Healthy food for the family

If you are keen to get the kids to eat more veggies or are just looking for some healthier meal alternatives for family dinner time it may be as simple as making some innovative food swaps to help you on your way.

The best step we can take toward making positive changes in our diet is to cut back on processed and refined foods such as margarine spreads, refined rice and pasta and packaged foods like pizza and ice cream. We all know what we need to do but the secret is to have an alternative that you enjoy and even prefer eating so eventually you will stop craving the junk food. Increasing the nutrient content in the meals we prepare by subtly swapping traditional low nutrient foods such as bread and pasta to vitality boosting fruits and vegetables will help to keep us healthy and feeling full of vitality.

Try these simple healthy food swaps:

  • Margarine spread for avocado

Margarine spreads go through an intense process called hydrogenation which turns them from a liquid oil to a solid. These spreads consist of hydrogenated fats which are difficult for the body to metabolize and as a result can contribute to disease. This is because hydrogenated or "trans-" fats tend to become oxidized thereby creating cell damage and inflammation within the body. Trans fats have even been linked to cardiovascular disease, inflammatory conditions and some cancers.

Swapping to avocado gives you the healthy fats that your body requires plus additional nutrients such as fibre, essential fatty acids, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin E and potassium plus it is super tasty. All the things we need for a healthy heart, nervous system and anti-ageing.

  • White rice for cauliflower rice

White rice is a refined carbohydrate which contains very few nutrients and contributes to blood sugar spikes as it pretty much turns to glucose in our bodies after eating.

Try swapping to cauliflower rice by blending raw cauliflower in a food processor or blender until it resembles the texture of rice. It can be quickly stir fried with onions, herbs, garlic and mixed veggies to create a low carbohydrate rice rich in nutrients such as choline, manganese, phosphorous, biotin and magnesium essential for a healthy body and in particular our brain, bones, skin and hair.

  • Spaghetti pasta for zucchini spaghetti or zoodles

Again white pasta is low in nutrients and has similar effects in the body to white rice. Swap the white pasta for wholemeal or spelt for more fibre and nutrients or go veggie for a lighter option by using spaghetti made from raw zucchini strips. The raw zucchini strips can be stirred through pasta sauces just at the end of cooking to gently soften and warm them making them the perfect healthy spaghetti alternative. This is a fabulous way to increase vegetables into your diet and the perfect pasta alternative to melt away unwanted belly fat.

  • Tortilla wraps to lettuce cups

White bread and corn tortillas can be quite heavy to digest, inflammatory and low in nutrients so for a fresher lighter option trying using lettuce cups. The lettuce complements dishes such as san chow bow and chilli as it gives a fresh crunchy texture making family meal times healthy yet fun. This is a great option for those that are gluten intolerant, or for those that suffer with digestive issues that find bread hard to digest. It is also a wonderful light meal option so good for those with diabetes or weight problems.

  • Ice cream for pureed frozen fruit

Ice cream can be high in trans fats, preservatives, artificial colours and the sugar content is through the roof making it a sickly sweet dessert with little health benefit. Try blending frozen fruits such as bananas and raspberries for a delicious, fresh and nutrient rich treat rich in vitamin C, bioflavonoids, magnesium and vitamin B. Frozen fruit “ice cream’ is a really easy way to get vitamins and minerals into children that don’t eat many fruits and veggies making it a wonderful immune system booster.

Tip – place the fruit puree in icy pole moulds and place in the freezer for a healthy and refreshing snack.

As you can see making healthy choices can be achieved by making a few simple swaps to regular family meals that even the most die-hard junk food eater will be able to enjoy.

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