Healthy Eating for the Whole Family. What foods should you be feeding your family? How to plan and cook healthy meals.
Food is fuel
Did you ever hear the saying we are what we eat?
Our bodies function based on the fuel we feed it. When we fuel our bodies with processed, sugary foods that have empty calories, we are going to be running on empty, with little energy and struggling to get through the day. We aren’t going to last too long before our bodies give up on us.
Our food system is failing us
- Almost 30 million people in the United States have diabetes source
- 133 million Americans or 40% of the total population of this country are affected by a chronic disease source
- 2 million Americans, including 5.6 million children or roughly two in every classroom have food allergies source
- Childhood obesity is the most common chronic disease of childhood affecting more than 30% of children source
There are multiple factors to blame
- Fast Food
Fast food has become quite popular with our fast paced lives and over booked schedules. BUT… fast food is loaded with preservatives, it’s high in fat, and has empty calories. Fast food is deep fried in a corn based oil, which is the most unhealthiest oil for human consumption. It’s high in saturated fat which is a known contributor to heart disease. Even the “healthy” fast food options are not as healthy as you think.
- Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
GMO’s is a laboratory process of taking genes from one species and inserting them into another to obtain a desired trait or characteristic. Mixing genes is unnatural and produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens and nutritional deficiencies.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require safety studies, does not mandate labeling of GMO’s and allows companies to put their genetically Modified foods onto the market without notifying stores. 70-80% of the food we eat are genetically modified.
- Growth Hormones and Antibiotics
Many conventional farmed animals are given growth hormones to fatten them up and antibiotics to treat illness they encounter in their hazardous, overcrowded living conditions. These toxins are getting into our food supply and are having detrimental effects on our health.
- Artificial flavors, artificial colors, added sugars, natural flavors, high fructose corn syrup
Ingredient labels can be very overwhelming. But the more you read them and learn about the ingredients, the more comfortable you will feel in making educated food decisions.
What foods should I be feeding my family?
Whole foods or real foods have not been processed or refined. Some examples of whole foods that you should include in your diet are:
- Dairy – Milk, yogurt, butter, cheese
Foods free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s)
Unfortunately, as I stated earlier, foods are not required to label when they contain genetically modified ingredients. But many foods are labeling foods that DO NOT contain GMO’S..
You want to look for labels on your food that say:
- Non GMO
- GMO Free
- GMO Project Verified
- Organic – always free of GMO’s
Organic foods have the most nutritional benefits as they do not have pesticides, fertilizers and GMO’S like their conventional counterpart.
You want to look for labels that say:
- USDA Organic
- 100% Organic
- If a labels says “Organic” then at least 70% of the ingredients are organic
Conventional fruits and vegetables are often saturated with harmful pesticides. No amount of washing, scrubbing or soaking will remove the pesticides.
Here is a list of Fruits and Vegetables that according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG) contain the most pesticide residue AND you should ALWAYS buy organic.
2019 dirty dozen
- Hot peppers
The EWG also puts out a list of Fruits and Vegetables they identified as the“Clean 15,” which report the least likelihood to contain pesticide residue.
2019 Clean 15
- Sweet corn
- Sweet frozen peas
- Honeydew melons
Sweet corn and papaya sold in the United States is produced from genetically modified seeds. Organic varieties are recommended.
Grass Fed, Free of hormones, Free of antibiotics
When buying dairy and meat products you want to choose grass fed, free of hormones and free of antibiotics.
When buying eggs choose Free-Range, Pasture Raised and Organic.
When buying fish, opt for wild caught preferably locally sourced or from areas that are not highly polluted.
Now that we know what foods we should be eating let’s talk about ways we can optimize feeding our families healthy meals.
Healthy Eating for the whole family – How busy moms can incorporate healthy eating with their families
Having a set plan in place and knowing what meals you’ll be preparing, before preparing them is a game changer.
Benefits of meal planning
- Provide healthy, home cooked meals for your family
- Spend less money
- Save valuable time
- Reduce waste
- Improve your and your family’s health
- Achieve fitness goals – lose weight, gain muscle mass
How to meal plan
Sit down with your weekly schedule and create a meal plan that fits in your schedule. Plan for quick, easy meals on busy nights when your time is limited and plan meals that may take a bit more time to prepare on nights that are not as busy. I use my handy dandy bullet journal to keep my family’s weekly schedule and meal plans organized in one compact place.
Create a shopping list of the ingredients you’ll need as your planning your weekly menu.
The more you plan, the easier and less time consuming it will become.
Food Shopping can be a very daunting task, but with a meal plan in place and a set list of exactly what you need, you can lessen the burden.
Optimize your food shopping and shop with ease
- Go food shopping at off times when the crowds are minimal – early in the morning or late at night. (you might miss the freshest produce but if it means beating the crowds it might be worth it for you.
- Shop the perimeter of the store where all the fresh produce is and limit the inner isles where all the processed foods are. An exception to this rule is beans, spices, oils and pasta.
- Leave the kids at home. Bringing kids to the supermarket during your bulk shopping trip can be very distracting.
- On line food delivery services – There are are many grocery delivery services to choose from.
On line shopping reduces impulsive shopping
Allows you to compare products and sale items.
You can shop specific categories and a wide variety of organic and non-GMO options.
After your initial order is set up, re orders are super easy. You can add or remove items as needed and use coupons.
Many have apps you can download to your smart phone for super convenience.
One drawback to online grocery shopping is you’re missing out on incorporating extra movement into your every day life. Those steps during your supermarket visit can really add up.
- In store pick up – Many stores offer in store pick up. You can place your food order on line, and pick up it up at a designated time. It beats crowds, long lines and delivery charges. See what local stores in your area offer in store pick up.
Cooking healthy meals doesn’t have to be you spending hours in the kitchen cutting, chopping and preparing. With a little planning and preparation, you can have hot, healthy meals on the table every night of the week if you follow these steps
How to Work Smarter not Harder in the kitchen
Meal Prep – Spend a bulk of time on the weekends prepping, or break it down into timed increments the night before or the morning of.
Here are some ways you can meal prep prior to cooking:
- Wash and cut, chop or spiralize vegetables
- Roast vegetables
- Cook up grains, rice or beans. FYI, dried beans once cooked and cooled, freeze well
- Make dressings, marinades or sauces
Kitchen tools to help you work smarter not harder
Prep your food the night before, put everything in the crockpot and store it in your refrigerator overnight. The next morning turn it on and slow cook your food throughout the day. By dinner time you will have a healthy, hot meal ready to go.
The instant pot is a multi-functional cooker that is meant for busy moms to get weeknight dinners on the table. I have used it as a pressure cooker, to sauté, steam and slow cooker. It’s also a rice and yogurt maker. It makes things super fast and delicious. You can cook frozen foods in minutes.
An air fryer can fry, bake, roast and grill with little to no oil. It makes all your food crispy as if it were deep fried. I have been experimenting with healthy finger foods and I am always pleasantly surprised at how crispy and delicious everything comes out.
What are your thoughts?
Do you cook healthy meals for your family every night of the week? Did you find the content in this post valuable? Leave me a comment below
Hi there! I'm Danielle, mom blogger, visionary and dreamer.
I'm on a mission to help moms create a Simply Pure life of Joy + Balance + Optimal Health & Wellness for ourselves and our families.
My goal is to un-complicate life and provide moms with the tools and strategies to make informed decisions so you can live your best mom life. .
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