Embracing a Healthy Family: 10 Ways of Making Your Favorite Foods Healthier

10 Ways of Making Your Favorite Foods Healthier

Who is not wanting to get in shape and be healthier?  It's definitely something I've struggled with and increasingly, have been focusing on ways to change a lifetime of bad habits.  I'm a yo-yo dieter inflicted with being a stress eater and although I haven't resolved it yet, I am finding little ways to make changes that will lead to new changes.  Since I have children and see how my bad habits are affecting them, I had a renewed interest in eating better to be a good role model.  I was amazed at how easy it is to actually make these changes without losing the quality in the foods we consume.  TwitterMoms and WeightWatcher's Smart Ones has a new challenge for us moms to share their 10 ways to make food healthier.

  1. Some of the easiest ways to make foods healthier are just changing how you prepare them.  Eliminating or cutting down on the use of oil is a big change to make.  Grilling, broiling and baking are some of the most effortless ways of improving the healthy  aspect of your dishes while not sacrificing on taste.  We enjoy our pizza and have found grilling whole wheat crust and adding fresh vegetables is a fun way of eating better while having fun.
  2. Adding more fruits and vegetables to a meal also increases the health impact of a meal while reducing other foods that aren't as healthy such as large portions of meat and other items like bread.  Fruits and vegetables are great ways to enjoy meals as they can compliment your main dish.  I usually choose fresh or frozen to get the most impact from the nutrients and vitamins and add it to our meat dishes to cut down on the amount of meat we eat.
  3. Sneak food into other dishes if you have a picky child.  We love hamburgers and I have found recipes that include adding a mixture of spinach and blueberries to ground beef makes an amazing tasting hamburger and the kids have no idea that they have a little bit of power behind them!  Grilling is the final touch in making some pretty amazing burgers.  This type of sneaky chef tactics can be applied to many meals.
  4. Substitute some items for something else.  I use items like applesauce or sour cream to replace butter.  One of our favorites is cupcakes and by replacing the butter with applesauce, it helps to make a change in the quality of the cupcake.  Small steps can go a long way in the long run and in many cases, I am hoping these changes will lead to bigger changes in the long run.
  5. Hot dogs is another favorite in our house and although the nutritional content is not really there, we have found using whole wheat buns and adding chopped peppers and onions can add a little more nutritional value to the hot dogs.
  6. You can't forget the ice cream!  Vanilla ice cream is a staple in our house but having a banana split bar adds to the fun when you can add bananas and pineapple to the delectable deserts!
  7. I love sugar cookies and I cannot resist eating them when I make them.  I try to kid myself with this one so I can indulge a little more.  By taking the sugar cookie dough, I can add a cream cheese mixture and strawberries, bananas, kiwi, blueberries and more to create a beautiful, tasty fruit pizza.  The only problem is I can't stop eating it.
  8. Chocolate is another vice in our house.  I have found a great way to jazz up chocolate is a fondue set using fruit and nuts to dip in the chocolate.  Creating fun with healthiness is the best way to go with children.  I have the pickiest eaters so implementing a fun way to eat healthy is the only way I go.  We typically have events like this on our family fun nights so it seems like a treat yet I know they are getting something a little healthy.
  9. Summer time is always a great time for pop-cycles but they don't have to be bad for you.  Using fresh fruit is a great alternative with juice to make some tasty summertime treats that will have them begging for more.  Mine love the variation we can create and again, the "help" factor always brings them back because they love to be little chefs.  Besides, pop-cycles aren't just for the little ones as they can be great for us moms too! 
  10. One of my final must have bad boys is French toast.  I love it and know it's not that great for you after the bread and syrup.  One of the ways I feel better about this sinful breakfast treat is to use 40 calorie bread, dip in egg with a sprinkling of cinnamon, sliced fresh strawberries and a sprinkling of Splenda.  This method eliminates so many calories while allowing me to eat a little healthier.  It's a beautiful dish with the colorful strawberries on top.

As I continue making changes with the ultimate goal of eating healthier for a longer future, I'm learning more and more on where to take these baby steps.  I have increasingly been aware of the little things that count like reducing sodium, reducing processed and refined foods, purchasing some organic fruits and vegetables as well as making logical changes.  Almost any food can be tweaked to make it a tad bit healthier and any change made now, makes it easier at the end.

I wrote this blog post while participating in the TwitterMoms and WeightWatchers SmartOnes blogging program, making me eligible to get a $50 gift card. For more information on how you can participate, click here.

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