Health Starts at Home, 4 Ways to Make Healthier Meals for Your FamAccording to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, many of the chronic illnesses being suffered by Americans can be partially or solely attributed to poor diet. Obesity, type two diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis all effect millions of people. Of course, there is also a genetic factor to these diseases. If you want to give your family the best chance possible to avoid chronic illness, here are some tips for preparing healthy, great-tasting meals.

Swap out Your Fat Sources

Fat-free is a fad diet buzzword, usually used to describe foods that have had the fat removed and refined sugar added. Our bodies need healthy fats to avoid artery disease and to keep our brains functioning normally. Swap out red meat for some tuna steaks or use avocado on sandwiches instead of mayo to fuel your body and give it the healthy fats it needs.

Be Choosy About Baked Goods

Refined flour has had most of the nutrition stripped away and is processed into sugar almost as soon as you eat it. Select whole-grain alternatives, to get fiber, iron and magnesium from your baked goods. You’ll also want to steer clear of the refined sugars and corn syrup used in many sweet baked goods. Opt instead to add your own sweetness with honey or stevia.

Sneak in Vegetables

It’s a fact that a diet deficient in vegetables is unhealthy, yet many people simply don’t like them. This is especially true with children. Try putting cauliflower through the food processor and using it in place of bread crumbs in a meatloaf. Give spaghetti squash a try instead of pasta noodles. Finely dice peppers, onions, garlic and some chives into your lasagna. If you make your own fruit juice, toss in a carrot or two without affecting the taste.

Get Rid of Empty Calories

Empty calories offer your family no nutrition at all and should be avoided if at all possible. For example, potato chips and soda don’t give anything but starch and sugars. Iceberg lettuce, for all its crunch, is basically water and cellulose and can be swapped with baby spinach or romaine to get some iron, copper and potassium.

These small changes can add up to longer lives and fewer health problems, in addition to broadening your palate. If you’re hoping to feed your family nutritious meals that will fuel their bodies properly, these are all great places to start.