12 Days of Eating Better Together

December 13th, 2015 by Live Well Omaha Kids

Written by Courtney Brewer, Live Well Omaha Kids Communications Coordinator

Tis the season to start thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. We all throw around the idea of joining a gym or participating in the Biggest Loser competition at work. We set unrealistic weight loss goals that should get us into a bathing suit in time for summer only to realize after doing the math, that you probably should have set that goal and worked on it for more than just 5 or 6 months. Maybe you focus on your budget – how to make more money and spend less. If I kept a runny tally of all the resolutions I’ve set over the years, I would have realized… they were all the same.

So why wait until January 1 to start working on a resolution? If studies show that it takes three weeks to create a “habit” — then why not start three weeks BEFORE New Years and be much more ahead of the game. This New Year’s Resolution is about permanent change that will affect every New Year’s Resolution you make from here on out… because you’ll already be doing the things you “wished” you were doing in previous years, so you can start to focus on other goals that you’ve been putting off — like redecorating your master bedroom, working on your children’s scrapbooks, or catching up on Oprah Winfrey’s Book Club list.

The 12 Days of Eating Better Together focuses on Family Dining and gives you twelve simple steps to make the change to cook and eat more at home — which will affect your entire family for a lifetime.

12. Create a calendar: Look at schedules and plan meals times that work for the greatest number of family members.

11. Plan meals: Include your family in the meal planning process. Let them choose one main dish for the week or pick the side dishes so they pride in a meal and they’ll be more likely to eat it.

10. Shopping matters: Create a grocery list before you go to the store. Pick your meals based on sales or price match to save money. Family dinners don’t have to be fancy or expensive. Shop healthy by shopping on the perimeter of the store and only buy fresh fruits and vegetables a week at a time.

9. Prepare over the weekend: Wash and cut your fruits and vegetables on Sunday night. Make it a family activity by asking your spouse and children to help you.

8. Cook once, eat twice: Make extra for easy lunch and dinner leftovers. Fill your oven every time you turn it on by baking several meals at once.

7. Keep it simple: Good meals don’t have to take hours to prepare. Use pre-washed salad, pre-cut veggies, frozen fruits and vegetables, and long-lasting produce.

6. Be flexible: On extra busy nights use pre-prepared meals. Also consider preparing on-the-go-meals such as tacos, salads, sandwiches and wraps to avoid hitting a drive-through.

5. Be creative: Kids see food differently. Engage your children and help them see the fun at family meal time. Instead of a regular plate of food, help them build a hot air balloon from their sandwich or create lava flow for their chicken with ketchup.

4. Get them involved: Get young children into family dinners by allowing them to wash or prep ingredients with a spoon. Then try putting ice water in a small pitcher so they can learn to serve themselves when they are thirsty. Older children can set the table and help with cleanup. These small additions might make kids excited about family dinner.

3. Unplug: Declare the dinner table a screen-free zone. Watching TV or hanging out with your cell phone at dinner means that kids and parents might not pay attention to their natural hunger cues and worse may ignore each other.

2. Engage in conversation: Family Dinners feeling kind of dull? Try asking about one nice thing that everyone at the table did today; or name one thing you are looking forward to tomorrow. Make family meal times a celebration for an achievement or milestone in someone’s life. By taking the time to eat together at the table and recognize the moment, the bond that connects families grows stronger.

1. Set a good example: If kids see their parents valuing family dinners and eating healthy options at dinner they will be more likely to try a variety of foods.

Join us on Facebook and Twitter for helpful tips and resources to help you with each step. Also, stop by and take the Live Well Omaha Kids Family Dining Pledge to receive monthly newsletters, free local food and activity offers and access to expert tips and recipes that help you make THIS New Year’s Resolution actually happen.

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