Family meal makeovers

FRESNO, Calif.

No wonder families end up developing some terrible eating habits. Want to get the family food plan back on track? The Consumer Reports Food and Fitness special publication can help get you there.

First, involve your children in fixing the meals, whether it's scooping out an avocado or tossing the salad. Research shows that involving kids in the kitchen helps prevent pickiness. When they're cooking with you, they're invested in what they're doing, so they're going to try it because it's their work.

A lot of small, simple switches can add up significantly. For example, swapping Cheerios for Rice Krispies gets your day started with a more nutritious breakfast, including extra fiber and potassium.

Whatever you're eating, opting for whole grain is always a smart move. And with cereal, top it with fruit- fresh if you have it, but dried or frozen are a good choice, too.

Lunchtime? Trade in the YoCrunch Oreo Cookies n' Cream Lowfat Yogurt for Chobani Champions Honey-Nana Greek Yogurt. It's protein-rich for kids, with almost 25 percent fewer calories and 5 grams less sugar.

For dinner, give your lasagna a makeover by switching from Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna Pasta to Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Lasagna Pasta. Every 2-ounce serving has triple the fiber, at 6 grams, and a little more protein.

Very few people can cook every night, so when you do cook, double the recipe so that you can have healthful leftovers on hand.

And when it comes to introducing more healthful foods to your kids, Consumer Reports says: If at first you don't succeed, don't despair.

Research suggests that you might need to offer a food up to 15 times before kids like it. For more suggestions on helping your family with mealtime makeovers, check out Consumer Reports' special publication, Food and Fitness on newsstands.

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