Tonight you have a choice for a healthy dinner for your family. Which of these is the best restaurant idea, Japanese, vegetarian, steakhouse, or seafood? The answer is none of the above. Research shows that for the healthiest meal, eat at home. One reason is that there are often menu choices that you don't usually make at home, such as fried foods, highly salted foods, or high caloric foods with little nutritional value that taste good that are tempting. Another reason is that since families are the most comfortable and happy at home, the meal planner tends to make healthier choices there. The reason behind this is that there is comfort and happiness associated with home cooking. That happiness triggers healthier eating.
Make dinner time for your family social time. Take at least 40 minutes to eat, which will help keep you from over-eating. When you introduce different foods that maybe your family hasn't tried before, talk about where they come from and nutritional value, or compare it to something similar you know they like. Try pairing a new food or one they don't like with something you know they like, such as celery and peanut butter, broccoli and cheese, or peas mixed into mashed potatoes. Reward your children for tasting a new food. Don't get in the habit of making another meal for a child who won't eat the one you prepared. Chances are, the second meal will be much less healthy. As a general rule, the more work that goes into preparing a meal, the more healthy and less processed it is. That means, if you use fresh ingredients to make something of your own instead of popping something into the microwave, or getting it out of a box, it will be better for your family. Get your kids involved in preparation. They will be more likely to eat something they helped create. Since we eat a lot with our eyes, try to include as much color as possible and make dishes as good to look at as they are to eat. It is important to teach your children from a young age as much as they can understand, about the importance of eating right. They will usually naturally eat foods all their lives which were given to them early in life. It is very difficult (but not impossible) to change poor eating habits as they get older. This is one of the best things you can do for your children to help them live long, and with fewer medical complications that is a result of a poor diet.