Healthy nutrition for the entire family

As parents, you only want the best for your family, especially when it comes to their health. However, between work, family, and responsibilities at home, you often have little time for everything else in your life. Despite the time constraints and pressures to get it all done, you still want to be a good role model for your children, while giving them everything they need without neglecting your own needs. But this is easier said than done.

When you’re stressed, it is crucial you consume a balanced diet. This provides you with energy to enjoy your life, especially with your loved ones.

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Do something good for yourself and your family

  1. Teach your children the basics of a healthy diet at an early age so that it becomes an integral and natural part of their everyday life.
  2. Involve the whole family in all the food preparation processes – from shopping to cooking and setting the table. This will lighten your workload and give you a beautiful, shared family experience.
  3. Be a positive role model and remember that parents have an enormous influence on your children’s eating habits.
  4. Let us inspire you! Metabolic Balance’s individual nutrition plan gives you many healthy recipe ideas and valuable suggestions you can use at home.
  5. Be creative! Cook with colourful vegetables, make dishes that are suitable for children, and choose simple recipes that you can easily change to cater to their tastes and food tolerances.
  6. Shop locally, seasonally, and conscientiously! Your seasonal calendar will tell you when you can buy fresh and inexpensive local products.
  7. Use planning tools to save time, money, and reduce your stress. Whether it is a shopping list, weekly menu, or a practical app, choose a planning tool that best suits you.

Losing weight together with the family - a great path to success

Let’s say that you or your partner want to lose weight. However, how can a change in diet be integrated into your life if the entire family must also be taken into consideration? You can do this easily with just a few tricks, a little creativity, and some good planning.

It’s important to celebrate the family meal experience, so that everyone can enjoy it. Shop together, cook together, and motivate each family member, as you embark on this journey of better nutrition. You can create unique dishes to fulfil the dietary needs of everyone in the family, while making variations for people in the family when needed. Try out our recipe suggestion below of Spaghetti Bolognese. It can be wonderfully combined within your meal plan, and it will become the favourite food of all your children in no time at all!

Recipe tip - mince with vegetables

Ingredients for one Metabolic Balance portion and three more hungry mouths:

  • 2 vegetable pieces (e.g. zucchini with paprika)
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 4 tsps. of diced onion
  • 1/2 papaya (or other fruit, depending on your plan)
  • 300 g minced beef (or other, depending on the plan)
  • Salt, pepper
  • Caraway
  • Organic apple vinegar
  • Chives rolls

For the three who have no Metabolic Balance meal plan:

  • 250 g spaghetti (whole grain)

Tip for the strict phase – Cook the weighed Metabolic Balance portion in a pan without oil, while the other three portions should be cooked in another pan with fat. This allows you to follow to the correct weight specifications of your meal plan.

Preparation:

Wash and clean the fruit and vegetables. Cut the vegetables into pieces, cut the onion, tomato and papaya into cubes. Now weigh the ingredients raw for the Metabolic Balance portion. Bring a pot of noodle water to a boil. Heat two coated pans without fat. In one, fry the minced meat of the Metabolic Balance plan, then fry the other portions in the other pan. Season with salt, pepper, and caraway seeds. Now put the weighed part of the vegetables, one teaspoon of onion and a half tomato into the Metabolic Balance pan and put the rest into the other pan. Let everything simmer for 10 minutes. While it’s all simmering, cook the spaghetti until its al dente. Finally, mix in the papaya pieces, let it all simmer, and season both variations with vinegar. Family members or guests who do not participate in Metabolic Balance can instead enjoy the mince pan as a delicious bolognese sauce with the spaghetti.

Tip: Mediterranean herbs such as oregano or basil make the mince pan even more Italian!

Enjoy!

How well do we feed our children?

The basics of children’s nutrition are simple – lots of fruits and vegetables and other essential natural ingredients. However, parents still make dietary mistakes when feeding their children. How can these mistakes be avoided? Nutritionist and Metabolic Balance co-founder Silvia Bürkle explains…

“For working parents, it’s difficult to prepare healthy meals. So-called “healthy” children’s food may at first appear to be a good solution; however, processed products advertised for children are not actually good for them. Companies attract children with funny packaging and mini-toys. Adults are also fooled with package advertising lines, such as “with lots of milk” and “strengthens the bones.” The truth is, these products mostly don’t contain what they promise. Most processed foods made for children contain far too much sugar and fat, and often they are full of additives and excessive amounts of synthetic nutrients. The use of natural, unprocessed foods is the better option. For instance, a fresh apple in your child’s lunch box is much better than a processed snack food.

The hurdles in everyday life

Another challenge is the food your children eat at day-care centres. In Canada, the food served at day-care centres has not always been as nutritious as parents were led to believe, especially in certain provinces in Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, according to researchers at Universite de Sherbrooke in Quebec in 2017. The researchers found that many day-care centres are failing to meet nutritional recommendations set by their respective provincial governments.

However, there has been some optimism in recent years. Canada’s Food Guide had an overhaul in 2019. Day-care menus are expected to include more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins, especially plant-based sources like legumes. If the new food guide is followed, there will be a greater emphasis on whole foods rather than processed foods. Some Canadian catering day-care companies are even beginning to consider food allergies, snacks that are low in salt or sugar, and locally-sourced foods when available.

The best for your child – fundamentals for healthy development

The foundation for a healthy life is laid as early as infancy and the toddling stage. Nutrition influences both the development and the performance of your child. The question is, do parents have any chance of providing their children with the best possible nutritional care in today’s society? Silvia Bürkle encourages concerned parents. “If you keep certain important basic fundamentals in mind, nothing will stand in the way of the healthy development of your child from a nutritional point of view.“

The following are some things for you to keep in mind:

  • Make sure that fruit, vegetables, whole grain products and high-quality proteins are regularly on the menu.
  • Familiarise your children with the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables as early as the baby food stage.
  • Cook dishes with fresh ingredients and avoid processed and packages ingredients.
  • Don’t use processed foods advertised toward children, and read product labels carefully.
  • Make sure that the daily, healthy snacks don’t exceed the amount that can fit in a child’s hand.
  • Healthy drinks (such as water, herbal tea) should be available for the children at all times – such as access to a water dispenser.

Cooking together - fun for young and old

Shopping and cooking healthy meals is fun and it also strengthens the entire family unit. We will tell you how to introduce your children to a healthy diet in an enjoyable way and show you the safety rules that need to be complied within the kitchen.

From school age on, children eat, more or less, what is put on the table. However, it is not always easy to satisfy them and their taste preferences, while involving each family member equally. You will need to find compromises and make sure everyone is happy and satisfied.

How to make shopping and cooking an enjoyable family experience:

  • Each family member may request a favourite dish once a week.
  • When shopping and cooking together, everyone contributes by taking on certain tasks.
  • Allow your child their own drawer or cupboard compartment in the kitchen with their personal kitchen utensils. That will help them stay motivated!
  • Create a fun atmosphere in the kitchen, such as with little games like “I spy with my little eye, something beginning with ...”
  • Plan an extensive Sunday brunch once a month where there are more choices on the menu and you clear your schedule with plenty of time for each other.
  • Exchange experiences during cooking and eating. Discuss your experiences and whatever is going in your life, including your plans for the coming days or for the next holiday. This way the focus is on the shared family experience.
  • If older children want to prepare a meal on their own, allow them to do so. Stay in the background for potential questions and problems, and praise the little chefs for a job well done.

Make it colorful

Children love colours. Introduce the little ones to healthy food. Tell them how good their food can taste with a wide-range of colourful fruits and vegetables. Freshly-squeezed orange juice or a colourful fruit and vegetable plate provide great pleasure, and they can also be prepared by your children with a little help!

Stay safe in the kitchen

Simple recipes, such as scrambled eggs or fruit salad, are particularly suitable when cooking with children. With more complicated dishes, you simply distribute easy tasks to the kids, such as cutting vegetables. However, the topic of safety is always important to discuss with your kids. While the food is being prepared, explain the kitchen rules to prevent potential accidents:

  • Never touch the hot stove.
  • Always cut with the blade moving away from the body.
  • Never try to catch a falling knife.
  • Never extinguish burning fat in the pan with water. Instead stifle the flame with a blanket.

Shopping in accordance with your plan

There are multiple jobs involved in holding down a job and taking care of your family. When it comes to food; shopping, washing the food, cooking and cleaning up, are all part of the process each day. However, good organization will help you get through your week, while saving you time and money. Allow us to give you some useful planning tips to help you along the way.

Shopping with your meal plan

A shopping list and meal plan help you to do your errands in a more relaxed manner, make sure that you don’t forget anything important and avoid unnecessary expenses due to spontaneous purchases. With a shopping plan, you can safely schedule your shopping for one day a week. Hang a whiteboard or notice block in a highly visible location and write down everything you need.

It is also worth preparing a meal plan for the whole week. You can document your breakfast, lunch and dinner, including starters and desserts. Then write down the food you need on your plan.

Regional, seasonal, and conscientious

A seasonal calendar is another great shopping tool that tells you what fruit and vegetables are in season. Since the local products are harvested when mature, they are also fresher, richer in vital nutrients, and they taste better. After all, when you buy local and seasonal, the food doesn’t have that long journey in an airplane or truck and that also helps protects the environment. Be open to trying the delicacies at your farmer’s market, or at the shop of a nearby farm or orchard. Also, look for local fruit and vegetables at your supermarket. You will need to read the labels carefully and pay attention to the information on the shelf.

Eco-friendly, organic or CSA (community supported agriculture) food boxes are also becoming increasingly popular. They are delivered fresh from your area to your doorstep every week, and they may even include a delicious recipe suggestion.

Local and seasonal shopping is by far the better choice! It’s good for your health, the environment, and your wallet!

The Metabolic Balance App - a mobile shopping assistant!

Mobile shopping assistants such as the free Metabolic Balance app are particularly practical tools right at your fingertips. The app is linked to your personal diet plan and provides healthy recipe suggestions for all meals. A clearly-defined plan will include all the meals for your week. On top of that, the required ingredients are conveniently placed on your personal shopping list. Try it out!

Does your child drink enough?

Studies show that many children do not drink enough fluids. Fluid deficiency can quickly lead to unpleasant consequences and even damage your child’s health. So, what can we do to make our little ones drink enough?

Adolescents need more fluids than adults in proportion to their body size and if they don’t drink enough, health problems will soon begin to crop up. For instance, symptoms your children may experience include a reduced physical and mental performance, dizziness, fatigue and headaches. In the long run, they may also develop bowel and urinary tract problems. However, even an additional glass of water with about 250 ml (one cup) a day can make a big difference and balance the water content in your child’s body.

Tips:

  • Don’t wait for your child to get thirsty. Thirst is a sign of early dehydration, so it’s better to drink regularly several times a day.
  • Please remember! The fluid requirement of your child can increase significantly while playing sports, on hot days, or if they are sick.  
  • Water is particularly suitable as a drink. It contains no calories and no sugar. Alternatively, you can also give your children unsweetened fruit drinks or herbal teas.
  • Offer your child additional water-rich foods, such as fruit, vegetables, and soup.
  • Put a light drinking bottle filled with water in your child’s schoolbag.
  • While at school, children should be allowed to drink at any time during a lesson.