As a brand new writer for YummyMummyClub, I am thrilled to have a comfy place to share all the fun that goes into raising a house full of daughters and the simple secrets I’ve learned along the way that keep my family healthy, active and outdoors.
Like you I’m busy being busy with work during the day and on the move chauffeuring kids around to a zillion activities at night. No time to clean, to cook, to shop or to read, so I’ve found some simple ways to get the kids involved in making school lunches (so I don’t have to), to serve spinach for dessert ('cause no one here will eat it otherwise), found the perfect gadget to make them think washing floors is cool, and taught them a healthy way to make their own mac 'n cheese.
I look forward to sharing my secrets and hearing yours, because it takes a village to raise healthy families and keep pace with our active kids. Here are five things I like to incorporate into our meals to help seek balance:
Eating healthy can seem so daunting, and turning out 3 balanced meals a day nearly impossible, but it doesn’t take a degree in nutrition, an extensive cookbook collection, or a detailed menu plan to do it. Thank goodness, because I’m too tired and too busy for all that!
Keeping school lunches and weeknight meals simple when families are in a hurry is key and including these 5 essentials will go a long way to making the meals we scramble to put together balanced and a little more nutritious.
The center of every meal should be a source of protein and that doesn’t have to be red meat. Protein is an important building block for bones, muscles, skin and blood but unlike fat and carbohydrates, your body does not store protein so you need a steady supply from each meal.
Protein for dinner: fish, chicken, tofu, cottage cheese, beans, peas, or quinoa are perfect.
Protein for lunch: cheese, tuna, nuts, roasted chickpeas or edamame beans.
Protein for breakfast: eggs, oatmeal, Greek yogurt, peanut butter and chia seeds are loaded with protein.
Fiber keeps you feeling full, prevents heart disease, helps regulate blood sugar levels and aids in digestion by keeping things moving. The average female needs 25grams of fiber a day and most men need 38grams, yet the average intake for adults is only 15grams.
Fiber for Dinner: peas, sweet potato, broccoli, okra, barely, bulgur, whole grain pasta, rice.
Fiber for Lunch: leafy greens in a salad, beans, hummus, pears, roasted chick peas or edamame beans.
Fiber for Breakfast: oatmeal, raspberries, blackberries, prunes, whole grain cereals.
Calcium is just as important for preventing brittle bones in adults as it is for growing healthy bones in our children. 99% of your bodies calcium is stored in your bones and if your body does not get enough calcium from food, it will take calcium from your bones, making them weaker.
Calcium for Dinner: greens such as kale, broccoli, Chinese cabbage contain calcium.
Calcium for Lunch: low fat milk, yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese.
Calcium for Breakfast: fortified orange juice and cereals.
Real fruit is full of vitamin C, of antioxidants, fiber, potassium and even folate. To ensure you are getting the benefit of all the different vitamins in fruits, mix it up and introduce new fruits often. Avoid too many fruit juices, instead send fruit to school, serve fruit at dinner and use fresh fruit to top everything at breakfast and dessert.
Fruit for Dinner: mango salsa on fish, sliced pear on salad, pineapple grilled on the BBQ, grapes and green apples in the curry make dinner complete.
Fruit for Lunch: sliced apples, chopped melon, grapes, strawberries or avocado.
Fruit for Breakfast: oranges, blueberries, banana, blend a fruit smoothie.
You can’t dispute vegetables are good for us, but getting the family to eat their vegetables is generally a struggle. Find vegetables the whole family enjoys and make those part of your weekly grocery shopping – there is nothing wrong with eating broccoli every week. Offer at least 2 different vegetable choices at meals for picky eaters and find creative ways to sneak the vegetables they don’t like into pureed soups or stews or even baked goods!
Vegetables for Dinner: corn, broccoli, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, try them all.
Vegetables for Lunch: carrot sticks or sliced peppers with a dip, spinach salad.
Vegetables for Breakfast: take your fruit smoothie to a new level by adding kale, beets, zucchini or spinach.
Mix it up, experiment, toss extra veggies or beans into pre packaged casseroles, soups and stews to add protein, fibre and extra nutrients. Include berries on top of ice cream or breakfast cereal and enjoy the added benefits of balancing a small part of your family life!
Image Source (header only) WikiCommons
This is Deb's first post at her new blog Family on the Run at for YummyMummyClub. Come back and see her often for great tips on getting - and keeping - kids healthy, as well as stories about balancing family fitness with real world pleasures - like brownies.