Preparing meals at home is the first step for a healthy lifestyle

11 Apr

Prepimages[4]aring and eating meals at home is an important step toward eating healthy. You can have easy, quick, and healthy meals at home. Just keep it simple with these four steps: Plan, shop, fix, and eat.

Plan

  • Keep a list of the things your family likes to eat. Set aside 30 minutes to plan for the next week.
  • Make a list of the main dish and the side dishes that you will serve for each day of the week. Select recipes that have few ingredients and that use quick cooking techniques.
  • Post the menu on the refrigerator.
  • Get input from your family members. Use your list of everyone’s favorite foods, including main dishes, salads, vegetables, fruits, and desserts.
  • Look in cookbooks, newspapers, Web sites, or magazines for quick main dish and side dish ideas. Add them to the list. File recipes in a file, box, or loose-leaf notebook.

Shop

  • Shop regularly, whether once a week or once a month. This saves time, gas, and money.
  • In-season fruits and vegetables are less expensive and taste better.
  • Visit local farmer’s markets or farm stands for lower prices and better quality.
  • Stick to the list. You are less likely to overspend and less likely to forget ingredients you may need for your week’s menus.
  • Don’t shop hungry. Eat a snack, or go shopping after eating a meal.
  • Get the kids involved by letting them choose a new fruit or vegetable that they’d like to try or an old favorite.

Fix salad-istock-TaylorLittle[1]

  • Stick to your plan.
  • Wash and prepare fruits and vegetables in advance.
  • Make extra of a main dish for another meal.
  • Add a favorite canned or frozen fruit or vegetable to any main meal.
  • Check your meal plan each evening, and take out frozen meats the night before. Place them in a dish in the refrigerator to thaw safely for the next day’s dinner.
  • Get the kids involved. Fixing meals can be fun for the whole family. Children are more likely to try new foods if they help get them to the table. Safety comes first. Encourage good hand-washing.

Eat

  • Eat together: Make eating together a family priority. Mealtime is a great opportunity for parents and kids to be together. Remember that kids often take more time to eat than adults do. Take your time through dinner, and enjoy the extra few minutes sitting at the table before cleaning up.
  • Turn off the TV: Turn off the television, radio, cell phone, and beeper so everyone can focus on the conversation without distraction. Let the answering machine pick up calls, or turn off the phone ringer to avoid dinner interruptions.
  • Share events of the day: Ask each person at the table to talk about a fun activity or something good that happened that day. It is a wonderful time to catch up on special school events or achievements of the kids in your family.
  • Make healthy choices: It is easier to make healthy choices when meals are prepared at home and families sit at the table together to share that meal. It is a good time to talk about and model healthy eating, portion sizes, and trying new foods.
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