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As one of Australia’s leading dietitians and a mama to four-year-old twin boys, Susie Burrell is an expert when it comes to making healthy food choices for her family – and dealing with fussy eaters.
“Nutrition and healthy eating should be fun and exciting not a chore and the more the family are involved in the food decisions for the household, the happier everyone will be,” explains Susie.
With the New Year underway it’s the perfect time to set our intentions for making more nutritional food choices. In fact, according to research from the Switch Up Your Diet Report, commissioned by Tassal, 85% of Aussies admit they would like to improve their eating habits and adopt a healthier diet.
1. Get the family involved
Make dinner time a family focused activity by taking some time each week to plan the family meals in advance and write them down on a notice board or whiteboard everyone can see.
This way there is no more asking ‘what’s for dinner’, meal planning becomes automatic and older children can become involved in food preparation.
Susie Burrell advises planing your weekly meals in advance so your family knows what to expect.
2. Pack lunches the night before
Early mornings are extremely tough for most families and making lunches only adds more stress to the mix. Taking a few minutes after dinner for family members to start to pack their lunch and snacks for the next day not only frees up more time in the busy mornings but allows the opportunity to pack and prepare healthy, tasty lunches for all members of the family.
3. Switch to nutrient rich eating
Healthy eating is not all about salads and beans, rather simple nutrient rich switches such as white bread to brown, white rice and pasta for veggie based rice and pasta and packet fish and chicken for Omega-3 rich salmon are easy switches the family can make to instantly improve nutritional intake whilst still enjoying family friendly meals.
4. Sit down together to eat
For busy families with different schedules enjoying meals at the same time can be difficult, especially in the week but even if you can only manage to sit down together as a family for dinner once each week make it a big deal.
There is more and more research to show that the simple act of eating together as a family improves social function for children and teens, it improves nutrient intake and promotes healthy eating habits long term. So when you can, prioritise family meal times minus technology and replace it with good old fashioned family banter.
5. Get inspired about cooking
Whether it is trying a new recipe each week, or baking some tasty muffins or banana bread the family can enjoy as a healthy snack for the week, making cooking a fun thing to do as opposed to another chore can transform the way you feel about food preparation at home.
If you are in need of some inspiration, treat yourself to a new cookbook and commit to cook or baking something new each week. Family friendly recipes including fish and chips, pizza and Tassal salmon tacos are exceptionally easy to make and can also be prepared by a number of family members so trying new meals becomes a fun and enjoyable part of the week.