February 26, 2015
Busy schedules can make finding time for healthy family meals a challenge, but when we opt for convenient and quick options like “fast food” or eat at different times, we lose the opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones and support our health and well-being.
When all members of the family are engaged in planning, cooking and then sharing regular, nutritious meals—be it breakfast, lunch or dinner—caregivers can take advantage of this time spent together and nurture children’s development by serving as positive role models, strengthening family relationships and setting healthy habits to promote children’s health and wellbeing later in life.
At the Y, strengthening community is our cause, and strong families make for strong communities. March is National Nutrition Month® and a good time to consider how changing up your meal routine can strengthen your family’s health and well-being. Here are a few helpful tips for making healthy family meals a priority:
Hold a Weekly Planning Party
Gather the family around some healthy snacks and hold a meal planning party where everyone helps plan healthy family meals and creates a grocery list with needed ingredients. Involving children in selecting ingredients may make them more receptive to trying new foods and recipes.
By preparing meals together, caregivers can teach kids about what goes into making a nutritious meal while also imparting useful skills and spending quality time with them. Break tasks down into manageable pieces and encourage children to touch, smell and taste ingredients. Have fun and let everyone experience how good it feels to work together.
Enjoy and Relax
Mealtime is perfect for family conversation. Engage kids in conversation that excites them and spend time talking about the meal they helped plan and prepare. This should be a time when everyone feels connected and part of the family.
To learn more about how the Y nurtures strong, healthy families, visit ymca.net/healthy-family-home.