Strategies for Healthier Family Eating this Year

healthy-family-eatingWith a new year, comes a whole set of resolutions and goals to attain to. It’s a mile marker to a fresh start. Fresh starts feel good, but when we don’t reach our goals or slowly falter, it’s easy to feel like a failure.

A couple of years ago, I set out on a quest for healthier eating. I never felt like I was a total unhealthy eater, but I wanted to take it a step a further and make some lifestyle changes around eating for the long-term. I learned many things along the way. If one of your resolutions for this year involve lifestyle changes around food, then I hope these strategies for healthier family eating will set you on a path for success!

1. Make your goals clear. It’s great to say I want our family to eat healthier, but what exactly does that mean? Eradicating sugar? No processed foods? Limiting carbohydrates? A clear goal will guide your menu planning and grocery shopping.

2. Don’t over achieve in the beginning. I found setting myself up for success involved making my goals attainable. If you put too many things on the list, it can cause you to feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Start with something you can build upon.

3. Don’t proudly announce all the ingredients you did or didn’t use. I learned this the hard way. When you make something healthy that tastes good, you feel proud, and you want everyone to celebrate in your success. “There’s no sugar in this! I made this with black beans instead of flour!” are efforts worth applause. However, little ones won’t always appreciate your fabulous spins on healthy eating. Mum’s the word if you want the family to eat instead of gag.

4. Always make a menu and a grocery shopping list. If you go to the store not really knowing what you will buy, then you are more likely to throw things in the cart that aren’t healthy. For me, it’s helpful to make a weekly menu and a weekly trip to the store, and I almost always go when my kids are in school. If they accompany me, it’s more likely they will ask to buy things that aren’t on the healthy list.

5. Remember that healthy eating isn’t necessarily the cheap option. Coupons are great, but the problem I have with coupons are the lack of healthy food options available. If you want to save money, plan your meals around what fresh produce is on sale that week, and remember you and your family’s health is worth a little extra dinero.

6. Stay strong! Lifestyle changes are not easy to make. They take work and effort. Some studies show that it takes more than two months to create a new habit. We like things to happen quickly but putting in the hard work, especially to create a healthier lifestyle around food, is something that’s worth every bit of effort.

Everyone needs a little encouragement. For when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the task of healthy eating, read these Scriptures and post them throughout your house. God wants to be our strength when we are weak, even when it comes to establishing healthier ways of living.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to poverty. Proverbs 21:5 (NIV)

I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14 (ESV)

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13 (ESV)

Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes. Isaiah 54:2 (ESV)

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21 (ESV)

YOUR TURN!

What healthy living goals do you have for your family this year? What scriptures will you use for encouragement?

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Wife, mother, lover of people, photographer, knitter, blogger and world traveler, Jen Price has traveled to dozens of countries, not merely as a tourist, but rolling her sleeves up and going well off the beaten path so that she might get to know the people, learn the culture, and find the heart of the place. In 2005, Jen co- founded Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to bringing hope and homes to thousands of children orphaned in sub-Saharan Africa. Currently she and her family live in South Africa. Jen continues to travel internationally, camera in tow, with more passion than ever to tell the stories of beautiful people the world sometimes forgets. You can check out her stories and photos on her blog, I Believe In Love. Website URL: http://www.jeremynjenprice.blogspot.com