Changing habits and adopting a healthful eating plan is the secret to long-term changes. Healthy choices today create the life you live tomorrow. But, how to get from here to there is the big question. Some good resources to help make wise choices for healthful eating are www.eatright.org, www.mypyramid.gov and www.healthierus.gov.
Balancing calorie intake with calories burned can be tricky. See www.kidnetic.com for some great ways to be more active. Look for other Internet resources or consult a registered dietitian or health professional and start with simple guidelines like these for making lasting changes.
- Take Stock
- Keep a Journal
- Learn the Basics
- Learn to Read Labels
- Plan Healthful Snacks for Kids and the Whole Family
- Plan Ahead
- Be Realistic
- Stick with the Familiar
- Involve the Family in Planning
- Expect Some Setbacks
- Reward Yourself and Your Family – Schedule an activity that gets the family moving
Inventory the foods in the cupboard and refrigerator. Then, review these lists and remove food that is not low calorie, low fat, and high fiber. Begin to shop for nutritionally rich food alternatives and stock the house with better snacks and ingredients – like California Raisins.
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Keep a Journal
Now, it is time to get really serious about developing a healthful eating plan. Keeping a Journal will help make lasting changes in that direction for the whole family. When the family tries a new healthful recipe and it’s a keeper, jot it down or paste it in a journal so that you can find it again later. If you need a boost, reread your Journal to see just how far you have really come.
Learn the Basics
Variety – Eat foods from all food groups.
Quality – Eat more fruits and vegetables, whole and minimally processed grains, fat free or low fat milk products.
Moderation – Choose forms of foods that limit intake of saturated and trans fats, added sugars, cholesterol, salt and alcohol.
Activity – Be physically active at least 60 minutes every day.
Learn to Read Labels
The Nutrition Facts label is required by law for more than 90 percent of all processed and packaged foods. This panel, found on the back or side of the package, is designed to be a consumer-friendly, mini-nutrition guide. It features three important elements: serving sizes, amounts of nutrients per serving, and percent Daily Value of nutrients each serving contributes to a 2,000-calorie diet. Click here to see more at the California Raisins Nutrition label.
Plan Healthful Snacks for Kids and the Whole Family
Snacks count! And, calories add up in a hurry. Planning snacks with no more than 120 calories, with 20% to 25% of these from fat, less than 10% from saturated fat, and less than 10% from added sugars, can go a long way to keep kids happy and active and to avoid inadequate nutrition and overweight.
Plan! Plan! And Plan, some more. One of the real keys to healthy living is good nutrition and good nutrition comes from planning — meals, snacks and all eating occasions. Grab-and-go sounds good, but planning those grab-and-go snacks ahead of time, or at least providing nutritious alternatives, is vital.
It takes time to break (unlearn) old habits. Make changes a little at a time. Begin by setting a regular schedule for meals — and snacks. Sitting down together as a family for at least one meal a day has been shown to improve nutrition and reduce weight gain. Then, set realistic goals, such as resolving to have one more apple or another fruit each day.
Stick with the Familiar
Don’t throw out all the recipes your family loves. Improve them. Roast or bake meats and vegetables instead of frying. Reduce the amount of fatty cheese or sugars in some of your favorite recipes. California Raisins are a good way to sweeten many dishes without adding refined sugars.
Involve the Family in Planning
Get a new cookbook filled with healthy recipes — check it out from the library, borrow it from a friend, or purchase a new one. Then, let every family member select a recipe that they would like to try. Look for low fat, low cholesterol and low calorie alternatives to family favorites.
Expect Some Setbacks
The best-laid plans often go awry. If, in spite of everything, things do not work out perfectly, do not despair. Just get right back on track and continue to plan and work your plan. Eventually, it will become second nature and your success will be measured in a healthier family.
Reward Yourself and Your Family – Schedule an activity that gets the family moving
Schedule an activity that gets the family moving. By now, you should have mastered all the steps to making Wises Choices and healthy eating. It’s time to reward yourself and your family with a day at the water park, a day at the zoo, a visit to a local museum, an afternoon at the roller or ice-skating rink, a stroll in the country, or a day hike in the mountains. Remember to plan healthy, active outings and healthy nutritious foods for these occasions.