Family Meal Planning
UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic helps all children and caregivers to develop healthier habits that lead to fit families.
Healthy eating, or mindful eating, is more than just what you eat, but is also when, where, why and how you eat, too. Meal planning as a family is one way to become a fitter family.
Meal planning can be as simple as deciding what is for dinner the day before. Check out the tips below to make meal planning a part of your daily routine:
- Plan to eat at least four times per day. Most people find that three meals and one to three snacks provide consistent energy and controls hunger.
- Break the fast with breakfast. Breakfast is key because it gives your body's engine (metabolism) a jump start to provide energy and focus throughout the day.
- Try to eat every four hours but not sooner than every two hours. Waiting too long between meals often leads to over-eating and eating too soon does not give your body the time it needs to use the energy it already has.
- Build a meal with at least three of the five food groups, which are whole grains, lean protein, fruit, vegetables and dairy.
- Fill up on plants. Make at least half of your plate a plant-based food such as vegetables, fruit or whole grains.
- Make water your number one beverage. Sweet drinks make a nice treat but do not provide lasting energy.
- Enjoy a smart snack with two of the five food groups, such as one serving of grain, fruit or vegetable with a serving of protein or healthy fat.
- Keep smart snacks with you to avoid impulse eating.
- Enjoy all meals and snacks at a table without electronics. Distracted dining can lead to over-eating.
- Invite all members of the family into the meal planning process. There is a role for everyone, from grocery shopping to cooking to clean up.
GO, SLOW, WHOA
UW Health's Pediatric Fitness Clinic embraces the National Institute of Health's GO, SLOW, WHOA approach. There are truly no "good" or "bad" foods, there are simply foods that are healthier to eat more often.