Mom laughing with toddler daughter making strawberry smoothies in kitchen

Healthy eating, made easy

With winter on the wane, it’s time to spring clean your health!

And Nutrition Month offers the perfect excuse to get the whole family started—after all, studies show that when all family members are involved, the more likely you are to achieve those healthy goals.

Small, achievable steps

Getting started is as easy as making small steps toward your larger change. So if, for example, you’re trying to get more fruits and vegetables into your family’s diet, make small, concrete changes such as:

  • Include salad with dinner every night, or
  • Buy one new vegetable or fruit when you grocery shop each week, or
  • Eat fruit for dessert at least four times a week.

Get everyone’s buy-in on the family goal. Then write it down. Use language that allows some wiggle room; that way, if you are dining out and fruit is not a dessert option, your change will not be derailed.

Now here are some change ideas your family can choose from. Or select your own!

  • Swap the pop.Beverages such as soda, iced tea and fruit drinks are loaded with excess sugar, but have little nutritional benefit. If sugar-sweetened beverages are a regular feature of your family’s meals, try drinking water instead at one meal a day. Or, limit pop as a special occasion treat.
  • Eat together.Children who dine with their parents tend to eat more fruits and vegetables and consumer fewer fried foods and soft drinks. Plus they have a lower risk of becoming overweight or obese. And you don’t have to sit down every night to reap these benefits. Aim to gather as a family at least four nights a week.
  • Eat more whole grains.If your starch rotation is pasta-rice-pasta-rice, mix it up with whole grains a few times a week. Choose brown rice over white rice, and opt for whole wheat pasta. Add in some quinoa, pot barley or buckwheat too. Whole grains provide satiating fibre plus health-promoting antioxidants.
  • Set snack rules.Snacking in front of the TV or computer can lead to overeating. Make a habit of serving snacks at the dining table. And give everyone a portion in a small bowl or plate, rather than passing around a full box or bag.
  • Cook together. If your children are old enough, get them involved in preparing a meal at least once a week. Bonus: Sharing kitchen duties provides time to talk about food likes and dislikes – great for picky eaters who may appreciate more control.

Change is achievable. With realistic goals, your family can make small changes that lead to big health rewards. And once you’ve mastered one change…try one more.



8 Responses

  1. I am a single senior (78yrs old) please send me good food choices for me.. I don’t drink smoothies, or any spicy foods. or baked goodies…….thanks Pamela.. I walk daily

    1. Sharon Hollingsworth

      Hi Pamela and thank you for your note! It sounds as if you are doing lots right in terms of your diet and getting regular physical activity. Good for you. You will find plenty of great information on healthy eating and some wonderful recipes in the healthy living section of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s website at

      Thanks again for getting in touch – hope you are having a lovely day and that the sun is shining where you are. Sincerely, Sharon at the Heart and Stroke Foundation

  2. Thanks for letting us comment here. First of all, I’d like to outline that healthy food is a key to your success. Secondly, avoiding fat food will help you feel better in a short while!

    1. Sharon Hollingsworth

      Hi there and thank you for your interest in the Heart & Stroke blog. It is certainly true that as part of a heart healthy lifestyle it’s important to increase our intake of vegetables and fruit to help reduce our risk of heart disease, stroke and a number of other chronic diseases. You’re correct in stating that not everyone likes spinach and broccoli, but there is a wide variety of other vegetables and fruits that have equally important nutrients. If you visit our website,, and select the Health Information/Healthy Living/Healthy Eating drop-down menus, you will find lots of information on this topic as well as a wonderful selection of recipes to tempt even the pickiest eater. Thanks again for your note – hope this information is helpful. Yours in good health, Sharon at the Heart and Stroke Foundation

  3. Dairy Council of California’s K-12 nutrition curriculum provides an easy way for teachers to integrate nutrition into their classroom while fulfilling standards. The nutrition programs help s

  4. This article will really give people more confidence when it comes down to changing their diets. The sections about setting rules for yourself can really help with the step by step approach to completely changing your diet in the long run.

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