Eating Healthy for Parents and Families

Healthy eating habits can start at any time and can benefit you and your family. For instance, it can boost your confidence and energy, which can help you better care for your child. It can also set a good example at home – children often choose to eat the same foods as their parents, and healthy habits are likely to follow them into adulthood.

Benefits of Healthy Eating and Nutrition

 Good health starts with your food choices. Healthy eating can help you: 
  • Prevent diseases such as obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis (weakening of the bones), and some cancers.
  • Lower your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Improve your ability to fight off illness and recover from illness or injury.
  • Increase your energy levels.
Overall, these benefits can help you live a long life. The results are maximized when good nutrition is combined with physical activity. 

How to Start Eating Healthy

Healthy eating means eating balanced meals to give your body all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it needs to function well. Balanced meals usually include the following food groups: fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and grains. Learn more about these food groups through MyPlate, a resource that also has detailed information about healthy eating for adults, children, and families. One way to start eating healthy is to make small changes to your food choices, such as:

  • Switching to whole-grain bread, rice, cereals, and pasta
  • Filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Eating a variety of lean proteins, such as chicken, fish, beans, and eggs
  • Choosing foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium (salt) and added sugars
  • Drinking water instead of drinks with sugar, such as juice or sodas
  • Eating less processed foods
  • Cooking at home more instead of ordering take-out
Also, don’t forget to drink enough water. It is recommended that adults drink 8 glasses of water a day (64 ounces total). Water is important for your health and can help with digestion and to transport nutrients and oxygen to your cells.


Tips for Making Healthy Eating Easier and More Affordable

  • Mix vegetables into your meals for more nutrients. Try adding spinach to scrambled eggs or cooking your proteins with vegetables like onions.
  • Purchase frozen vegetables. Sometimes fresh vegetables can be expensive, especially when they are not in season or are hard to find where you live. Frozen vegetables can be a nutritious and tasty alternative, and they also last longer.
  • Choose low-sugar, nutritious snacks. Resist the urge to buy sugary snacks, such as cookies and smoothies. Instead, eat fruits or other healthier snacks that can satisfy your sweet tooth.
  • Make simple cooking changes to avoid extra fat, sugar, and salt. Try to buy fewer pre-packaged foods, as these often have a lot of added sugar and salt. Try to bake or grill foods instead of frying them. Choose healthy fats like olive oil.
  • Take control of what, and how much, you eat to feel better. Try cooking at home so you know exactly what you are eating. To control how much you eat, use smaller plates, cook smaller meals, or set aside extra food (after you have served yourself) and save it for leftovers.