6 Clean/Sustainable Eating Tips For Families With Kids

Learn strategies for cultivating a diet that is good for both your family and the planet,
by Kacey Mya

It's fun to treat yourself to a trip through a fast food line or order pizza delivery, but eating unhealthy foods affects your body over time. Your digestive system will absorb all the carbs and sugar, converting it into long-term challenges like heart problems or weight issues.
More people have become aware of how they eat and how it affects their health, which is why it's becoming more popular to have a sustainable, clean diet. Even if you're ready to learn more about this kind of eating, it's hard to know where to start.
Check out these six clean and sustainable eating tips for families with kids. Whether you're preparing meals for yourself or teaching your children to love healthy food, these tips will help you transition into a better dietary lifestyle – benefiting both you and the planet.
    1. Discuss Your First Steps
It's easier to make changes in what you eat if everyone's on board with the idea. Sit down with your family members and talk with them about what they want to try first. They may not want to eat salads for every meal, but maybe they're interested in switching from sugary granola bars to homemade ones. Figure out what everyone wants to try so no one feels miserable when their favorite junk foods and snacks land in the trash can.
    1. Find Identical Replacements
Instead of finding brand-new foods to eat, get identical replacements for what you won't allow in your diet anymore. You may decide to stop eating meat because livestock farming creates 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, so replace it with vegan meat or plant-based proteins. Anything similar to what you used to eat will make the transition easier for everyone while keeping your health and the planet in mind. 
    1. Create And ‘Audit’ Your Meal Plans
Learning to eat a new way can feel hard. You may get tired of cooking or crave old foods during the week. That's why meal planning is so important. You'll know what you can look forward to and what food to get excited about. Make sure that you learn how to plan meals so you stick with it after more than a week or two.

While drafting that shopping list, ‘audit’ the ecological footprint of your diet. Consider, for example, that fishers currently remove more than 170 billion pounds of wildlife from the sea each year, and scientists now fear we may soon see a collapse in the world’s fisheries. If you must eat fish, ensure that what you eat is sustainably sourced. Aim for fish such as barramundi, sardines and mackerel, and avoid the endangered blue fin tuna, red snapper and Atlantic cod. Most importantly, aim to phase out or minimize animal proteins. The most comprehensive analysis of damage that farming does to the planet (Poore & Nemecek in Science, 2019) reveals that the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact is to avoid meat and dairy products. If you’re a meat-lover, you could start with just a ‘Meatless Monday’, or could reduce the portion size of meat in your meals, and instead of becoming vegetarian or vegan, you could be ‘flexitarian’, treating yourself once in a while, while reducing your carbon footprint by a third!
    1. Strategize Your Toppings
Every part of your meal counts, including your toppings. Think about what you're putting on your salad, your healthy pizza and whatever else you're eating before you sit down to enjoy it. Simple foods can be the best foods. Olives pair well with most foods and contain high levels of antioxidants so you get the nutrition you need while serving sustainable meals.
    1. Learn About Food Prep
Healthy eating gets easier when you discover how to prep food with methods like freezing and dehydrating. Prepping makes food last longer so you save money and eat it when you want to. It takes away much of the stress of eating healthy, especially when you're just starting your sustainable diet journey.
    1. Remember Your Budget
Many health food companies want you to eat their sustainable products that cost twice as much as alternative foods. Trying them is fun, but remember your budget. No one should have to break their budget every week just to maintain a healthy diet. Check for off-brand food and snacks that match your nutritional needs.
Take Things Slowly
Gradual changes and tips like these will help you and your family switch to a sustainable diet. Stick with it and you'll find that eating better becomes your new favorite habit.

By Kacey Mya
Posted by Kelly Harding on May 11, 2020 3:17 PM America/Chicago

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