30 Tips to Help Your Family Eat Better

Mom and daughter making salad

Try one of these tips each day for a month to help your family take a step-by-step approach to eating healthier.

  1. Make it fun for kids to try new fruits and vegetables. Have them pick out a new fruit or vegetable in the grocery store each week. Plan together how to prepare it in a healthy way.

  2. Include whole grains in your family’s eating plan. When grocery shopping for bread, rice, pasta, cereal, cracker and more, choose the whole-grain options. Look for “whole grain” to be the first ingredient on the ingredient list.

  3. Choose healthy “good” fats. Use nontropical liquid vegetable oils, such as canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame and sunflower, in place of butter and other solid fats to minimize saturated fat and avoid trans fat.

  4. Be a good role model. It’s hard to expect your kids to eat their vegetables if you’re not eating yours. Teach your kids and show by example what healthy foods are and how much we should be eating to keep our bodies healthy.

  5. Read Nutrition Facts labels. Look for foods that provide vitamins, minerals and dietary fiber. Limit sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and avoid trans fat. Look for the Heart-Check mark on products in the grocery store to help you know you are making a healthy choice.

  6. Cook more at home. When you cook, you have more control over the ingredients in your food and the amount you eat and serve. Plan to cook at home more often than eating out. Get started with our delicious, nutritious recipes.

  7. Snack smart. Keep ready-to-eat fruit and veggies on hand, such as celery and bell peppers and a bowl of grapes or cherries, in an easy reach spot in the fridge. Your family will likely grab fruits and vegetables, especially for snacks, if they’re readily available. Make the easy choice the healthy choice.

  8. Eat fish high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, trout and albacore tuna, are good choices. Plan to serve fish twice a week. Try these fish recipes.

  9. Enjoy a small handful of nuts or seeds. Look for unsalted or lightly salted nuts. Almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pistachios and walnuts are all good choices. Also, stir them in plain, fat-free/low-fat yogurt or oatmeal or sprinkle them on salads.

  10. Choose fresh, canned or frozen vegetables and fruits. They are loaded with nutrients and dietary fiber. They are also naturally low in calories and sodium. Fresh, frozen and canned produce can all be healthy choices. For canned, choose the no-salt-added, reduced-sodium and no-added-sugar options. For frozen, look for those with no sauces or seasonings.

  11. Use fresh or dried herbs and salt-free spices. Stock your kitchen with herbs and spices, such as basil, parsley, cayenne, chili powder, cumin, curry, ginger, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes and a salt-free seasoning blend. Use these to flavor foods instead of salt. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime to add flavor, too.

  12. Pack your own lunches. Whether you’re going to the office or the kids are off to school, it’s a good idea to bring your lunch so everyone can make healthy choices. Try tuna or egg salad with fat-free/low-fat mayo on 100% whole-wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. Opt for a salad with beans, nuts and fat-free/low-fat cheese for protein. Get creative and use leftovers, too. How about using last night’s meatloaf in a pita pocket for today’s lunch with a schmear of ketchup (no salt added)? Don’t forget to pack snacks, too, including cheese strings, yogurt (plain, fat free/low fat), fruit, nuts/seeds and cut-up vegetables.

  13. Cook vegetables in healthy ways. Different cooking methods will make the same vegetable taste a little different. So, if you don’t like steamed broccoli, for example, try roasting it. Roasting brings out the natural sweetness in many vegetables, such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms and butternut squash. Try grilling zucchini, yellow squash and corn on the cob. Carrots, snow peas and asparagus are delicious steamed.

  14. Look for the Heart-Check mark when you shop. Keep your eye out for the American Heart Association’s trusted Heart-Check mark to make smarter food choices.

  15. Replace sweetened beverages with unsweetened options. Enjoy sparkling water, unsweetened tea or sugar-free beverages instead of sugar-sweetened soda or tea. Add fruits, such as lemon, lime or berries, to beverages for extra flavor.

  16. Enjoy fruit for dessert. Include fruit when making homemade desserts and limit traditional desserts to special occasions.

  17. Use healthy cooking techniques. Instead of frying foods, which can add a lot of extra calories and unhealthy fats, use healthier cooking methods, such as slow cooking, roasting, grilling, baking or steaming.

  18. Grow your own garden. Kids are more likely to try something they’ve grown themselves.

  19. Schedule time each week to plan healthy meals. Keep your recipes, grocery list and coupons organized to make planning and budgeting easier. The more you plan, the less likely you’ll be tempted to choose fast food or make other unhealthy choices.

  20. Check Nutrition Fact labels. Serving size does not always equal portion size. Check the serving size and servings per container on foods you buy. What might seem like a reasonable portion might be two or more servings.

  21. Get your kids in the kitchen. They’ll be more excited about eating healthy foods when they’ve been involved. Give them age-appropriate tasks and keep a step stool handy.

  22. Use frozen or canned fish and poultry for a quick and easy meal. Choose the low-sodium options canned in water and compare the sodium among products. Throw these proteins in a simple stir-fry or salad.

  23. Serve a meatless meal at least once a week. Think vegetable lasagna or a portabella mushroom burger. Vegetables and beans can add protein, fiber and other nutrients to a meal.

  24. Be an advocate for healthier kids. Insist on good food choices at school and child care centers. Contact public officials and make your voice heard. Join the American Heart Association’s You're the Cure.

  25. Eating healthy on a budget. Try these budget-friendly recipes. Many fruits, vegetables and legumes (beans and peas) cost less than $1 per serving.

  26. Watch out for added sugars. They add extra calories but no helpful nutrients. Sugar-sweetened beverages and soft drinks are the number one source of added sugars for most of us. Save sugary desserts and snacks for special occasions.

  27. Eat the rainbow. A fun and tasty way to make sure your family is eating a good variety of fruits and vegetables is to eat as many different colors as you can each day.

  28. Color your plate when eating out. The kiddie crayons on the table aren’t the only way to add color to your meal. Look for colorful fruits and vegetables you can add as sides or substitutes for other ingredients in your dish.

  29. Eat together as a family. Sit down for a meal together at least once a week with family, friends or neighbors. It can reduce stress, boost self-esteem and make everyone feel more connected.

  30. Help your family be well. Family meals are good for the heart.  


Nationally Supported by

Egg Nutrition Center

Nationally Supported by
Egg Nutrition Center

Eggland's Best

Nationally Supported by
Eggland's Best