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The modern family is a busy one. Between work, school, and extracurricular activities,  it’s hard to find time to cook healthy meals — and it’s even harder when you have to feed picky eaters!

But healthy eating is important — not only for you but also for your kids. The good news is that you don’t have to spend all your time in the kitchen to make healthy family meals. Here are some cooking tips to help you come together in the kitchen and sit down to healthy family meals every day.

Plan Ahead

Taking the time to plan out your meals at the beginning of the week will save you from last-minute trips to the store or, worse, picking up fast food on a busy weeknight. We’ve got some great recipes on our blog, or you can simply pull out your favorite healthy recipes from a cookbook. Plan out at least your weeknight meals, and then make a list of the ingredients you’ll need before heading to the grocery store. 

Cut Out Processed Foods

As you’re meal-planning, you can also plan for breakfasts, lunches, and snacks, opting for whole-food, unprocessed options that are low in sugar. Examples include celery with peanut butter, fruit, low-sugar yogurt, sliced carrots with low-sugar ranch dressing, and hard-boiled eggs. When you have a pantry and fridge stocked with healthy options, your family will be less likely to reach for a bag of chips or cookies. 

Your best bet? Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, avoiding the center aisles where processed foods tend to live. Also, read nutrition labels so you know what kind of macronutrients you’re getting, the proper serving size, and whether there’s any added sugar or artificial ingredients.

Cook and Eat Together

Getting everyone involved in meal preparation can make it more enjoyable not only to prepare meals but eat them, too! In addition to teaching children about healthy eating habits, cooking with kids provides a wonderful opportunity for parents to bond and interact with their children. Plus, it teaches children about the importance of nutrition, while also encouraging children to try new foods.

Here are some tips for getting kids involved in healthy cooking:

  • Have your child help shop for groceries and pick out their favorite fruits and vegetables.
  • When you’re prepping ingredients for meals, let older children help with chopping and peeling, while younger children help stir together ingredients or crack eggs.
  • Sit down and eat together. Mealtimes are invaluable for connecting with one another about the day’s events and prioritizing family time.

Drink More Water 

To encourage healthy habits at home, drink water instead of soda or juice. Water is the best beverage choice for adults and kids alike because it helps everyone stay hydrated and maintain good nutrition. Water also helps prevent weight gain by curbing appetite.

If your child doesn’t like plain water, try adding fruit slices, lemon wedges, or cucumber slices to liven up the taste. You could also try seltzer water or sparkling water with a dash of fruit juice and a fancy straw.

Make It a Habit

Healthy habits begin at home. It’s fun to have the occasional splurge meal, but getting into healthy eating habits is the best way to set your child up for long-term success. With a little bit of planning and some new kitchen staples, you can get into a healthy routine at home. For more help with healthy cooking, consider our personal chef services, prepared meal delivery, or virtual cooking classes! Contact Us to learn more.

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