Loading... Please wait...
Bookmark and Share


Easy Healthy Eating Chart for Your Family

Posted April 16, 2013

A few days ago, I saw a re-run episode of Food Network's "Good Eats" with Alton Brown.  Mr. Brown is not only hilarious and very clever, he is fantastic at teaching us common folk about foods and how to eat well.  In this episode, he talked about how he had gained a lot of weight over the years and realized he needed to change that.  We all know that too much extra fatty weight often leads to all sorts of heart and other terrible issues.  Not to mention when you're overweight, everything seems to be harder to do (at least for me).

Mr. Brown is a grown up, but this also holds true for your kids.  Kids who eat healthier do better in just about every aspect of their lives, and start out on life with a better foundation.

But, keeping track of how healthy your family is eating isn't always easy to do.  I, for one, just cook whatever, tried to make it as healthy as possible, but never paid much attention to tracking to make sure I hit all the marks of foods my kids should be eating.   Mr. Brown did a great job in breaking a very simple system down.

I took his information and created a chart that I copied onto a dry-erase board (you can use a chalk board or just print it out on a piece of paper).  Every week, at the end of each day, I mark off what I fed my family that day.  If you can't remember each and every meal because, well, you're lucky to remember your name by the end of the day... mark off what you had after each meal.

Healthy Eating Chart for Meal Planning

As you go along the week, you'll see what still needs to be incorporated into your week's meals to hit all the marks.  By Wednesday, I usually can see that I haven't hit at least one of the 3-times-a-week foods yet (like Oily Fish).  So I think about that for an upcoming meal (baked salmon or something like that).  By the end of Sunday's dinner, I take a look at how my family ate and take note of where we could improve for the next week.  I give myself a break and know that we will never be perfect and hit all the marks, but at least this chart will keep us thinking about it and on the right path!

If you cannot print out my chart or you don't want to use it, here are the basic marks to hit.  I assume you can substitute stuff, like sometimes I'll check off broccoli if we ate cauliflower or even cabbage because I know they are all in the same family of nutritional value (very nutritious!).  But I do suggest doing a little research as to whether a substitute is a good one. For example, white potato is NOT a good substitute for sweet potato!

Foods to Eat Daily
-Fruits (fresh, not canned! Apples are a super food, it's easy to eat them too.  Super food blueberries are great snacks.)

-Whole Grains (get your family used to brown rice products, it's so much better than white rice. Explore other grains in your local store, like Kamut which is high in protein.  I put beans in this category.  Red beans are a super food, and I often eat black beans.  In general, the darker beans are more nutritious.  Wheat germ can be bought at the store, I like the untoasted raw kind.  You can mix wheat germ into smoothies - hitting your fruit, yogurt, and grain in one shake!)

-Leafy Greens (Kale & spinach are super duper foods, just chop or tear up, sautee with olive oil, garlic, salt/pepper.  You can mix this up with pasta like ziti.)

-Nuts (Not too many, just a handful.  I throw nuts like pine nuts into pasta sauces. Almonds and walnuts are super duper foods and easy to snack on.)

-Carrots (Get organic, they are pretty cheap.)

-Green Teas (Loose leaf, without a bag is great.  Brew a big pot for your whole family and refridgerate daily.  The next day, add lemon, which makes tea even more nutritious, and you'll always have very refreshing iced tea in the fridge.)

Eat 3 Times per Week
-Oily Fish (wild salmon, sardines, etc.)

-Yogurt (I also like Almond Milk products, but stay away from Soy because Soy might have wierd hormonal effects)

-Broccoli (or something in the Brassica family)

-Sweet Potato

-Avocado (high in fat, but it's supposed to be the "good" fat that helps lower cholesterol.)

Limit to Once per Week
-Red Meat (I think this also includes chicken, but if you have to eat meat several times a week, opt for lean chicken that's baked or boiled.  That's better than too much beef, pork, lamb, etc. I think.)

-Pasta (Go whole wheat if you can, I can't because it has a wierd texture to me and I love my pasta.)

-Desserts (Pick a good one, because you're only getting one!)

-Alcohol (ditto, make it a favorite drink.  Or, if you can, don't drink at all or stick to red wine.)

Totally Eliminate
-Fast Food (At least try not to eat this!)

-Soda Drinks (I don't like any sugary drink, even something like Vitamin Water, but that's just me)

-Processed Meals (I assume this means frozen chicken nuggets, etc., so this is a hard one to avoid with kids in the house!)

-Canned Soup (I know, but it's so convenient!)

-Any type of "diet" foods (the fake sugar, etc. is just a bunch of chemicals!)

Keep in mind that none of my thoughts and notes above are from a doctor (I'm not a doctor).  But I think they're pretty good guidelines to go by.  Oh, and when I say "super food", I mean it's low in calories, can be high in protein, low in bad fat, and easy to find at your local store.

I try to get whatever I can find and afford in the USDA-certified-organic form, to avoid pesticides.  But we all know how pricey that stuff is!  If you can't get everything organic, try to get these foods organic since they are the worst in terms of how much pesticide residue can be found on them (even after you wash them).

Dirty Dozen: Get these foods Organic if you can!
1 Apples
2 Celery
3 Sweet bell peppers
4 Peaches
5 Strawberries
6 Nectarines – imported
7 Grapes
8 Spinach
9 Lettuce
10 Cucumbers
11 Blueberries – domestic
12 Potatoes
+Green beans
+ May contain pesticide residues of special concern

You can find a great list of the worst and best foods when it comes to pesticides here.

A quick note about fat.  I am more concerned with nutrition, but I also want my family to be in good shape as well.  1 pounds of body fat burns only 5 calories.  1 pound of muscle burns 50 calories.  That means that you'll burn more calories doing stuff if you have more muscle and less fat.  Fat also takes up WAY more space on your body than muscle.  So, for a leaner body shape, you want muscle because it takes up less space pound for pound compared to fat.

Be healthy everyone!
Yours truly, Jade

Jade is the founder and CEO of Ahh! Products. Find her on

. Bookmark and Share
comments powered by Disqus