The Best Diet Plans for a Familyby Nina Makofsky
Whether you family prefers vegetarian food or ethnic food, or if everyone has a different favorite food plan, you can create a diverse and nutritious family diet plan. Consider your goals and your family's goals with the family diet. You might want to lose weight, change bad eating habits, develop fitness, diversify food choices or simplify the meal preparation routine. Use these goals to guide you through the steps of budgeting, shopping, cooking and eating out.
Choose a type of family food plan that suits everyone's tastes. For example, many children may balk at a purely raw food or vegan diet, though they may enjoy many of the smoothies and salads you include on it. An overly restrictive diet, such as one that is very low in carbohydrates, may not provide all the nutrients a growing child needs. Keep food choices diverse and healthy for the best results. Emphasize fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins and healthy sources of fat, such as nuts, seeds and olive oil.
The best family diets center around nutrient-dense foods and avoid processed foods. The HealthCentral website's guide to fixing your family diet recommends reducing your intake of salt, sugar, full-fat dairy products and trans fat and saturated fat, typically found in fast food, deep-fried food and processed food.
The Harvard School of Public Health warns people against using diet plans that represent private or for-profit interests as they often draw upon outdated research or misrepresent statistics to support their gains. Instead, refer to an eating guide that represents current, unbiased research, such as the healthy eating pyramid. This diet guide has a foundation of exercise, both cardiovascular and strengthening. Focus on plant-based food sources, such as legumes, whole grains and healthy fats, rather than red meat, sweet beverages, syrups, refined flour and potatoes. Carnivores should emphasize lean and light preparations of seafood and poultry.
The family that diets and exercises together has a built-in support network. Make activities, such as gardening, shopping at farmers' markets, preparing food and eating meals, a family event. Schedule outings that involve walking, hiking, cycling, swimming and playing in the park.
The best family food plan can be confounded by snacking on junk food. The FamilyEducation website provides several suggestions for healthful family foods and snacks. Fresh fruits and vegetables top the list. In addition, try snacks, such as dried fruit, nuts, seeds or frozen fruit juice pops.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images