Tips to get your family on healthy track

February 8, 2012 4:54:33 PM PST
Daily life can be a balancing act juggling work and home, and if you have kids then you have to worry about homework, too. It's no wonder families end up with terrible eating habits. But there's a way to get the family food plan back on track.

Dawn Lerman blogs about getting kids to eat healthy, and one of her suggestions is to involve kids in fixing the meals, whether it's cutting an avocado or making a salad.

"When they're cooking with you, they're invested in what they're doing. So they're going to try it because it's their work," Lerman said.

Research shows involving kids in the kitchen helps prevent pickiness. Consumer Reports magazine says when your family helps you in the kitchen, it's simply less hectic.

"A lot of small, simple switches can add up significantly," said Gayle Williams with Consumer Reports.

For example, swapping the Rice Krispies for Cheerios gets your day started with a more nutritious breakfast, including potassium and extra fiber.

"Whatever you're eating, opting for whole grain is always a smart move. And with cereal, top it with fruit -- fresh if you have it, but dried or frozen are a good choice, too," Williams said.

Lunch time? Trade in the YoCrunch Oreo Cookies n' Cream low-fat yogurt for Chobani Champions Honey-Nana Greek yogurt. It's protein-rich for kids, with nearly 25 percent fewer calories and five grams less sugar.

For dinner, give your lasagna a makeover by switching from Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna pasta to Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Lasagna pasta. Every two-ounce serving has triple the fiber -- at 6 grams -- and a little more protein.

"Very few people can cook every night, so when you do cook, double the recipe, so you can have healthy leftovers on hand," Williams said.

Another thing that helps reinforce healthy eating is eating together, something the Lermans try to do every night.

And when it comes to introducing healthier foods to you kids, research suggests you might need to offer it up to 15 times before kids actually like it.