Did you know that, on any given day, more than one in every three American children will eat fast food? Our bad eating habits seemingly start much sooner than we might think – as early as in our toddler years according to researcher Victor Fulgoni. Until about 9 months of age, our diets are pretty balanced, consisting of breast milk or formula, baby cereal and mashed up fruit and vegetables. At 10 months we are generally introduced to our first bite of cake while our first birthdays open up a portal to a land strewn with sodas, candy, potato chips, chicken nuggets, pizza and a whole array of other overly-processed foods. Judging by our early start at eating junk food, it is no wonder that we inherently find it difficult to make healthy food choices as we grow older. Luckily there is still a chance to become a responsible adult and parent, making small changes to your eating habits that will soon see your family following a healthier lifestyle without kicking up a fuss.
Set a good example for your children
As adults, we are required to set good a good example for our children, regardless of how hard it may be at times. Leading by example is one of the most effective ways to get your children to follow a healthy diet as children are naturally prone to copying their parents. Resist the urge to drink countless glasses of soda in front of your children, opting for a homemade lemonade or ice tea instead. Pack a healthy lunch for yourself for work and offer the children something similar for school. If everyone in the household is on the same page as healthy eating is concerned, it will be significantly easier to make permanent changes to your lifestyle.
Don’t buy what you can make yourself
As convenient as it is to reach for the nearest bottle of ketchup or a tub of yogurt, it is not the healthiest option for your family. Even seemingly healthy store-bought foods are often riddled with hidden ingredients that are not nearly as healthy as the manufacturers make them out to be. When you prepare your own meals from scratch you have complete control over what ingredients you use. You may be surprised to find how easy it is to whip up a batch of homemade yogurt or prepare your own healthier take on corn dogs or chicken nuggets.
Ensure you have healthy snacks in the house
While it is fairly easy to eat healthy at meal times, snacking is often a whole different ball game. Make sure there are a number of healthy snack options available to indulge in while watching TV, firing up the BBQ or to take along on a family road trip. Instead of potato chips, buy a packet of pretzels and bake a batch of oat cookies rather than buying a box of Oreos. Investing in a popcorn maker and an air fryer will go a long way in enabling you to make nutritious and delicious snacks any time a craving rears its head.
While it is of vital importance for you and your family to follow a healthy diet it is also important to not expect all the changes to happen overnight. Be patient with both yourself and your family, auctioning one small change at a time. Before you know it, you and your loved ones will be leading a healthy lifestyle without even sparing a thought for the unhealthy eating.