Prepare Meals at Home
If you don't usually cook, start gradually. Make it a goal to cook once a week and work up to cooking more often.
Planning ahead can help you make better food choices. Make a shopping list of recipe ingredients before you go to the store. Keep healthy staples on hand, such as dried fruit, whole wheat pasta, "no-salt-added" canned vegetables, and frozen seafood.
Experiment with healthy recipes and look for ways to make your favorite recipes healthier. For example, use the low-fat or reduced-fat version of dairy products like cheese and milk or replace sour cream with low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Also use spices and herbs to add more flavor instead of adding salt or fat.
Make a goal to include at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal and snack.
Offer new fruits and vegetables several times. Prepare them in different ways (raw vs. cooked, chopped vs. whole) to find the way your child likes them best.
Get cooking with your kids. It saves time and can be fun for all. A fun, "no-cook" recipe that kids enjoy making is trail mix. Have them measure out and mix the ingredients to make a colorful snack for when you and your family are on the go!
Build a healthy plate. Use the MyPlate dietary guidelines to learn more about the five food groups, the nutrients they provide, and the recommended servings per day.
Making a casserole, hearty soup, or pot of chili is a great way to combine a few different food groups into one dish! One of our favorite recipes includes turkey sausage, brown rice, beans, and vegetables, so you get your protein, whole grains, legumes, and vegetables all in one savory dish. It's called Dirty Rice and Blackeye Peas, and can be found on page 32 of the recipe book, Soulful Recipes - Building Healthy Traditions.
This is one of our favorite snacks to make for school events such as Family Night and Movie Night. It's a hit with students and parents alike! This recipe comes from the Flavors of My Kitchen recipe book featuring popular Latino recipes with a healthy twist. Enjoy!