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Wellness news: Ideas for healthy eating for busy families from EAP

Aug 17, 2018

Eating healthy can be challenging and overwhelming, especially when trying to balance work, family needs and a social life. While it might seem easier to go to the nearest drive-through or buy packaged and premade foods, these types of foods are often filled with added sugars and trans-fats. However, there are some easy lifestyle adjustments that can make healthy meals and snacks just as easy of an option.

Pick your recipes first:  Pick one day of the week or every other week, when you know you will have a few hours free to choose recipes to make, go grocery shopping, and then do "meal-prep."

Here are a few easy meal and snack ideas that can get you started: Slow cooker soup, stews, chili, one pan roasted vegetables and protein (chicken or fish), hard-boiled eggs, stir-fry, vegetables and hummus.

Once you have the recipes, it can be beneficial to write out your weekly meals using a planner.

Shop for your ingredients next: Based on the recipes chosen, make a list of groceries you will need and head to the store. Having a grocery list will ensure you only buy what you need and prevent you from impulse buying and wasting time aimlessly wandering. This will save you money and time.

Time to cook! Now, you can begin preparing the foods you will need to make your recipes. Chop any fruits and vegetables that were not precut, steam or roast these, and cook grains like rice or quinoa. This will speed up the cooking process when you want to make meals for your family. Consider doubling the recipe so that you will have leftovers, which can then be packed for lunch or eaten as dinner another day of the week.

Read the ingredient list: For those times when you will not be able to meal plan for the week, make sure you read the ingredient list on pre-prepared products. You should be able to pronounce everything on the list and have a general idea of what each ingredient is. Try and avoid added sugars and steer clear of anything with trans-fats.

Make it a family affair: Making healthy choices for you and your family requires some time and planning, but involving the whole family can make the process less daunting. Get creative with the meals, have your kids help pick the recipes and get them involved in the grocery shopping and cooking process. This way it can become a fun family activity!

For more tips on healthy eating for families, visit www.workhealthlife.com  (First-time users must enter University of the Pacific as your employer and register for the website).

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