Food is a family affair.

And experts agree that how you and your family think and talk about food and bodies can have a big impact on your health now—and in the future.

Unfortunately, some of the most well-meaning practices—like restricting food or focusing on body weight—can end up being harmful. They can actually promote the behaviors and poor self-image they aim to prevent!

What to do?

Support each other in healthier attitudes. Do your best to adopt healthy habits together.


Ideas to make it happen

  • Forget "forbidden foods." Being overly restrictive about certain "bad" foods can really backfire. The pressure to be perfect can lead to all kinds of unhealthy behavior. So be moderate. Plan for treats from time to time. If you make good food choices and have reasonable portions most of the time—you're doing great.

  • Don't use food as a reward, bribe, or punishment. This can lead to "comfort eating"—overeating when you're stressed—and other unhealthy behaviors. Instead, reward or motivate yourself (or your kids) with an activity: a trip to the park, a hike with a friend, a matinee.

  • Stay away from fad diets. Beware of eating plans that promise to help you drop weight, build muscle, or lose (or gain) inches in a "quick and easy" way. Such diets rarely work in the long-term—and they can be unsafe. Instead, build life-long healthy habits for eating and activity.

  • Learn about nutrition. Take a class or read a book on nutrition. Find out how different foods nourish your body. Be food-friendly, not food-phobic!

  • Grow it yourself. Start a garden in your yard—or in containers on your porch or windowsill. Growing your own vegetables is a fun way to get some exercise, bone up on biology, and share time with your family. It's also a great reminder that food is healthy and nurturing, not harmful.
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Chill with Cool Foods

Sometimes you just want to eat something cool and refreshing, like cold soups and crisp crunchy salads — your body will appreciate the lighter food because it is healthful and incredibly delicious.​

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E is for Eating

Every time you eat and before you put anything in your mouth "eek out" your reason for eating and make sure you are making the right choice.​​

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Eat Slower

Chewing food correctly is an important part of healthy eating and makes your meal more satisfying, so you are less likely to overeat.​

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Farm Field Trips

Have you ever visited a working farm? It is fascinating to see fresh, local food grown nearby and to experience farm life firsthand.​

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Food Journaling

Keeping a food journal helps you lose weight (seriously, there's a ton of research that shows this to be true) but it also is a great tool to help you make excellent eating decisions. ​​

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Healthify Your Recipes

To help support the healthy lifestyle you've been working so hard to establish, here are some ways to healthy-up your traditional family recipes.​

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Healthy Fairground Fare

You don't have to veer off the health track to have fun at the fair with these real tasty treats you can enjoy without the guilt.​​

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Healthy Food Gifts

Start your own tradition of giving healthy food gifts with these great ideas that will delight the people in your life of all ages.​

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Local Food is Better

Are you a locavore? It's a new word to describe people who eat whole foods grown nearby that are fresher and more nutritious, support the local economy, and make less of a carbon imprint.​​​