We make a lot of New Year's resolutions around food. We vow to eat less sugar, less fat, and less salt. We promise ourselves we'll eat more veggies, whole grains, and fish and cut down on burgers and second helpings.
These are good first steps, but you can make other kinds of food resolutions, too, ones that benefit your whole family's health, not just your own. Try my family food resolutions.
Schedule family dinners. Studies show that gathering around the table for an evening meal helps kids get better grades, resist peer pressure to drink and smoke, and avoid eating disorders. Families are busy, I know, but aim for four nights a week. It will motivate you to prepare healthier meals and find time to talk to your kids.
Take charge. Make this the year you're in control, not your 3-year-old. When trying something new, a little struggle is OK. If your child spits out food, that's OK. What's not OK is eating not-so-nutritious food just because your kids say they like it.
Start experimenting. Try one new fruit or vegetable each week. I like to go for a new color: a lighter shade of green, a deeper shade of yellow, orange, purple, even blue. Let your kids help you find unfamiliar varieties at the grocery, then search WebMD or your favorite cooking site for recipe and preparation ideas.
Recipe: Turkey Chili
Makes 6 servings
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 Tbsp ground cumin
1 to 3 tsp red chili flakes (to taste)
3 Tbsp fresh garlic, chopped
1 pound ground, lean turkey breast
1 Tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
1 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted, organic, crushed tomatoes
2 15-ounce cans low-sodium black beans
2 15-ounce cans low-sodium kidney beans
1 cup water or chicken broth
optional toppings: sharp cheddar or jack cheese, chopped fresh onion, fat-free or low-fat sour cream
1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, add olive oil and sauté onion, cumin, and chili flakes over medium heat. Do not let onion brown. As onion becomes soft, after about 5 minutes, add garlic and cook about 2 minutes.