Remember When Food Was Fun?

By Sandy Schroeder

Capturing those wonderful memories, when sitting down to dinner was a special time to enjoy a great meal with family and friends, could be a smart way to make food healthy and fun again.  

Those meals were filled with homemade breads, fresh fruits and savory vegetables, fresh picked from the garden.

Rethinking Meals

To go there again and improve your family’s health, start with your family’s favorite foods, and look for recipes that use healthy oils, low fat dairy, lean meats, fish, chicken and nuts. Then arrange family sit-down dinners, and feasts for friends and relatives.

When kids eat meals, where conversation and food share equal time, the whole food picture changes. Food may become fun again. And healthy dinners often turn out to be just as good, or better, than pizza and burgers.

Here are some more tips to make food healthy and fun.

  • Get Kids Involved -Take the kids with you to a farmer’s market and let them pick favorite fruits. On the weekend, let them try their hand at making pancakes or baking muffins.
  • Add Nuts to the Mix – Pick from hazelnuts, peanuts, cashews, almonds, walnuts, pecans and pistachios to get vitamins and fibers that are primarily unsaturated fat. Keep the calories down by serving small portions in place of chips and crackers loaded with saturated fats.
  • Pack a Few Lunches – Avoid franchise burgers, chips and pizza, substituting nuts, fruit, low fat cheeses and fresh veggie subs for lunch.
  • Rethink the Ratio – See if you can serve five or more vegetables and fruits a day. Find the ones your family loves, and keep adding new ones. Think in terms of new flavors and tastes, as you look for ways to serve cauliflower, kale, spinach, eggplant or cabbage.
  • Replace Whole Milk – You will be cutting saturated fat and calories as you move down the scale, to two percent, one percent, and non-fat if possible. Opt for low-fat choices in yogurts, ice cream and sour cream.
  • Expand Your World – Try taking your family out to try different foods from around the world. And encourage each member of the family to speak up about their favorite foods.
  • Dine in Too – Make meals festive with flowers, decorations and special recipes the norm, rather than a once-a-year holiday event.

Making food a healthy choice is always an individual effort, based on you and your family’s preferences. But rethinking the approach, to really savor foods, and enjoy sharing meals with others, could be a very healthy habit to acquire.

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