One of the best ways to make sure your family is eating healthy is having meals at home. Whether you plan ahead or go to the grocery shop for just a quick stop, here are five tips to make sure you get healthier options.

1. Read your nutrition facts

Nutrition facts on packages are one of the best tools you have for selecting nutritious foods and comparing different products.  You can consider factors such as calories, fat, protein, and sugar content across brands, which helps you make smarter choices. Understanding a food label can be difficult. Doing a little research of terms on a food label can help you know what to look out for.

2. Make healthy food swaps

Switching to the lower fat version of foods you eat frequently – such as salad dressings, spreads, dairy products, even desserts – can save you a lot of calories. A cup of whole milk has 150 calories and about 7 grams of fat; nonfat milk has 90 calories and no fat.

A switch from regular ground beef to ground turkey breast can cut about 10 grams of fat and 100 calories per 3-ounce serving. You’ll eat fewer calories and a lot less sugar if you buy plain yogurt and add your own fruit and sweetener instead of the pre-sweetened variety.

Incorporate more plant-based proteins and replace refined starches with whole grain. Try brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread and crackers, whole wheat couscous, quinoa, and oatmeal instead of cream of wheat.

3. Consider what’s in season

When it comes to produce, it’s usually fresher, often retains more nutrients, and is often be less expensive than items that are out of season. If you have a farmer’s market nearby, the produce might be fresher than what you find in the supermarkets, which means vegetables won’t wilt as quickly and the foods retain their nutritional value. You’re also more likely to find new varieties of fruits and vegetables to try. Which will help you with the next tip…

4. Try a new fruit or vegetable once a week

If you’re not ready to tackle a whole new food item, you can start slow with a different variety or relative of a familiar food. All fruits and vegetables are unique in terms of the healthy phytonutrients they provide, so variety is really important to your good health.

If your salad is always made with iceberg lettuce, switch to deep green romaine or baby spinach instead. Try a new variety of cabbage or apple, or cook some purple cauliflower instead of the usual white.

5. Find ways to incorporate more fish into your diet

Canned tuna and salmon are wild caught and good sources of omega 3; they’re also convenient and affordable. Add canned tuna to your pasta sauce instead of ground beef, or toss some canned salmon into a salad for a quick, healthy and light main dish.

Once you are well supplied with healthy ingredients at home, you can make making the menu or meals a family activity.

Susan Bowerman

Susan BowermanM.S., R.D., CSSD, CSOWM, FAND – Sr. Director, Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training

Susan Bowerman is the senior director of Worldwide Nutrition Education and Training at Herbalife Nutrition. She also serves as a chairwoman of the Dietetic Advisory Board (DAB). As a registered dietitian, she educates distributors about our global nutrition philosophy and is responsible for developing nutrition education and training materials.

Bowerman earned a B.S. in Biology with distinction from the University of Colorado and an M.S. in Food Science and Nutrition from Colorado State University. She is a fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and holds two board certifications as a specialist in Sports Dietetics and in Obesity and Weight Management. When she is not busy teaching and writing, Susan enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and gardening. Her favorite Herbalife Nutrition products include Simply Probiotic and Herbalife Nutrition Formula 1 Healthy Meal Nutritional Shake Mix Banana Caramel.