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The “Eat Right” Challenge: Planning Healthier Meals

Anne Kolker • MS, Registered Dietitian • Mar 07, 2011

Getting your family on the right track to eating healthy is always a hot topic during March, National Nutrition Month. This is the time of year where nutrition becomes a focus as schools are promoting healthy eating and the media is featuring healthy lifestyles topics. Everyone around the country is getting inspired to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here are some easy, helpful tips to get your family eating healthier meals.

Stop and Plan for the Nutrition Challenge

March is National Nutrition Month® and the American Dietetic Association reminds us to “Take the Nutrition Challenge and Eat Right”. Eating right means your family is getting enough nutrients from each of the five food groups. But with our busy schedules and lack of time, this can be challenging. The best way to ensure your family is ready for the Nutrition Challenge is by taking a little time to stop and plan for it. Thus “Eat Right” really means to “Stop and Plan.”

Planning your Family’s Healthy Foods

Now is a good time to make plans to eat healthier. You can sit down with your son or daughter and talk with them about the fun and importance of eating healthy. You can have them share what kinds of foods they ate during the week that were fruits and vegetables. It is important that the children are involved and part of the plan for eating healthy as a family. You will be surprised at what ideas and thoughts they have about how the family can work together to eat foods that are good for your b-
eat right family challengeody.
Once you’ve agreed on taking the eating right challenge, you can create your family's meal plan with many of their favorite foods. For example, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich could be for lunch and some stir fried chicken and baked fish will be served for dinner this Monday and Tuesday. Have the kids help select healthy side dishes and snacks, such as salads, veggies with pasta or whole wheat flour and low fat cheese.
This is a great time to start adding fruits and veggies back into your family’s main diet. Keep fruits washed and cut up, kids are more apt to grab and eat them if they are already prepared. Kids love to dip! Veggies are a great food to dip in a low fat dressing. Spread a little peanut butter on some celery with a few raisins on top and introduce 'Ants on a log' snack. Don't forget those wonderfully delicious smoothies! Encourage your child to color their plate with fruits and veggies.
At first, some kids may have some time adjusting their taste buds if they have been used to a lot of packaged foods. They may ignore the sliced bananas or grapes on their plates. But don’t fret. It may take several days for their taste buds to adjust but they will. Don’t forget to serve yourself some healthy foods filled with more fruits and vegetables. This will go a long way, remember children watch what food choices you make and by eating healthy foods you can help your child develop healthier habits!
Helping your family move to healthier eating habits does not have to be a difficult process. In fact, it is very important to keep it a fun and positive experience so that your child will remember these activities with fond memories and form positive associations when think of the word 'nutrition'. Habits take time to form and they take some time to change. So be patient and don't try to change too many eating habits all at once. One or two healthy eating habits goals is ideal. Happy Healthy Nutrition Month!










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Written by Anne KolkerWritten on Mar 07, 2011Last updated on Sep 30, 2013




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