Spaghetti Squash Marinara
Fruit Sweetened Blueberry Muffins
Nothing is more important than a healthy family…
I thought I was healthy–I ate vegetables, I exercised. I had low blood pressure, low heart rate, normal cholesterol, and I was not overweight. No doctor ever told me I was unhealthy–in fact, they had told me I was healthy–until I had fertility testing.
I had no idea I was unhealthy…
For me it was the snacks, desserts and coke–I didn’t think that they counted if I ate healthy meals, but they add up throughout the day! And a lot of the foods I thought were healthy choices (Starbucks blueberry muffin, cliff bar) were actually LOADED with sugar!
My health limited my ability to have kids… And if I had not made changes, would have caused serious health problems down the road.
I do not want my kids to be limited by their health…
Everyone wants a healthy family… But what actually makes a family HEALTHIER? What ADDS to health and what TAKES AWAY from health?
Below are the 7 Essentials to a Healthy Family that I have found through thousands of hours of research…
Healthy Family Essential 1: Decrease Added Sugar!
Everyone knows that candy has a lot of sugar and is unhealthy…
But a blueberry muffin? I thought that was healthy! A Starbucks blueberry muffin has more sugar than flour in it! (and more sugar than women and children should have in a day!)
There are so many convenience foods that have sugar “hiding” in them! Foods that you think are healthy are really not as healthy as you think…
“Added” sugar is what makes these products unhealthy–the added sugar is sugar without fiber–this could be granular sugar, high fructose corn syrup, fruit juices or concentrated sugar like honey and maple syrup.
Added sugar doesn’t have fiber to slow down its absorption–so it spikes blood sugar.
Added sugar gets stored as fat. Things that taste sweet have fructose packaged with the glucose, but only your liver can use the fructose. Added sugars overwhelm the liver, and it turns the sugar to belly fat.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting Added Sugar to 25g for women and children and 36g for men per day
Limiting Added Sugar is Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 2: Eat More Fruits and Veggies!
Fruits and Vegetables are an amazing source of health! They are packed with micronutrients–these are more than just vitamins and minerals, but special compounds made by the plant that have amazing health benefits. Each vegetable is packed with thousands of micronutrients!
Micronutrients do some many AMAZING things like protect us from cancer, boost immune function, lower inflammation, improve memory, protect from pathogenic bacteria, promote healthy blood vessels, balance metabolism and so much more!
Fruits and Vegetables also have fiber which helps our digestive system in so many ways including feeding our microbiome!
To get the wide variety of benefits from all the micronutrients, you need to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables: leafy greens, colors and sulfur (like onions, garlic, cabbage and more).
Eating lots of fruits and vegetables are Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 3: Choose Healthy Fats
All fat is not unhealthy–shocking, right? I grew up when fat was bad and experts told us to avoid all fat.
But we need fat! There are fats that our bodies can not make–we MUST get these fats from our diet.
Some fats can be inflammatory (Inflammation is like lighting your body on fire!) like omega-6 fatty acids in soybean oil, peanut oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil, corn oil and mixed vegetable oils (among others).
Choosing healthy fats for your family is about choosing fats that improve health (like lowering inflammation) and avoiding ones that are inflammatory.
Healthy fats include avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, clarified butter/ghee, and animal fats–especially cold water fish like salmon– (IF they are high quality and do not contain hormones, pesticides or other chemicals!)
Choosing healthy fats is Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 4: Support a Diverse Microbiome
We think of bacteria being bad, but bacteria is actually an important part of our digestive system! Our microbiome is made up of good bacteria–this good bacteria is mostly in our digestive tract, and it outnumbers our own human cells!
Our microbiome does so much more than help us digest food (which it does!), but it makes nuerotransmitters (brain chemicals that affect mood), helps regulate the immune system, protects us from pathogenic bacteria and viruses, helps regulate hormones and so much more!
Supporting a healthy microbiome is Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 5: Decrease Gluten!
Gluten is the protein in wheat that gives baked goods their structure–allowing baked goods to rise and keep all the air inside, making them fluffy!
The gluten protein is sticky and can stick to the inside of your intestines and break through the barrier–allowing the contents of your gut to LEAK into your abdomen! (This is called Leaky Gut).
Gluten is also inflammatory–it causes your immune system to react to it, causing inflammation. And when the inflammatory gluten proteins leak out of your gut, they go everywhere–causing inflammation everywhere in your body–its like lighting your entire body on fire!
Think about how many products you and your family eats throughout the day that contains wheat (look at the nutrition facts label on the side). Decreasing gluten does not mean you have to start using “gluten free” products, but you could just start choosing healthier options–like instead of a packaged snack (that contains gluten) you choose fresh fruit or other healthy snack that does not contain gluten…
Decreasing gluten is Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 6: Eat Quality Protein!
If you are what you eat, then you are what you eat eats…
If an animal is fed an un-natural diet–full of herbicides, insecticides, pesticides, then those chemicals will be deposited and concentrated in the animal’s meat and eggs.
And then your family eats it…
Whatever protein you choose for your family, select high quality protein–that does not have the hormones and chemicals that could be harmful!
Choosing quality protein is Essential for a healthy family!
Healthy Family Essential 7: Be Active!
Exercise is so important for health, but being active does not mean you need to spend hours in the gym every day…
Simply going for a walk can greatly impact your health! Having kids engage in active play–things that engage core muscles like climbing, animal walking, running, riding bikes–gives them the benefits of exercise without them even know it!
Exercise increases metabolism–it stimulates the body to make more mitochondria, and then you burn more calories even at rest! It improves mood, memory and cognition by stimulating the body to make more neurotransmitters (brain chemicals). Exercise decreases stress by balancing the stress hormone cortisol. And exercise does so much more!
Exercise is so important, but remember: you can’t exercise away a bad diet… In other words, exercise does not cancel out unhealthy food choices so it is important to make sure your family is eating right (remember snacks and treats count, too) as well as being active!
Being active is Essential for a healthy family!
Pharmacist, Chef, and Mother of Twins!
Hi! I’m Julie! When I’m not chasing my twins around, I am creating simple, healthy meals that busy moms and kids will love!
I’m here to help! If you are feeling overwhelmed about changing your diet, tired of scouring the internet for recipes that you think your family will eat, and stressed out from all the meal prep– I can help you!
You don’t have to do it alone! What if you had a Chef and Mother holding your hand as you took baby steps making healthy changes???