Family Meal Makeovers

Daily life can be a balancing act. Juggling work, home, and -if you've got kids-homework, too. No wonder families end up developing some terrible eating habits.

Want to get the family food plan back on track? Consumer Reports can help get you there.

Dawn Lerman blogs about getting kids to eat healthy, and one of her suggestions is to involve kids in fixing the meals, whether it's cutting an avocado or tossing salad.

Lerman says, "When they're cooking with you, they're invested in what they're doing, so they're going to try it because it's their work."

Research shows involving kids in the kitchen helps prevent pickiness. The Consumer Reports' Food and Fitness special publication says that can help get your family from hectic to wholesome.

Gayle Williams of Consumer Reports says, "A lot of small, simple switches can add up significantly."

For example, swapping the Rice Krispies for Cheerios gets your day started with a more nutritious breakfast, including potassium and extra fiber.

Williams says, "Whatever you're eating, opting for whole grain is always a smart move. And with cereal, top it with fruit-fresh if you have it, but dried or frozen are a good choice, too."

Lunchtime? Trade in the YoCrunch Oreo Cookies n' Cream Lowfat Yogurt for Chobani Champions Honey-Nana Greek Yogurt. It's protein-rich for kids, with nearly 25% fewer calories and five grams less sugar.

For dinner, give your lasagna a makeover by switching from Ronzoni Oven Ready Lasagna Pasta to Ronzoni Healthy Harvest Whole Grain Lasagna Pasta. Every two-ounce serving has triple the fiber, at six grams, and a little more protein.

Williams says, "Very few people can cook every night, so when you do cook, double the recipe, so you can have healthy leftovers on hand."

Another things that helps reinforce healthy eating is eating together-something the Lermans try to do every night.

And when it comes to introducing healthier foods to your kids, Consumer Reports says: If at first you don't succeed, don't despair. Research suggests you might need to offer a food up to 15 times before kids like it.

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