Healthy eating tips for mothers

Nutrition knowledge and resources can help you and your family make healthier lifestyle choices.

A mother and daughter cooking together.
Photo: Pexels/August de Richelieu.

Many mothers face the difficult task of providing nutritious meals for their entire family. This can be especially challenging for mothers with limited means and whose families have adopted the unhealthy eating patterns of fast-food culture. Mothers can influence their family’s food choices by developing healthy eating habits themselves and by taking advantage of the nutrition resources available in their community.

The following tips can help you and your family get on the right track to healthy eating habits:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables in all their forms — fresh, frozen and canned. MyPlate shows us that half of our plate should contain fruits and vegetables. One way you can begin to introduce to the whole family is by replacing sugary desserts with fruit instead. Getting the kids involved can also be a fun and effective way for them to discover new fruits and vegetables. Make grocery shopping with the kids an adventure by allowing them to pick out a new fruit or vegetable to try. You can also encourage your family to eat more fruits and vegetables as snacks by making them more visible. Put apples, oranges and bananas on the kitchen counter and have washed, cut up veggies in plastic baggies ready to go in the fridge.
  • Learn to stretch your food dollars when buying Michigan produce by taking advantage of the Double-Up Food Bucks program at your local farmers market and grocery stores. The WIC Project Fresh program provides eligible participants with a free $25 coupon booklet, which can be used to purchase fresh local produce from participating farmers markets.  There are more tips here on how to save money when buying healthy foods.
  • Participate in a Michigan State University Extension led nutrition series. Educating yourself on nutrition is probably the most important thing you can do to help put healthy eating habits into everyday practice. You can then set an example for your whole family by incorporating what you have learned in class into your everyday life. Visit the MSU Extension website  for upcoming nutrition classes in your area.  
  • Drink water. Many popular beverages are loaded with sugar and provide no real nutritional value. As an alternative to these, flavor your water with fruit or herbs instead. Other healthy drinking options include low-fat milk or 100% fruit juice. 
  • Cut out the fat and salt from recipes. Try using spices to flavor foods instead of salt, seasoning packets or heavy sauces. Instead of deep-frying foods, bake, broil or grill them, or use a healthy cooking oil like canola sparingly. Savor the flavor by putting a healthy spin on traditional foods your family will love. You can easily find recipes to try with your family.

By gradually making changes to old eating habits, you can find new ways to introduce healthy foods in a way you and your family will enjoy.

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