The Wellness Roundup With Dr. Jill

Habits, Peer Pressure, and Mindset: Three Important Changes That Will Improve Your Family’s Nutrition (Part 1)

by Coach Julian Ribinik

(In part one of this three-part series, Coach Julian focuses on how changing your eating habits at home can have a significant impact on your family’s over-all health and wellness.)

In today’s fast-paced world, where convenience often takes precedence over nutrition, promoting healthier eating habits in the family has become more important than ever. As parents and caregivers, we play a vital role in shaping the dietary choices and behaviors of our loved ones, especially children. By addressing key challenges that affect family nutrition, we can create a supportive environment that fosters a positive relationship with food and encourages the development of lifelong healthy habits.

In this three-part series of articles, I explore the most significant changes that must be addressed in order to improve your family’s nutrition. I’ll dig deep into the realms of eating habits, peer pressure, and mindset by discussing their impact and providing practical ways to overcome the challenges they present. By implementing these changes, your family can start a journey towards improved well-being, enhanced nutrition, and stronger bonds around the dinner table.

Join me as I explore the transformative power of healthy eating, unlocking the potential for your family to thrive in its pursuit of optimal health, and vitality. Let’s dive into the essential changes that can pave the way for a nourishing lifestyle within your home:


Eating habits are the routines and patterns of eating that a person follows. In families, eating habits can have a significant impact on the health and well-being of all members, especially children.

To promote healthier eating habits for your family, it is important to:

  • Encourage regular meals and prevent snacking: This means setting aside time to sit down and eat together without distractions- as often as possible.
  • Set a good example: Parents and other adults in the household can model healthy eating habits by making nutritious choices themselves.
  • Make healthy foods accessible: Keeping healthy foods such as fresh vegetables readily available can make it easier for everyone in the household to make healthy choices.
  • Limit the typical kids/holiday “food”: This includes ordering pizza and cupcakes for all of your kids’ birthdays and celebratory moments.  An occasional slice of pizza or a cupcake can be a fun treat but they can easily become weekly or habitual staples that can negatively impact your attempts at making long-term nutritional improvements at home.
  • Encourage regular meals and prevent snacking: Establishing regular meals and snacks is crucial for promoting healthier eating habits within the family. By creating a routine, you provide structure and consistency- which helps regulate hunger and prevent overeating.
  • Set specific meal times: Establish designated times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Consistency in timing helps regulate appetite and prevents excessive snacking. Snacking outside of regular meal times causes unnecessary hunger and cravings and develops an unhealthy relationship with food.
  • Create a dedicated eating space: Designate a specific area in your home for meals such as the dining room or kitchen table. This helps eliminate distractions and allows everyone to focus on the food and the family’s shared experience.
  • Involve family members in meal planning: Engage your family in planning meals together. Let each member contribute their favorite healthy recipes or food preferences. This involvement creates a sense of ownership and excitement about meals.
  • Make nutritious choices: Opt for whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your own meals. Show your family that you prioritize healthy eating. Also, try to avoid any processed “foods” as much as possible.
  • Share your knowledge: Explain the benefits of various foods and their impact on overall health. Educate your family members about the importance of a balanced diet and the positive effects it can have on their well-being.
  • Avoid restrictive dieting or negative language: Demonstrate a healthy relationship with food by avoiding restrictive diets or negative self-talk about body image. Encourage a positive and balanced approach to eating.
  • Get creative with meals: Making meals and snacks enjoyable and exciting can help promote healthier eating habits, especially among children.

Here are some ways to get creative:

  • Try new recipes: Experiment with different flavors, cuisines, and cooking techniques to expand your family’s culinary horizons. Explore healthy recipes together and encourage everyone to try new foods.
  • Make it visually appealing: Arrange meals in an appealing and colorful way. Use various fruits and vegetables to create visually enticing dishes, making healthy foods more attractive and appealing.
  • Involve children in meal preparation: Encourage your children to participate in meal preparation. Let them wash vegetables, stir ingredients, or assemble simple dishes. This involvement can make them more excited about the meals they helped create.

Consider the following strategies:

  • Keep a well-stocked pantry: Ensure your pantry is filled with nutritious staples such as canned beans and low-sodium soups. This enables you to prepare balanced meals even on busy days.
  • Keep a fruit bowl on the counter: Keep a bowl filled with fresh fruits on the kitchen counter or dining table. This promotes easy access to healthy food and encourages family members to grab a piece of fruit instead of reaching for less nutritious options if they do get hungry in-between meals.
  • Plan and prep meals in advance: Take some time each week to plan your meals. Preparing ingredients or batch-cooking meals in advance saves time and ensures that healthy choices are readily available during busy weekdays.

By implementing these changes to your eating habits you can create an environment that supports healthier food choices, fosters positive eating behaviors, and strengthens the overall well-being of your family.

Remember, small steps can lead to significant changes when it comes to building healthier eating habits.

Stay tuned for part two where I explain how Peer Pressure can have a significant impact on the food choices that children and teenagers make and I give you some more helpful tips on how to meet the challenge.

Cheers to your health!

-Coach Julian

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