The best tip to help busy families eat well? Plan, plan, plan!
Bridget Sutherland, RDN, joined FOX 61 Good Day Connecticut with this advice:
- Plan a weekly menu, plan your shopping trip, and plan your meals. This way you won't be running from point A to point B hungry, tired, and vulnerable.
- Eating as a family doesn't have to be a dinner at 6 p.m. for all of us, it may be a weekday breakfasts or weekend lunches, but do find some times during the week when the entire family can eat a meal together.
- Although some studies say eating organic is better, don't let that stress you out if you cannot afford it. If you can afford it, and you want to eat organic, go for it. But eating all types of fruits and vegetables is always better than eating none.
- It's okay to eat out, but maybe set some ground rules with your kids like "only water or milk" to avoid the sugar in soda or juice; or another rule is your can pick your entrée but you have to sub the fries with a salad or fruit or vegetable. Remember you're in charge.
- Even eating fast food can be okay, but again, limit the drinks and fries and "super" size options, the calories are the problem. Now we have Subway, Chipotle, and whole grain pizza shops to build better meals with.
- Instead of waiting in the car, take a walk (with the other kids, or bring a ball or Frisbee, etc) to sneak in activity.
- Meals at home on a Tuesday night filled with all sorts of activities are not going to look like what you see on the food network. There's nothing wrong with baked fish or chicken, a microwaved sweet potato or some brown rice and a steam fresh veg or side salad. We've turned cooking into a glamorous activity and it just makes us feel like "I can't do it, so why try?"
- If you have junk in the house, the kids and you will want it, save the treats and sweets for single use occasions instead of every day snacks.
- Food is to feed the body, to grown and be well, it doesn't have to be our comfort and excitement. Find other activities and set goals beyond eating, make a reward for good report cards is bowling vs eating out.
- Easy meal planning: write down Sunday through Saturday (or just the weekdays) and write down our breakfast options, things to pack lunches, and then your dinners (don't forget that family schedule!) - beef, chicken, fish, turkey, vegetarian, chicken, pork.....then add a whole grain/starch, then a vegetable (try to get every color in there), milk/beverages, and fruit and/or desserts. Look at the grocery store flyer and try match up your menu with what is on sale and then go shopping. Hang this menu up in the kitchen so the family knows the meal plan for the week.