While swinging through the fast-food drive-through on your way home may be quicker, it’s healthier and cheaper to prepare meals at home.
“Grocery shopping and cooking at home saves a significant amount of money on any budget,” says Dr. Mary L. Gavin, a senior medical editor at KidsHealth. “Frozen fruits and vegetables are healthy and very budget friendly. Canned goods are also easy to fit into the budget. Just be sure to rinse canned food in a colander before cooking to reduce the amount of sodium or fructose corn syrup that may have been added.”
Registered dietician Hannah Michaels, a nutrition adviser at the Orlando-based Nutritious Lifestyles, a program funded locally by Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County, underscores the importance of drawing your child into meal preparation.
“Involving your child in food preparation and how you present the food will be key to getting your child to eat,” she says.
Gavin suggests to pick recipes with ingredients that your children like. “Invite them to join you in the grocery shopping, cooking and serving of foods,” she says.
Consider buying a cookbook with recipes that use healthy ingredients in common favorite dishes, such as “Deceptively Delicious” by Jessica Seinfeld.
Michaels suggests following the "My Plate" model as illustrated at choosemyplate.gov. "When preparing a meal for your family, keep in mind the more colorful, the better," she says. In other words, varying colors of fruits, vegetables and grains should make up the majority of the plate.
• Hannah Michaels, Nutritious Lifestyles
• Environmental Working Group