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Healthy meals

How to succeed in a healthy diet for the whole family?

Family meals promote cohesion

Many parents attach great importance to their child eating a healthy diet. They eat a balanced breakfast in the morning, a vitamin-rich snack at recess, and a full meal at school at lunchtime. But what about their own nutrition? Parents also need to eat healthily in order to feel good and stay fit and productive. Here you can read how you can succeed in the often hectic everyday life.

Quickly a coffee ...

While you fill the snack box for your schoolchild with lovingly cut fruit and vegetables, you down a cup of coffee and rush out of the house shortly afterwards without breakfast. When cravings hit in between, a candy bar helps or you quickly grab something sweet from the bakery. Caught? Don't be ashamed - you're certainly not an isolated case! There are many parents among us who, between household and job, children and colleagues, turn a blind eye when it comes to their own health. With a few basic rules and tricks, it can still succeed well to eat healthy even as a mom or dad.

Five a day

The "five a day" rule - five servings of vegetables and fruit a day - applies not only to your child, but also to adults. In fact, it's not that hard to eat a handful of vegetables three times a day and a handful of fruit twice a day. Start with a balanced breakfast of sugar-free cereal or whole-grain bread, or prepare it for your breakfast break. You can transport yogurt and muesli "to go" accident-free in a practical container. As a snack for in between, fresh fruit and vegetables are suitable.


Proteins instead of fries

In the lunch break, it is best to give the snack bar a wide berth. Instead, how about a walk to the supermarket to get a healthy satiator like cottage cheese with some fruit or fresh herbs? Does your company have a canteen? Then you should consciously look for a light meal there. A large salad plate provides vitamins and makes you full instead of sluggish.

Against ravenous hunger

It probably happens more often that you work through the lunch break because time is pressing and your child wants to be picked up on time from school care. Then the reach for cookies and chocolate is not far away to raise the energy level again. It's better to snack on some nuts or dried fruit. Think about a relaxation ritual when you get home. Why not drink a delicious cup of tea or cocoa together with your child and tell each other about the day's experiences. Speaking of drinking, make sure you drink enough fluids - at least 1.5 liters a day, preferably in the form of mineral water or unsweetened tea. If you drink too little, you risk headaches, circulatory and digestive problems, among other things.
The family meal together is important!

If parents and children eat separately away from home during the day, the joint family dinner in the evening is particularly important. Then all gather around a table. There, it's not just about getting full, there's time to talk above all. Everyone can tell about the events of the day, important things can be discussed, the next day can be organized and plans for the weekend can be made. The exchange with each other is an important source of family cohesion, it conveys care, togetherness and belonging. If the family meal takes place in a pleasant atmosphere, your child will also build up enjoyable and healthy eating habits.

So take time for the family meal - without smartphone and TV. Basically, you should never eat alongside, but enjoy consciously.

Kids in the kitchen!

Also at the joint family meal, colorful vegetables and salad may come gladly on the table. Too much work? Involve your child in the preparation, then the preparation becomes a nice joint action. Avoid meat as often as possible. If you regularly take dairy products such as yogurt or cottage cheese and legumes such as lentils, chickpeas or beans, the whole family gets enough protein even without meat.


Shopping healthy

Healthy eating starts with shopping: whole grain products provide significantly more nutrients and fiber - not only in baked goods, but also in flour, rice or pasta. This is healthier and keeps you full longer. Fresh fruit and vegetables - preferably regional and seasonal - are particularly recommended. This also makes your shopping more sustainable: The shorter the transport routes, the better it is for the environment. Unhealthy foods such as snacks, chocolate or cookies should only be bought in small quantities, if at all, and relegated to the basement as far away as possible. Then it is out of sight and the constant temptation is not so great.

Be a role model

Children learn by imitation. That goes for nutrition, too. If you as a parent eat a healthy and varied diet, you will make healthy foods palatable to your child from an early age. In this way, you lay the foundation for healthy eating behavior and growing up.

More informationLinks for further reading

Many balanced and seasonal recipes for healthy family meals have been compiled by Germany's initiative for healthy nutrition and more exercise on its online portal inform.

Das Bundeszentrum für Ernährung gibt Tipps, wie Eltern gemeinsam mit den Kindern die Familienmahlzeiten gestalten können.


The Elterninfo "Essen und Trinken" of the Bundeszentrale für gesundheitliche Aufklärung BZgA contains suggestions for family nutrition


Tips on the topic of "Eat and drink whole foods according to the ten rules of the German Society for Nutrition" are available for free download.