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Good Food for Your Family
By Brigitte Cutshall

Good food is a global thing. There is always something new to try, and then you can learn how to make it yourself. My family prefers fresh home-cooked meals, and cooking together is great way to bond with them, too.

6 Ways for You and Your Family to Eat RightI grew up in Georgia, and my French mother didn't know (still doesn't know) how to cook southern food. What she prepared for us was influenced by her upbringing overseas. Lots of dishes that were veggie-heavy and things like bouillabaisse and couscous. We actually had real butter (not margarine) in our refrigerator, and soda was only allowed on special occasions. This influence had a big impact on me.

My mother used to call me the rabbit when I was young because of my preference to eat salads and vegetables. I seemed to have passed that on to my kids. One of my favorite stories to tell is my son's reaction after I returned from a 2-week business trip. My then 5-year-old son was so happy to see me. He greeted me with, "I'm so glad you're back! Now we can have some veggies. All dad made while you were gone was meat and potatoes."

It does take a lot of discipline to eat 'right' all the time, especially with the hectic lifestyles we all lead. No one is perfect, and it's okay to indulge sometimes. Because of that, many people want to know how to model a healthy and nutritious food regimen for their family.

Here's a list of 6 ways to ensure you have good food around for the family.

1. Be a good role model. Don't eat junk food and expect your kids to eat "healthy." You are setting an example and the kids will follow your lead. Try to focus on veggie-heavy dishes as the standard fare for dinner. Keep snack-time simple with fruits or hummus with baby carrots for dipping, for example.

2. Keep your pantry and fridge clean. By clean, I am referencing food that is not processed like artificially flavored chips or crackers. Keep items like apples, bananas or even string cheese around instead. If you don't have processed food available in the house, it's not there for your family to eat.

3. Read food labels carefully. A great example to use is almond milk. Switching from dairy milk to nut-based milk is very popular. Some brands add a "natural" ingredient called carrageenan to almond milk to make it thicker. Carrageenan is a known carcinogen according to the World Health Organization. And if you can't pronounce an ingredient, you probably shouldn't eat it.

4. Follow the 80/20 rule. This approach to eating is not really a diet but a lifestyle. Basically you eat healthy, real food 80% of the time and have treats (indulgences) 20% of the time. Healthy real food can be summarized as lean proteins, unprocessed whole grains, vegetables and fruits. You can then enjoy some treats that are less likely to have a negative impact on your waist and conscience.

5. Five ingredients or less rule-of-thumb. When you use recipes that call for fewer ingredients, it makes cooking less complicated and you are more likely to prepare meals at home. This is also a great way to introduce your kids to cooking and teach them about what goes into their food. We tend to learn more when we can keep it simple.

6. Just try it. This is a method we used when our sons were young when introducing them to new foods, especially vegetables... just try it. And if they don't like it, you can try again in 6 months or 12 months. You can prepare the food in a different manner or the same way. Peoples' tastes change over time. It's basically intuitive eating.

Food is what sustains us. Take the time to make sure it's good for you and your family. Don't you want to see what a difference ...    Continue

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