It’s easy to fall into a fast-food, drive-through routine when you’re juggling business tasks, family obligations, and a gazillion errands. An occasional mealtime shortcut won’t hurt anyone—unless it becomes a habit. Eating well benefits our bodies and our minds. Eating healthfully can even reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as keep you more focused so you’re better able to handle the rigors of entrepreneurship. It’s also never too early to cultivate healthy eating habits that your children will carry into adulthood. Build better nutrition into family meals with these ideas from Ok Healthy Living.
Offer Fruit and Vegetable Snacks
If your minions are clamoring for food, hand out healthy snacks and count those as the servings the kids need each day. Add blueberries, raspberries, or sliced bananas to cereal. Make a smoothie for a meal or snack. Put strawberries atop pancakes or waffles. Add tomato and cucumber to sandwiches spread with pureed pesto or hummus. Chop up celery and carrots into sticks and pop in the fridge at your kids’ eye level. Offer low-fat ranch or other dressings as a dip.
Dairy and Proteins and Grains—Oh My!
Dairy foods, green leafy vegetables, fish, and almond milk are rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein. Opt for whole-grain labeled foods for at least half of the grains your family eats. Younger kids (to age 5) need just two portions of protein each day. Add protein to their diets in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, nuts, beans, and legumes. Choose lean cuts for meat.
Not All Fats Are Bad
We all need some fat in our diet. Healthy fats slow carb absorption and help us feel full longer while also providing a concentrated energy source. These fats also help our bodies digest and absorb fat-soluble vitamins including A, D, E, and K. Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats help brain growth and development and are building blocks of cell membranes and hormones, so don’t banish fat from your meals entirely. Some foods, like fatty fish, are even known to boost memory and focus, which can help you better stay on top of your entrepreneurial game.
Extra virgin olive oil, rich in antioxidants, is perfect for salad dressings or flavoring vegetables. Flaxseed oil has omega-3 fatty acids. It’s great over popcorn and perfect to add to pesto, hummus, salad dressings, and other uncooked foods. Grapeseed oil is full of flavonoids, antioxidants, and vitamin E and can sub into many recipes that call for oil.
Say Sayonara to Excessive Salt and Sugar
The American Heart Association recommends no more than three to six teaspoons of sugar daily. When you’re baking and cooking from scratch, you can substitute fruit for some sugar, and many times, you can decrease the sugar by a third without affecting taste.
Other easy ways to trim sugar or salt include substituting sparkling water—with a little fruit juice—for soda, limiting processed and fast foods, and making your own frozen treats from 100% fruit juice or the fruits themselves. Also, don’t depend on salt for flavor. Use fresh herbs and lemon juice to season your food and grab the frozen (or fresh) vegetables instead of canned ones, which often contain more salt.
Better Nutrition for All
You can eat better with a few changes. If you’re just beginning your journey to healthier eating, start slowly! Schedule family mealtime—if it’s on the calendar, people can plan their schedules around it. Families who eat together make better food choices, build stronger relationships, and feel better mentally. Depend less on takeout and prepared foods. ZenBusiness has a great list of easy-to-make healthy meals when working from home. When you’re cooking, you control all the ingredients you use.
The internet is a great resource for finding healthy alternatives to family favorites, as well as other resources that help make your life as an entrepreneur and parent so much easier. For instance, you can use a calendar app to keep meal prep and family schedules in check, as well as your own appointments and deadlines. Use online guides to help you register your business as an Oregon LLC and keep your family’s assets protected and UrbanSitter.com to find reputable childcare providers for when you need to hunker down and knock out deliverables.
Remember to introduce these changes gradually. Tossing out all the junk food cold turkey will likely incite a riot. Instead, begin to slowly substitute healthier snacks. Make use of resources, online and off, to help you get things done, both at home and at work. Nobody said it’ll be easy to keep everyone healthy when you’re busy—but it can be done!