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Family Nutrition

Lighten Up Everyone’s Meals

One strategy for parents who want to “diet” is to eat completely different meals from their families – or to eat at a different time. After a while, the system breaks down, and so does will power. Instead of cutting yourself off from the group and feeling denied, turn family meals into a lesson on eating healthier. Remember, you can still eat “normal” food and lose weight. Check out these ideas for transforming everyday family meals into healthier dinners.

Serve turkey burgers on thin whole wheat buns instead of beef burgers on white buns. Top them with plenty of fresh lettuce and tomatoes, low-fat mayo, mustard and ketchup. Want something really new? Top burgers with a warm stir-fry of mushrooms and spinach.
   • Go a step further: Substitute a veggie patty for the meat burger.

Chinese stir-fry
Substitute firm tofu for chicken, beef or pork – or substitute half of the meat for tofu. Add more than broccoli and carrots to the stir-fry; include Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. Use lower sodium soy sauce and stir in jalapenos for an extra satisfying kick.
   • Go a step further: Serve the stir-fry over brown rice, barley or quinoa instead
      of white rice.

Chicken or beef enchiladas
Switch to rice and bean burritos in a high-fiber tortilla. Add in 1 oz. of cheddar or jack cheese for the gooeyness you crave. Load it with shredded lettuce, jicama and cilantro too.
   • Go a step further: Leave out the rice and use low-fat cheese. Don’t forget to spice
      it up with a simple homemade salsa!

Mix half beef with half turkey in your next loaf and no one will even know!
   • Go a step further: Add spinach to the mixture, adding fiber, vitamins and flavor.
     Just cook and chop ½ cup spinach, drain it well and cool it, then mix it into the
     raw meat before forming and baking the loaf.

Start every dinner with a small salad of mixed greens and low-fat or light dressing.
   • Go a step further: Make one dinner each week a salad-bar dinner and allow kids
      to build their own masterpiece. Provide a variety of veggies and a few fruits,
      seeds and nuts and watch the experimentation begin. Limit the high-fat add-ons
      like cheese and meat so the crisp vegetables shine.

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