Mothers have a huge influence on the health of their families, and whether or not you are a mother, these excellent strategies my mom always encouraged can help you to make your home a place of health and well-being. The home is a crucial place for establishing positive routines, because if kids don’t learn to be healthy at home, where are they going to learn?
Have Healthy Snacks Available
-Air-popped popcorn with a bit of oil and salt was always a favourite at my house. Or sliced apples. Try and stay away from the grilled cheese, the candy, the leftover banana bread. If those kinds of dangerous treats are just sitting around, people will eat them. So keep the chocolate stocked away—out of sight out of mind—and make quick, healthy treats available instead.
-Snack Time should also be a specific, deliberate meal, rather than a continuous occurrence whenever you’re bored and happen to walk into the kitchen, because that will get your brain into the bad habit of continuous, mindless eating. Make Snack Time an event and enjoy it.
2. Have Healthy Staples at Every Meal
-Bonus foods like bread, white rice, or potatoes can enhance a meal, but they are not necessary, nor are they as healthy, so make sure to have the healthy staples at each meal, such as veggies and protein. If you’re having a pot roast for dinner, try to either make a salad or cut up some veggies to go along with it. Get used to the idea of eating vegetables with main meals, even if it’s something as quick as slicing up a carrot when you’re in a rush.
-That being said, aim to keep your vegetables pure. There’s no use eating a salad if you fill it with sugary dressing and caramelized pecans. Skip the dressing and instead use a homemade topping of vinegar, oil, and salt—the perfect and easy dressing my mom taught me. Also, try to avoid replacing veggies with fruit. It’s not the same thing, and though fruits are healthy, they cannot replace the importance of vegetables at a meal.
3. Drink Water. A Lot.
-The one thing my mother says almost more than anything else regarding food is “drink water”. Before your meal when you feel like you could eat a horse—drink water. In the middle of the afternoon when you just want to break into that cupboard and raid the chips—drink water. It will make you feel fuller, more content, and more able to enjoy your food since you will be legitimately hungry instead of mistaking your thirst for hunger.
-Many people are enthusiastic about drinking milk, freshly squeezed orange juice or other drinks that are generally considered healthy. These all have their place, but they should never replace water. Pop or sweet drinks at the table are also dangerous—and diet pop isn’t any better. Water is the number one drink in my house, and it works wonders. Try it. There’s nothing else like it in the world.
Whether you’re a busy mom, juggling kids, work, and social events, or if you’re a student trying to cram for finals without going hungry—or crazy, these tips are for you. They will make a huge difference in the way that you eat and structure your meals, which will impact the way you live your life and how you feel about food. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful mother who installed positive habits towards food all throughout my life, who created an environment where I learned to make healthy eating choices, not because I had to, but because I wanted to.
And so can you.