Jump Start Healthier Eating, Small Steps, Big Changes

February 24, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
For many families, it's a question asked every night: what's for dinner?Karim Fugel makes sure her home is stocked with nutritious choices and she leaves them all in plain sight.

Fugel said, "We make sure that the healthy snacks are just at the kids' fingertips so that it is very easy, easily accessible for them to reach for and grab".

A few simple changes can help you put your family on a healthier track. Consumer Reports food and fitness special issue says start by giving vegetables a starring role.

Gayle Williams with Consumer Reports said, "Many of us were brought up on meat and potatoes but shift your focus. Instead of saying, 'I've got pork chops, what can I do with them?' Say, 'I've got great green beans, what can I do with them?'

And vegetables are a great source of antioxidents and fiber and pretty cost effective. As a general rule, they should fill half your plate.divide the other half between whole-grains and a lean protein, such as fish.

Williams said, "Fish is a nutritional powerhouse but you might want to avoid certain species that are very high in mercury such as swordfish and some types of tuna".

And eat like the Greeks. The Mediterranean diet which has been linked to heart-healthy benefits is rich in fish, olive oil and fresh vegetables. Consumer Reports says it's one of the smartest approaches to eating. Also try switching to low-fat dairy which still delivers a healthy dose of calcium and vitamin D.

Williams said, "If you're whole family is used to drinking whole-fat milk, start by mixing it with one-percent. Wish your family drank more milk? Try adding powdered milk to recipes."

Gradual changes can help pack more nutrition into family meals without sparking a dinner table revolt.