January 1 may have come and gone, but it is never too late to stick to healthy resolutions. This is especially true if you want to make healthy eating a priority. Eating the right foods is a good goal to have. That’s because eating healthy and staying active put you on the path to good health.

Now is a great time to start adding healthy foods into your diet. Start with small changes and work your way up. This may give you a better chance of sticking with your eating goals. Think of each little change as a small victory on your path to living healthier. Keep making these small “wins” and you will build a healthy eating style for yourself.

Here are some small changes to get you started:

– Fill at least half of your daily plate with fruits and vegetables. There are many different kinds to choose from. Be creative and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors, shapes, and sizes.

– Choose whole grains over refined grains at least half the time.

– Try to eat different kinds of proteins, like lean meats and beans.

– Cut back on high-fat foods. Start by eating one less serving each week until you are eating two servings or less of high-fat foods each week.

– Talk to your doctor about other ways you can make healthy food choices.

No matter your lifestyle, there are many ways for you to eat healthy. Do you need tips for family meals? Need ideas for how to eat healthy in a hurry? Or are you hoping to find ways to sneak more veggies into your day? If so, then keep reading.

Make meals a family affair

Share your healthy habits with your family and:

Involve your kids at mealtime. Eat your meals with your children when you can. You may even invite them into the kitchen to help prepare food or set the table. Then, turn off the TV and enjoy upbeat talks at the table.

Make food fun. Talk about the colors, feel, or flavors of foods to get kids excited about them.

Let kids be tasters. Your kids may not want to eat healthy at first. They might need a few tries before accepting a new food. Keep trying different healthy foods to find what your kids like.

Visit the food store together. Let your child pick out a new healthy food to try. Then ask what they want to make for meals that week. See if you can find ways to make healthier versions of their favorite foods. For example, you can bake instead of frying.

Forget the clean plate club. Instead of making kids eat a full plate of food, let them serve themselves small portions and ask for more if they are still hungry.

Sweets are “sometimes” treats. Treats should be just that — treats. These sweet and sugary foods are not for every day. Be sure to teach your child that cookies and other sweets are only “sometimes” foods.

Add nutrition, quick!

If you want to make a healthier meal in a hurry, try these tips:

Add frozen vegetables, such as corn, peas, edamame, or spinach to your favorite macaroni. Frozen vegetables are fast and easy, and just as healthy as fresh veggies.

Drink your veggies. Add uncooked kale, spinach, carrots, or collards to orange juice with pineapple or bananas. Blend well with ice for a tasty smoothie.

Add nuts or beans to rice and pasta dishes for added protein.

Instead of jelly or jam, use sliced fruit on your peanut butter sandwiches. Bananas, strawberries, apples, peaches, or grapes are all yummy.

Eat right for you and your baby

If you are pregnant, one of the best things you can do for your baby is to eat healthy. But remember, eating for two does not mean eating twice as much food. Give your baby important vitamins and minerals with a balanced diet by eating:

Nine to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, and pasta each day. Be sure to choose whole grains and brown rice options.

Four to five servings of vegetables. Try to make at least two servings green, leafy vegetables.

Three to four servings of fruit a day.

Three servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese a day.

Three servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.

Pregnant women should also drink plenty of fluids. Ask your doctor how much fluid you should get each day. For help with eating healthy during your pregnancy, contact the AmeriHealth Caritas District of Columbia (DC) Bright Start® program at 1-877-759-6883.

Sources: ChooseMyPlate.gov and Medline Plus

All images are used under license for illustrative purposes only. Any individual depicted is a model.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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