Princess and The Rock

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Practical Tips for Healthy Eating

I've been thinking about my food choices and what I feed my family after I see how REAL people (like those in my homeschool co-op) eat REAL food. I've read about eating real food some time ago and I thought, "Wow, eating this way is really good for the body." And I stopped at the thought but didn't take any action to change my (and my family's) diet. It was not only until I met the people at the homeschool co-op that I realised eating healthy is possible AND enjoyable too!

I learnt practical ways to better our eating habits. At first, it was a bit daunting for me as The Rock is not a huge fan of vegetables and Princess is quite a picky eater but after some persistence and creativity, we managed to take some baby steps together. I'll share some ideas here:

healthy eating

Tips for Healthy Eating

  1. Include more vegetables in dishes that your children/family already like. E.g. Princess and The Rock love Korean rice cakes in soup, so I would double the portion of vegetables they usually consume and cut back on the commercially processed rice cake.

  2. Give fancy names to dishes that are usually not popular. E.g. The Rock would usually not eat asparagus but if they are called "Grilled Snakes", he would try some of them.

  3. Opt for whole-grain products if possible. E.g. Replace semolina pasta with whole-grain pasta, eat whole-grain bread instead of white bread.

  4. Encourage healthy snacking. I keep a pantry of dried fruits like unsweetened coconut flakes (Princess's favourite), dried dates, unsweetened dried mangos and dried raisins. These snacks not only provide the pepper-upper needed (due to the natural sugars), they are also great sources of fibre. Dried seaweed and nuts are also firm favourites in my family. (I get these snacks from, you can use code "RVD687" to get $10 off your first order of $40 or more OR $5 off your first order of less than $40.)

  5. Try steaming or roasting meat and vegetables instead of frying. They taste surprisingly good with the right (light) seasoning. The best potato dish I've tried was steamed sliced potato with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper with shrimps; the natural sweetness of the ingredients just shone through! My mum's steamed chicken wings rivals any fried chicken wings. It must be her heady concoction of fresh ginger, garlic, chilli padi and fermented bean paste that she used as the marinade.

  6. If vegetables aren't your kids' thing, try putting them in soups. The Rock would not swallow even a tiny piece of pumpkin, whether steamed, grilled or stir-fried, but he would lap up a bowl of pumpkin soup any day.

  7. Introduce healthier dessert alternatives. Instead of a slice of cake laden with cane sugar and cream, give your children konnyaku jelly with fresh fruits instead.

  8. Use aromatics like garlic, ginger, vegetables and herbs to create flavour instead of depending on salt and sugar.

  9. Increase nutrients intake by consuming more whole foods instead of processed foods. Be concerned about the amount of nutrients your children/family takes in instead of the quantity of food. Knowing this 'rule' is liberating to me as I was almost obsessed with how much or rather how little Princess was eating. Now I'm happy with her eating enough fresh vegetables, fruits, grains and protein-rich meat even if she eats less in terms of quantity. In fact, it's better for her to eat half a portion of unpolished brown rice than a full portion of polished white rice and since she loves her green vegetables, she can fill herself up with that instead! The interesting thing I realised is that Princess' appetite has increased significantly since I made these subtle changes to our diet! 

  10. When eating out, avoid the children's menu as it is usually made up of unhealthy options like mac-and-cheese, fried chicken nuggets and fries. It is far better to have your children eat off an adult's plate of real meat and a side of steamed vegetables or a bowl of soba noodles and Teriyaki chicken or salmon.

As with any change, there's the usual challenge or two. I've got comments from my mum like "Don't make them into skinny children ah!" and "No noodles? But they love noodles!" This kind of remarks can be discouraging (especially when I thought this is a positive change) but I'll press on in our journey towards healthier eating and living!

I've tried making a few healthy snacks and dishes and some have been a hit with family and friends so stay tuned for these recipes in my future posts!

Useful links:
3. How Do You Eat Real Food?

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