for life; develop the life giving skill of meal preparation. Involve your family and friends.
It is not easy to surrender your kitchen to beginner cooks, but worth it! My teens are quite comfortable in the kitchen. In their earlier years, I had to actually leave the kitchen so they could learn and experiment on their own. They are just like the rest of us; they need to start somewhere & they need to practice. Now, they are proficient in following a recipe & serving a nutritious meal we all savor.
My husband’s expertise is in meat preparation, particularly when it involves wild game he caught or wild fish he brought to the table. He delights in preparing the meat for the grill as well as cooking up fresh perch in a cast iron skillet.
We all need to eat! Set up yourself up and your family to feel comfortable practicing in the kitchen so they can hone in on the valuable skill of serving nutritious food!
I implement these 5 ideas to encourage my teenagers and husband to eat a healthier diet!
- Focus on making one meal at a time nutrient dense.
- Give up sugary drinks, take the first step and replace one drink with a glass of water, and then make it two drinks, etc. Encourage each other!
- Snacks! We all love snacks, and they can provide added nutrition and energy to our days. Prepare to have healthy snacks and snack ideas on hand for successful eating!
- Delight and enjoy preparing food at home. It is a healthier choice and will bring much fun and laughter to the table.
- Lastly, enable other family members to develop the skill of preparing healthy food. It is a great exercise in patience, but very rewarding!
Take one meal, one snack and one day at a time!
Which one of these ideas could you implement? Do you have ideas in place right now that enables your family to eat more nutrients? I would love to hear from you! I genuinely believe that you can be successful in this area.
Please share your success here, so we can encourage one another in this pursuit of consuming food rich in vitamins and minerals.
Have the Courage to Live Well,