Food, Life

A New Year Is The Perfect Time To Start New Family Eating Habits

I am always looking for simple ideas to make healthy eating easier. When your family is transitioning back into a regular routine in the new year, it’s the perfect time to recommit to healthy eating habits throughout the day. Getting the whole family on board may be easier than you think , just keep the focus on flavor and fun.

If you’re short on ideas to jumpstart better family eating, try these tips:

Tips To Jumpstart Better Family Eating

Keep it simple. Busy families often rely on the convenience of boxed meals, but you can get the same easy, delicious meal in a much healthier way. Everything cooks in one pot for easy clean-up, and this Cheeseburger Mac recipe swaps ground beef for leaner ground turkey. Not only is this an easy weeknight dinner, but leftovers can be packed in a thermos for lunch on chilly days.

Have fun. Try using creative shapes, textures and colors to make mealtime and lunchboxes more fun. Use cookies cutters to easily create butterflies, flowers, dinosaurs and more.  If your kids have a love of space or are learning about it in school, this bento box is definitely out of this world. Grapes create the dark backdrop while Swiss cheese is the perfect place for a moon landing. Clementine crescent moons and mini sweet pepper planet rings round out the meal.

Get Colorful. Adding color to any meal makes it more appetizing. Try sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, celery, broccoli and cherry tomatoes.  I know sometimes it can be difficult to get kids to eat more veggies. What has worked with my kids and granddaughter is dip. Read my review of Vegy Vida Dips to learn more about dips that help you get more veggies in during mealtime.

Involve The Family. Allow your kids to get involved in packing their own lunchboxes or helping with a meal. When my kids help me prepare meals, they seemed to try more foods.  They also felt like they had more of a voice. I also found that my kids can get pretty creative and that is always helpful when deciding what to make.

Here are two easy to prepare recipes to help jumpstart better eating in your family.

Cheeseburger Mac

easy lunch ideas

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1          tablespoon olive oil
  • 1          pound lean ground turkey
  • 1          small onion, finely chopped
  • 1          cup mini sweet peppers, chopped
  • 1 1/2    teaspoons paprika
  • 1          teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2       teaspoon salt
  • 1/2       teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 1/2    cups water
  • 1          cup milk
  • 3          tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/2    cups whole-grain dry macaroni
  • 1          cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese
  1. In large skillet over medium high heat, heat oil. Add turkey, onion and peppers. Cook 7-10 minutes, or until turkey is cooked through.
  2. In small bowl, mix paprika, sugar, salt and chili powder. Add to turkey and stir. Add water, milk, tomato paste and pasta. Mix well. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked and liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and top with cheese.

Space Exploration Bento Box

easy bento box

Recipe courtesy of Produce for Kids

  • 1/2       cup red seedless grapes
  • 1          whole-wheat sandwich round
  • 2          slices low-sodium deli-sliced turkey
  • 1          slice Swiss cheese
  • 1/2       slice low-fat cheddar cheese
  • 1          clementine, peeled and segmented
  • 3          mini sweet peppers, sliced into rings
  • 1          package freeze-dried fruit
  1. Add grapes to bottom of large section of bento box to create space background. Place bottom of sandwich round on top, add turkey and sandwich round top.
  2. Lay Swiss cheese on cutting board. Using small bowl or other round object, cut into circle. Place on top of sandwich to create moon.
  3. Lay cheddar cheese on cutting board. Using small star cookie cutter, cut out stars. Add to space around moon.
  4. Pair with clementine “crescent moons,” pepper “planet rings” and freeze-dried fruit.

To keep the momentum going, rely on a resource like the Power Your Lunchbox Promise website, which offers everything from healthy lunchbox ideas to after-school snacks and dinners. All meal ideas have been approved by a registered dietitian, meet USDA guidelines and are kid-friendly. What’s more, for every Power Your Lunchbox Promise made on the website, health-conscious companies supporting the initiative will make a $1 donation to Feeding America’s programs that support families and children. Learn more at


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  • Reply Christina A.

    Cute ideas! I love that Space Exploration Bento Box–bento boxes can get so creative and it makes healthy snacks fun for kids!

    January 3, 2018 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply John Smith

    I may never be one for veggies, but I’m sure I could do much better!

    January 3, 2018 at 9:53 pm
  • Reply Lyndsey R.

    Great ideas! Especially love the cheese looking like the moon! So cool!

    January 4, 2018 at 10:36 am
  • Reply shelly peterson

    I need to work on being healthier. Thanks for the info. These recipes look good.

    January 4, 2018 at 3:56 pm
  • Reply Andrew Kardon

    Love that space exploration bento box. So much fun!

    January 4, 2018 at 8:20 pm
  • Reply kflickinger73

    My family loves veggies. I will definitely be trying these recipes.

    January 4, 2018 at 8:46 pm
  • Reply Melissa Craig

    being creative with food is always fun to get the kids more involved

    January 6, 2018 at 11:45 am
  • Reply Yona Williams

    That Space Exploration Bento Box is incredibly cute. I think my nephew would love that!

    January 6, 2018 at 4:10 pm
  • Reply tat2gurlzrock

    These are great ideas! I love the bento box!

    January 9, 2018 at 3:13 pm
  • Reply shelley Zurek

    My husband and I love finding healthy recipes! It’s great that your family is also starting a healthy eating plan along with you.

    January 9, 2018 at 4:13 pm
  • Reply fashionbeyondforty

    Thank you for this yummy recipe! I agree – using color in cooking makes it more fun and prettier and we all know we eat with our eyes first! Getting family involved is a must. Such wonderful times can be had cooking together!

    January 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Alecia @ CSNY

    The bento box is adorable! I love the cheese. My kids are so grumpy about anything that isn’t chicken nuggets, maybe that would trick them!

    January 9, 2018 at 6:41 pm
  • Reply censie

    We are focusing on this right now too. All of our lunches have gotten a reboot! I am sending my kids with more fresh fruit and veggies for lunch and less packed items.

    January 9, 2018 at 9:30 pm
  • Reply Tonya Tipton

    I love the Space Exploration Bento Box, it’s a great idea and really cute.

    January 9, 2018 at 9:41 pm
  • Reply alisonrost

    Such great tips! Especially this time of year when we’re all back on the eating healthier bandwagon. I really love the Bento box idea. I’ve found with my grandson he’s far more likely to eat anything if it’s presented to him in fun way. For a moment, I swear he forgets he’s eating a vegetable! x

    January 9, 2018 at 9:55 pm
  • Reply Kristin

    These are great ideas! I love the space bento box and the cheeseburger Mac presentation is so cute!

    January 9, 2018 at 10:07 pm
  • Reply Virginia Hildreth

    I have noticed getting my kids involved with the help in cooking meals helps with getting them to try out new meals.

    January 10, 2018 at 4:32 am
  • Reply Dawn Nieves

    These are fantastic ideas! That space themed lunch box is one my kids would love!

    January 10, 2018 at 7:19 am
  • Reply Joan Kubes

    This is my resolution for 2018

    January 10, 2018 at 7:33 am
  • Reply Corter Moon 🌜 (@jenngem)

    That space exploration bento box is absolutely adorable!

    January 10, 2018 at 8:10 am
  • Reply thirtysomethingsupermom

    I love all of these ideas and I know my daughter would enjoy getting a Bento box like that one for lunch. I would like to try that cheeseburger macaroni sometime too. I think these two will be my goals for the week and then I will come back for more ideas for later.

    January 10, 2018 at 9:36 am
  • Reply Leah Kanaan

    I totally thought about getting my daughter a Bento box this year for her school lunch box. She would love all the different things you could do with that type of lunch box. Getting healthy is something our family has been working on for the last two years.

    January 10, 2018 at 10:14 am
  • Reply Entirely Kristen

    I love that Bento-Box! My daughter is such a picky eater I have to make meals fun and that looks like something she would be interested in for sure!

    January 10, 2018 at 10:18 am
  • Reply Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy

    That space box is awesome!! My daughter loves the moon, so I may need to do something similar!

    January 10, 2018 at 11:29 am
  • Reply Candace

    Girl I so needed this foodie inspo always needing ideas for the kiddos I seriously run out

    January 10, 2018 at 1:32 pm
  • Reply Aileen

    I don’t have a family of my own yet but I am planning to eat healthier this year. Anyhow, I loooove the idea of the bento box. I need to give my sister this info for my nephew! Thanks for sharing this 😀

    January 10, 2018 at 2:12 pm
  • Reply Crystal & Co. (@CrystalandComp)

    Love that sandwich! My boys would devour that. Our 3 year old love it when I pack him fun lunches.

    January 10, 2018 at 6:43 pm
  • Reply nadaliebardo

    I love how creative and well presented those snacks and meals are! The hamburger mac is probably my favorite, this year I am leaning towards meals that don’t require to be reheated.

    January 10, 2018 at 10:44 pm
  • Reply Brandon Sparks

    Amazing ideas. I will be trying these out for sure.. Thanks..

    January 11, 2018 at 3:24 pm
  • Reply momexptheworld

    Really cute ideas! I love the star cut outs of the cheese and the star containers! I’m going to take the power your lunchbox pledge!

    January 11, 2018 at 4:42 pm
  • Reply Janet W.

    My family and I are trying to incorporate more veggies into our daily diet this year. We’re also trying to watch our sodium intake.

    January 16, 2018 at 7:31 am
  • Reply vickie couturier

    all of those look so good,,i think my grandkids would love any of them

    January 20, 2018 at 11:24 am
  • Reply Lesley F

    I am always looking to find healthier recipes for my family. I saved the Cheeseburger Mac recipe as I know my family will enjoy!

    January 22, 2018 at 9:08 am
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