The Health Advocate

by Hannah Whittenly, The Health Advocate

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For the most part, people tend to eat either what is easy to make or what others have made for us.This is why fast food restaurants and company cafeterias are popular meal spots no matter the time of day. However, there are some steps that you can take to change your eating habits and influence others in your family to eat better as well.

Have Everyone Help Cook Dinner

Dinner is a meal designed to be shared by everyone in the family. Therefore, everyone should have a role in planning and preparing meals. The younger children may pitch in by making a salad or washing the vegetables while the adults can handle tasks such as cutting meat or putting meals in the oven. If you are too busy to eat at the same time each night, make enough food to last for the entire week every Sunday or at some point during the week. This is a great way for the entire family to develop healthy eating habits together!

Friendly Competition Can Spur Healthy Habits

To get the kids to adopt better eating habits, it may be a good idea to offer money or other rewards for each fruit or vegetable that they eat. Each week, you can challenge them to eat a certain number of servings to earn their prize. It may also be a good idea to take away points toward that reward for eating too much junk food.

Better Doesn't Have To Be Boring

You can eat healthy while still eating foods that you like. For instance, if you like chicken, feel free to chop up a chicken breast and mix it in with your salad. If you like rice, pasta or bread, you can eat those in small amounts each week to fend off cravings. Those who enjoy ice cream could swap it out for frozen yogurt.

Don't Obsess About a Number

The point of changing your eating habits is to get healthy as opposed to necessarily losing weight. While that may be a natural consequence over time, not everyone carries weight the same way or is necessarily unhealthy just because they look fat. Shaming others for their looks or bad habits can actually lead to eating disorders and make it harder for others to adopt or retain healthy habits. That is why it’s very important for you to go about encouraging healthy habits in a positive and unforceful manner. If at any point of your family’s health journey you discover someone developing an eating disorder, don’t hesitate to seek help from a recovery center like Center for Change.

In the long run, eating healthy can lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol and reduce body fat. It can also improve your mood, give you more energy and help to create a more confident individual. Through friendly competition and positive reinforcement, you can help yourself and your entire family make smarter choices about food.

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