Healthy cooking at home is one of the best steps you can take towards a healthier lifestyle. By doing your own cooking you have total control over what ingredients are used and ultimately what goes into your body. Healthy cooking means eating a diet that is richer in nutrients, lower in fats, and does not go over the recommended daily sodium intake. When cutting back on the amount of sodium in your diet you will be more successful if you reduce it slowly. People get used to the flavor of salt and may find foods less desirable at first. This will change over time and will allow you to really begin to taste the foods you are eating instead of just the salt. Start by making changes that you and your family will notice the least. Using less salt in baked goods and only buying low or no sodium canned goods and frozen foods are a good place to start.

Canned soups that are low in sodium can have a pretty bland flavor, but can be easily doctored up with some no salt seasoning. Use a variety of salt free seasonings to increase flavor, and include a salt substitute. This can really make a difference. After you put a low sodium diet into practice for a while your taste buds will adjust and you will find many foods will actually taste better. With healthy cooking it is important to remember that reducing your salt intake to zero is not the goal. Vegetables and leafy greens contain sodium as part of their natural ingredients and our bodies require sodium to function. What is important is that you remain at or a little below the recommended daily sodium intake levels. The amount of sodium that experts recommend is less than 2300 mg per day, if you are 51 years of age or over that amount drops to 1500 mg per day. Most of the food prepared in restaurants is heavily laden with sodium, people like the taste of salt and it is the cheapest seasoning available. When eating out it is important to try to order items that contain a minimal amount of salt. To be serious about your health means that most of you meals should consist of healthy cooking at home. When learning to prepare meals, try using canned and processed foods as little as possible. Attempt to prepare meals that focus around whole foods, more fresh and natural foods that are low in sodium. Good choices are fresh fruits, vegetables, and salads. A good meal choice might be whole-wheat pasta topped with a low sodium tomato sauce prepared with a salt free garlic-herb seasoning and a nice green salad. Visit today to get more free information about healthy cooking, cooking tips, salt-free sugar-free seasonings, salt substitutes and recipes.

We hear it over and over from parents who use our plates. Kids see the visual, understand the message, and ask for more! KNOW THE POSSIBILITIES: As kids learn the way they like their fruits and veggies (cooked, dried, raw, frozen, blended, with salt, with cheese, etc.) they are more likely to choose them! For some, a blended smoothie would taste just as good as a milkshake! When they know that, they can choose that, because suddenly it becomes an option. Model this behavior (consistently) and you’ll see results! And when all else fails, get a neighborhood kid you know likes a certain food to come eat it with your family! We had a neighbor once tell my son that his favorite food was spinach! My son came home and asked for some spinach. Seriously, kids are funny that way! Somewhere along the line of growing up, we stop listening to our bodies hunger signals.

  • U.S. Healthworks
  • If license to practice is required in your area, make sure that the agency’s license is updated
  • Have a kitchen dance party once a day
  • It burns calories instead of storing them as body fat

Before long, we begin eating when we aren’t hungry, eating when we are bored, stressed, tired, moody, happy, or celebrating! Soon, eating beyond the feeling of comfort might become normal! When we eat for all these reasons, it’s easy to overeat, because we were never hungry in the first place! Sometimes, giving ourselves boundaries is the best way to return to mindful eating again. SIT DOWN TO EAT- Eating the right portions that our body needs, requires us to be tuned into our thoughts! Being distracted is the mother of mindless overeating. The easiest way to combat this is to have designated eating areas, like the kitchen table! Not only does this start a very important habit, but it also keeps the other areas of your house clean! Using dishes like MyPlate helps kids to have structure around their meals as opposed to sticking their hands in a box of cereal.

IDENTIFY WHY YOU ARE EATING It’s ok to eat for celebrations, traditions, and more, but being AWARE of the fact we are eating for a reason other than hunger is important to acknowledge and even say out loud! Helping kids become aware of their thoughts and motives for doing things is a huge step in learning to be accountable for our behaviors. One of the biggest parenting mistakes I’ve made is allowing my own inability to control my behavior, create poor choices in my children. When an event like Halloween, or even cookie making would happen, I found myself saying: “Better eat it all today! It won’t be here tomorrow.” What was I thinking? I was telling my kids to eat more than they wanted to because the item was in danger of disappearing. I created false scarcity because of my own inability to practice moderation. I’m happy to report, we are MUCH better at it! Now, Halloween comes around, and I challenge the kids to eat ONE piece per day!

They actually do it, and are happy to do it. I love that it helps them practice indulging, with the ability to be in control. A balanced meal is one that incorporates a small portion of every food group! Eating balanced meals is an important habit to learn because we are than able to obtain all the nutrients from food that help us grow and thrive. KNOW THE FOOD GROUPS! Learning what types of foods are in each food group and what they do for their bodies is the basic first step in understanding how to balance. The way I teach it is I ask for examples of “protien”, and then tell them that protein helps our muscles grow! Then, I ask for examples of grains, and I tell them “Grains help us run fast”. Then, I ask for examples of vegetables, and I tell them, “Veggies help us not to get sick!

Lastly, I ask for examples of fruits, and tell them, “The fiber in fruit helps us to digest all our food! ” When they know they should be eating from EVERY food group, they want to! Their growing bodies need something each one has to offer. THE SECOND HELPING RULE As my kids got bigger, and their appetite followed, they wanted seconds and thirds of their meals! They were always allowed to. I never limited food during a meal. HOWEVER, there was one rule…. If I didn’t have that rule, they would have seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths of the dinner roll! Rather, if they wanted another dinner roll, they also had to eat another portion of veggies, fruits, and proteins. USE SNACKS TO FILL THE GAPS The last practice that helps kids learn balance is the practice I call: Snacks to fill the gaps! When the kids are hungry between meals, instead of reaching for crackers, we do a quick inventory! The question to them is: have you had any veggies today? If no- the snack is a vegetable! Or have you had any protein today? If no- The answer could be to eat a hard boiled egg! Snacks aren’t just meant to tide the kids over till the next meal, snacks are meant to meet nutritional requirements to complete your day! This simple question helps them get there. So, there you have it! The THREE MOST IMPORTANT HABITS to teach your kids, as well as some practices that will help you achieve both! Our Choose MyPlate for kids is a great resource to reinforce these habits and help kids get on the path to making their own healthy choices that will last them a lifetime.


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