There’s no way around it: losing weight is hard work. It requires consistency, dedication and a hefty pinch of willpower. If you are married or have children, you likely aren’t just cooking for yourself which can pose a whole new set of challenges.
As the sole cook for a family of four, I can speak first hand about dealing with picky eaters and finding creative ways to make nutritious foods taste delicious. To help you reach your weight loss goals, here are my top tips for feeding the family while making healthy lifestyle changes.
Maximize Flavor: Instead of serving steamed broccoli for dinner, try roasting it with a drizzle of sesame oil and a splash of soy sauce. When you roast vegetables the natural sugars in begin to caramelize creating a sweet flavor the whole family will love. Once you begin roasting vegetables you will say bye-bye to boring, overcooked steamed veggies. In addition to broccoli, try roasting Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, eggplant and more.
Variety is Key: One of the surest ways to get bored with healthy eating is to prepare the same foods over and over again. To keep things interesting, try new grains in your favorite dishes. If you normally make quick cooking oats for breakfast, try whipping up a batch of Slow Cooker Banana Nut Oatmeal instead. The chewy, nutty texture is a nice change from rolled oats and will keep the family excited about breakfast. To make it even more fun, let the kids pick their favorite mix-ins in the morning: fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts and seeds make delicious oatmeal toppings. Want to take it to the next level? Try a creamy bowl of Breakfast Quinoa or Spelt Berry Porridge instead. The options are endless.
Get the Kids Involved: The next time you head to the grocery store or farmers market, let your kids pick out one new vegetable or whole grain to try that week. Perhaps they are curious about eggplant or want to try quinoa for the first time. By letting the kids be in the driver’s seat, they will be engaged and excited to try out their special new ingredient.
Don’t Give Up: If you serve a healthy dish that the family doesn’t love, don’t give up. Children and toddlers have finicky palates. Their favorite foods might become their least favorite foods in the blink of an eye. An important part of making permanent lifestyle changes is acknowledging the fact that set backs will occur. Wait a couple weeks and try again. Perhaps you can use the same ingredient in a different recipe or prepare it in a new way. No matter what you do, don’t give up. You would be surprised how quickly little ones change their tunes.
Above all else, have fun with it and get in the kitchen with your family! Cooking at home is not only a great way to save money and calories but it is a great way to connect with the family and make memories. The more fun you have along the journey, the more likely you are to stick with it.
What are your best tips for feeding your family while watching your weight? Leave a comment below – we would love to hear from you!
Liz Della Croce is the creator and author of The Lemon Bowl, a healthy food blog. Since 2010, Liz has been creating delicious recipes using real ingredients with an emphasis on seasonality. Liz has appeared live on the TODAY Show and tapes regular cooking segments for her local NBC affiliate station. Through healthy eating and regular exercise, Liz has successfully achieved a personal weight loss milestone and has a passion for helping others reach similar goals. New in 2013, Liz launched Healthy Habits, a feature on The Lemon Bowl where her loyal readers and growing audience can find practical advice, resources and information on creating and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.