Overcome Obstacles to Healthier Eating


Published:

How can busy parents overcome challenges when incorporating healthier habits into family life? After a few meetings with the Carolina Parent Healthy Families Challenge experts, two Triangle families share some of their goals and how they are incorporating healthier eating.

Getting everyone on board.

At first Tina Steed's daughters, Belle, 8, and Day, 10, were excited about participating in the Carolina ParentHealthy Families Challenge, the Apex mom says, but then the newness wore off. They wanted to know why they were changing their eating habits.

The best way to encourage children to eat healthier is to look for teachable moments, says Cindy Goulding, a Cary licensed behavioral counselor and certified health and wellness coach. For example, if your child comes home from school tired after skipping breakfast or eating a sugary option, mention that eating fruit or yogurt can make a positive difference in energy levels. Goulding also advises parents to focus on the positive, praise good choices, include children in food shopping and preparation and, especially, be a good role model. Invite kids to make fruit kabobs, frozen fruit popsicles and smoothies, and encourage them to choose produce in every color of the rainbow when grocery shopping, she says.

Beth Mosher-Blount, a Cary YMCA trainer, uses the following example when talking to kids about making healthy choices: We need to put the right kind of fuel into a car for it to run well, and we need to put the right kind of fuel – or food – into our bodies to be at our best, she says.

Planning ahead

One of the Steeds' healthy eating goals is to eat out less frequently. This means planning in advance – selecting recipes, going grocery shopping and making meals that fit their busy schedule packed with after-school activities. Steed is experimenting with using a slow cooker, or Crock Pot, so dinner will be ready whenever their schedule allows.

Steed also wants to try different types of food and recipes to see what works best for her family. Meredith Dolan, a nutritionist and program manager for Be Active Kids, suggests looking online for healthy recipes (see box above) and setting aside one day a week to go grocery shopping with a list.

Trying new foods

A familiar challenge for Elizabeth Carr's family is getting the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables. The Wake Forest mother says Dallen, 3, Joseph, almost 6, and her husband only like a limited number of veggies.

One of their goals is to include more vegetables with dinner and to cook each vegetable serving differently. Carr recently tried roasting potatoes, which her boys enjoyed, and she experiments with different seasonings, including Mrs. Dash, a grilling seasoning mix, and olive oil with Parmesan cheese.

Other kid-friendly finds? Joseph and Dallen like the frozen vegetable bags that steam in the microwave. And Carr says her 3-year-old will eat a few skinny baby carrots if she serves them with hummus. Carr is planning to make her own kale chips next, since both her children liked the sweet potato chips she bought. Planning in advance and experimenting to discover what works for your family can help time-starved parents incorporate healthier eating into busy family life.


Stock Up on Healthy Choices

What should you keep on hand to make it easy to eat healthier? Meredith Dolan, nutritionist and program manager of Be Active Kids, advises having the following:

• At least three types of fruit, washed and ready to eat, in an easily visible fruit bowl.

• At least three different vegetables, washed and sliced or chopped, stored in clear containers in the refrigerator for easy access.

• At least one leafy green, such as romaine or spinach. Toss it with a handful of the prepared, ready-to-eat vegetables or fruits and a couple of tablespoons of low-fat salad dressing.

• Lean protein (such as boneless chicken breasts) grilled or broiled to use in salads, sandwiches and whole-wheat pasta dishes. Tuna is another good option.

• Whole-wheat wraps or bread; salad fixings can also be wrapped up.

• Healthy grab-and-go snacks such as individual containers of low-fat yogurt and whole fruit.

Healthy Recipe Resources

eatingwell.com/recipes

myeatsmartmovemore.com/WordPress

allrecipes.com/Recipes/Healthy-Recipes

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Cost: $70/month

Where:
Hope Community Building
2080 E Williams St
Hope Community Building, Fuquay Varina Room
Apex/Holly Springs, NC  27539
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Telephone: 191-990-25432
Contact Name: Leigh Hamm
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Live online classes for kids - FREE! Kids and families can join our online classes from home while school is out. Our special guests teach kids about art, medicine, music, cooking, science and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Online at your Home
265 Cambridge Ave #60923
Palo Alto, NC  94306
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Sponsor: ActivityHero
Telephone: 800-437-6125
Contact Name: Mabelle
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Taco ’Bout Good Food! Zambrero Opens in Durham Get ready to have your world guac’ed! Zambrero, Australia’s largest Mexican franchise, is opening its first Durham location on June 13! ...

Cost: Varies

Where:
University Hill, Durham NC
3109 Shannon Road, #102
Durham, NC  27707
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Telephone: 910-239-2316
Contact Name: Susie Deatherage
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Sign up for a Raleigh scavenger hunt and put on your best Nick Cage impression as you seek out the national treasures hidden in Raleigh. Via an app, be guided through the cultural, historical,...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Downtown Raleigh
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: LetsRoam!
Telephone: 833-202-7626
Contact Name: LetsRoam!
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The 16th Annual (Virtual) Beaver Queen Pageant, Beavers in the Stream! The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver...

Cost: free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-423-1502
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
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Triangle Restaurant Week (January 20-26, 2020) is a week-long celebration of culinary excellence designed to incorporate the premier Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill and surrounding area restaurants....

Cost: $15-$35

Where:
Participating Restaurants
, NC


Sponsor: Triangle Blvd
Telephone: 919-673-5784
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We invite all Triangle youth between the ages of 8 thru 17 with a sincere interest in the Performance Art of Magic to join Magic Youth Raleigh! This youth program teaches magic history and theory,...

Cost: $35 per Student

Where:
New Horizons Fellowship
820 E. Williams St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The International Brotherhood of Magicians
Contact Name: Roger Way
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The Beaver Queen Pageant is the Triangle’s own special mix of folly, pageantry, and humor. Contestants take on beaver personalities and compete for the title of Beaver Queen with their fashion,...

Cost: free

Where:
Online
, NC


Sponsor: Ellerbe Creek Watershed Association
Telephone: 919-698-9729
Contact Name: Rachel Cohn
Website »

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River Jam at the U.S. National Whitewater Center brings together live musical performances throughout the year to a one-of-a-kind outdoor venue, right in the middle of the world’s largest...

Cost: $6

Where:
USNWC
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy
Charlotte, NC  28214
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Sponsor: USNWC
Telephone: 704-391-3900
Contact Name: Jenny Hill
Website »

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