Plan Healthy Meals
March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme, “Go Further with Food,” encourages healthy eating habits and reducing food waste. Learn how to help your family eat better and “Go Further with Food.”
We know eating well can be tough–especially when you are a busy parent. Kids’ early eating experiences can affect how they eat as they get older. That’s why it’s so important to introduce them to healthy foods, including fruits and vegetables, from the very beginning. It all starts with knowing how much you need and then incorporating healthy foods into your family’s diet. It is also important that you have access to nutritious foods in places where you and your family live, learn, work, and play.
Why Fruits and Veggies?
Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables helps children get the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development.
Is My Family Getting Enough?
Most Americans do not eat enough fruits and vegetables. In 2015, only 12% of adults ate enough fruit and 9% ate enough vegetables. In 2013, 9% of adolescents ate enough fruit and 2% ate enough vegetables. The USDA’s ChooseMyPlate can help you find out if you have enough fruits and vegetables in your diet and choose the healthy foods and drinks for that work for your family.
Set your children up for a healthy start! Help them go further by:
- Making a rainbow of different colored foods on your child’s plate. Add a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
- Plan your family meals together. Teach your children about food selection, preparation, and basic cooking.
- Adding variety to the meals you make. Find new, healthy recipes that work for your family and lifestyle.
Not only can planning your meals help you save time and money, it can ensure that you will get your daily fruit and vegetables.
Try these tips.
- Before your next trip to the grocery store, consider the foods you have on hand.
- Buy only what can be eaten within a few days or frozen.
- If you have leftovers, think of ways to use them later in the week.
- Try cooking healthy recipes that you can portion out into a few meals and store in your fridge or freezer.
A Healthy Community
Communities can help support healthy choices. Many Americans find that fruits and vegetables can be expensive or unavailable where they live, which makes getting enough hard. CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity supports Americans’ journey to good health by working to make fruits and vegetables accessible for all:
- At Childcare
We help early care and education providers meet national nutrition standards.
- In School
We promote healthy eating in schools, including making salad bars more available.
- At Work
We make it easier to eat well at work, by developing healthy food service guidelines.[3.35 MB]
- Community food retail stores
We support states and communities to increase healthier food options in grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and other retailers.[2.49 MB]