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How To Start Eating Healthy As A Family

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Learning how to start eating healthy as a family can be hard. Use these tips on how to start clean eating for families to kickstart your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

How To Start Eating Healthy As A Family

Hi there – I’m Chantal.

Welcome to Ironwild Fitness!

I’m a mom of two, a certified personal trainer, and a certified nutrition coach as well.

But don’t let that fool you.

I have wrestled with how to eat healthy as a family time and time again, despite my knowledge in the areas of nutrition and fitness.

I am just a regular person with a busy family, and I really am no stranger to the struggle of healthy eating.

Especially when it comes to getting my family to eat healthy.

While it seems like other personal trainers and nutrition coaches are making healthy choices like it’s no big deal, I have a long history with emotional eating and knowing what to eat.

In fact, I actually became a personal trainer and nutrition coach on a personal quest to learn about food and fitness so that I could use that information for myself and my family.

It was all about my own knowledge and accountability, but it eventually grew into much more.

Once I realized how many people needed help in this area, I decided to dedicate my whole life to helping people in the areas of exercise, mindset, and nutrition.

I recently created an online nutrition course jam-packed with information on food mindset, exercise science, and nutrition education so that I could pass that knowledge on to women like myself.

how to start clean eating with kids

Anyhow, the point is that if you’re here to learn how to eat healthy as a family, I totally get it.

Not only have I had my own personal struggles with clean eating, but my husband is a very picky eater (obnoxiously), and my son is following the same pattern.

Luckily, my daughter is a pretty open eater when it comes to trying new and healthy foods, so I have that going for me.

However, I have learned that eating healthy as a family is a continuous (endless, if you will) effort that requires a ton of intention and planning.

You really have to dedicate yourself to it if you want to learn how to start clean eating with kids and then actually stick to it.

I have written about the ideas of long-term goal setting and mindset at length, but if there is any one thing I really want you to know about changing your life it’s that it takes time.

If you’re a mom, you know that taking care of yourself is already a challenge, but being in charge of the well-being of others is a totally different ballgame.

It’s tough.

But your efforts are worth it!

I just want to make sure that you understand that learning how to start eating healthy as a family will take time and a concerted effort.

It can be easy to get swept up in motivation and want to overhaul your life overnight, but it just doesn’t work that way.

So don’t get discouraged when you are tired and frustrated by the amount of initial effort it takes to change your family’s life for the better.

🙂

It’s a heavy weight to bear, but a mother has the greatest influence on her family’s health than anyone else.

Moms are likely to do the most cooking and grocery shopping, so you already know how this might be true.

But there are many other reasons why you should embark on this journey of learning how to start clean eating for families.

I’m going to talk about those first, then we’ll talk about the different strategies that will help you start eating healthier as a family.

(Skip ahead a bit if you’re just here for those – I promise I won’t be offended!)

Psst! I recently created an online nutrition course jam-packed with information on food mindset, exercise science, and nutrition education so that I could pass that knowledge on to you. Check it out!

Here are eleven reasons you should start learning how to eat clean as a family:

1. It Promotes Overall Wellbeing

Adopting a healthy eating lifestyle as a family contributes to improved physical and mental well-being. (But you already knew that.)

Nutrient-rich foods provide essential vitamins and minerals that support overall health and help prevent chronic diseases.

However, I would argue that learning how to eat healthy as a family also helps your children develop self-respect, confidence, and self-awareness. These are important things to carry into adulthood!

2. It Establishes Lifelong Habits

Learning to eat healthy as a family instills good dietary habits in children from an early age.

These habits are likely to persist into adulthood, promoting a lifelong commitment to nutritious eating.

If you have struggled with your weight as an adult (or a child), don’t you want your kids to skip that whole thing? I do!

It’s up to you to equip your children with healthy habits so that they don’t struggle with their weight or food later in life.

You Might Also Like: 75 Healthy Habits That Will Change Your Life

4. It Enhances Energy Levels

A balanced and nutritious diet helps maintain stable energy levels throughout the day.

This is particularly important for children, as it supports their growth, development, and sustained energy for daily activities.

When their bodies and brains are trying to focus, they absolutely need the best food possible!

5. It Strengthens Family Bonds

Preparing and enjoying healthy meals together fosters a sense of togetherness.

(Assuming you involve your kiddos in the process of healthy eating.)

It provides opportunities for communication, bonding, and sharing, creating positive family experiences around the dinner table.

Related Reading: 11 Fun And Healthy Family Fitness Activities For Active Bonding

6. It Improves Cognitive Function

I touched on this once already, but proper nutrition is crucial for optimal brain function.

A diet rich in nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamins, supports cognitive development and may enhance learning and memory.

If your family is eating mostly processed foods, your kids are likely lacking in some essential nutrients.

7. It Helps With Weight Management

I hate to talk about weight when it comes to kids, but it’s not something we should ignore, either.

Teaching healthy eating habits can contribute to maintaining a healthy weight for all family members. This is important for preventing obesity-related health issues and promoting overall fitness.

Plus, more and more kids are bullied for weight issues, and that is something that I personally would rather avoid when it comes to my children.

Related Reading: Ways To Encourage A Healthy Body Image In Children

8. It Teaches Food Awareness

Learning about different food groups, portion sizes, and the nutritional value of foods encourages food awareness.

This knowledge empowers family members to make informed choices about their diet.

Then, when kids go forth into adulthood, they are empowered to eat according to their nutritional needs instead of just for pleasure.

9. It Develops Cooking Skills

Involving the whole family in meal preparation not only teaches essential cooking skills but also encourages an appreciation for the effort and thought that goes into making nutritious meals.

When your children become adults, home cooking suddenly becomes an important life skill that will help them in many ways.

10. It Saves Money

Cooking and eating at home with wholesome ingredients can be more cost-effective than relying on convenience foods or dining out regularly.

It allows families to make budget-friendly yet nutritious choices.

Plus, this has the potential to help your child with personal finances when they transition to adulthood.

11. It Sets a Positive Example

Children often model their behavior after their parents.

By prioritizing healthy eating habits as a family, parents become positive role models, influencing their children to make healthier food choices as they grow older.

Again, I believe that modeling this healthy behavior empowers kids to have more respect for their bodies, which leads to a number of other healthy habits and better mental health.

Phew. That was a lot.

Let’s get on with my tips on how to start eating healthy as a family.

how to start eating healthy as a family

How To Start Eating Healthy As A Family

Here’s a detailed list to help you get started on eating healthy together:

1. Plan Family Meals Together:

Sit down as a family and plan your meals for the week. This way, everyone gets a say in what they’d like to eat, and you can ensure a balanced variety.

Tip: Let your kids use Pinterest to get inspired to try new things! This makes it SO much more fun.

Just trust me when I say that when it comes to eating healthy as a family, planning is key.

Related Reading: How to Organize Your Refrigerator for Healthy Eating

2. Grocery Shopping as a Family:

Make grocery shopping a family affair.

Take the kids with you and involve them in picking out fruits, vegetables, and other healthy items.

This not only educates them but also makes them more likely to try new foods.

If you’re not sure what to pick out, be sure to check out this article on how to make healthier grocery store swaps easily.

3. Stock Up on Healthy Staples:

Keep your pantry and fridge stocked with wholesome staples like whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and veggies.

This makes it easier to prepare healthy meals without resorting to fast food.

If you’re serious about clean eating as a family, wash, chop, and prep fresh fruits and vegetables each week.

I do this with berries and things like carrots and cucumbers, and it helps the kids make better food decisions more easily.

4. Cook Together:

Get the whole family involved in the cooking process.

Assign tasks based on age and skill level.

Even young kids can help with simple tasks like washing veggies or setting the table.

5. Try New Recipes:

Experiment with new recipes to keep things exciting.

Look for healthy alternatives to favorite family dishes, or try out cuisines from different cultures. It can be a fun learning experience for everyone.

If you need inspiration, check out these healthy sheet pan dinner ideas.

6. Limit Processed Foods:

Gradually reduce the intake of processed foods and sugary snacks by making healthy foods increasingly available.

Opt for whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible. This can improve your family’s overall nutrition by a ton!

Here are some healthy snacks you can prep ahead of time to keep you on track!

7. Hydrate Together:

Encourage water as the primary beverage for the family.

Limit sugary drinks and sodas to once per week. Infused water with fruits or herbs can add a refreshing twist.

Or, you can try flavored seltzer waters as an alternative to soda. (This is what we do!)

Need help encouraging everyone to drink more water? Here are helpful strategies to get your drinking more water.

8. Mindful Eating:

Practice mindful eating as a family.

Sit down together without distractions like TV or phones.

(Did you know that people who watch TV while eating are more likely to be overweight? This is because they are not paying attention to their food intake and hunger cues!)

Enjoy your meals slowly, savoring each bite. This can lead to better digestion and help recognize hunger and fullness cues.

9: Schedule Regular Family Dinners:

Set a routine for family dinners. Even if it’s just a couple of times a week, having regular family meals promotes communication and strengthens family bonds.

We do try to do this most of the time (except for basketball season) and even take it a step further by adding one more rule: No hanging around the kitchen and snacking after dinner.

10. Be a Positive Role Model:

Children often model their behavior after their parents. Be a positive role model by making healthy food choices yourself.

Kids are more likely to adopt healthy habits if they see their parents doing the same. This is seriously one of the most important things you can do if you’re serious about learning how to start eating healthy as a family.

11. Educate and Involve Kids:

Teach your children about the importance of nutrition and the benefits of different food groups. Involve them in simple activities like reading food labels or helping with meal planning.

It’s a slow process, but it’s totally worth it!

If you struggle with getting your kids to eat veggies, check out this article.

12. Celebrate Achievements:

Celebrate small victories as a family.

Whether it’s trying a new vegetable or sticking to a healthy eating plan for a week, acknowledge and reward the efforts made toward a healthier lifestyle.

13. Start A Vegetable Garden

I am 100% pro-vegetable gardening and it’s not a secret. 🙂

I fully believe that a key component in eating healthier as a family is sourcing your food locally.

(And it doesn’t get more local than the backyard!)

I even wrote a whole article dedicated to how I believe that starting a vegetable garden can help you lose weight.

It’s just a really fun way to help kids understand the miracle of food, where food comes from, and just how much work goes into growing food.

Plus, it’s fun!

If you aren’t able to keep a garden, consider taking weekly trips to your local farmer’s market as a family.

That’s it!

Hopefully, now you have some solid ideas on how to start eating healthy as a family.

Remember, the key is to make the process enjoyable and sustainable.

Small, gradual changes tend to be more successful in the long run.

Happy healthy eating!

Until next time,

Chantal

(Click here to find me on Pinterest!)

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