How to plan out healthy meals for your family

Did you know that according to the Center for Disease Control, approximately one-third of all adults living within the United States are considered to be obese? Add that to the 17 percent of children ages 2-19 who are significantly overweight as well, and we can certainly understand why you would be reading an article like this one. Indeed, one of the most loving things that you can do for your family is to plan and prepare meals that are healthy for them.

So, when your schedule is tight and your budget is even tighter, how can you go about doing that? We have five really easy tips that you can apply to your everyday eating lifestyle below:

Get fresh produce. Whether you go to a local grocery store or farmer’s market, it is essential that you spend a significant amount of time selecting fresh fruits and vegetables. That’s because produce, in its rawest form, is packed with the kinds of vitamins and nutrients that your family needs.

Go with whole grain cereal, bread and pasta. There’s nothing wrong with having some cereal in the morning or a turkey sandwich for lunch. Just make sure that the cereals, breads and pastas are made from whole grain ingredients. Whole grain foods significantly reduce your risk for stroke, diabetes, asthma and even gum disease. Plus, it also helps to maintain your weight and keeps your blood pressure down.

Make sure the meat is fresh and lean. One reason why a lot of people have meat in their daily diets is because it’s packed with protein. Although there are other ways to get the protein that you need (for instance, if you are vegetarian, you can get protein through beans, cheese and eggs), if you do decide to eat meat, make sure that it’s fresh and lean. Also, because the American Heart Association recommends that we all have at least two servings of fish on a weekly basis, also make sure to pick up some salmon, cod or tilapia that you can bake. (Yes, it’s best to bake meat rather than fry it as much as possible.)

Limit the amount of sugar. If you’re someone who would like to have a website that helps you to plan out your weekly meals, eMeals is a great one. The¬†menu plans from eMeals¬†makes it easy to budget out and also select what you need to get when you go grocery shopping. As you are walking through the aisles at the store, try not to spend a lot of time where the cookies, cakes and other forms of dessert are. It’s OK to have something sweet every once in a while, but try and not have bags and boxes of options in the pantry for your family to snack on throughout the day. That can pile up their sugar intake which can lead to weight gain and also tooth decay.

Have everyone share some of their own meal suggestions. Sometimes family members, especially kids, frown upon eating healthy because they see it as being boring. Next time that you have a family meeting, ask everyone to share some of their favorite meals and then encourage them to go online and look for healthy ways to make it. For instance, if fried chicken is mentioned, there are oven-baked fried recipes or if it’s pizza, look for crust that is made with whole grains and perhaps make your own tomato sauce. Eating healthy can be fun. It just requires the right amount of planning.

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