I have four kids of varying ages, some young and some teenagers. I have learned that making healthy food is not nearly as easy as going for takeout. A drive through was once my kitchen, much to the irritation of my wife who on her own cooking days would make us incredible meals from scratch.

Don’t worry, I have since learned the error of my ways (you can thank a high blood pressure diagnosis). Here are ten simple ways to make healthier meals for your family. They are so easy I was able to do it!

1. Plan Your Meals - The easiest tip of all, plan meals for the week ahead of time. It is amazing how much difference being prepared makes meal time.

2. Shop Once a Week - I am horrible about going to the store four or five times a week which led to me buying unhealthy foods each time to snack on. I now go once a week with a set list and stick to it.

3. Plan Days For Eating Out - Let’s me real, you are going to eat out sometimes, right? Set either the days you do or the number of times per week. For instance, we get pizza once a week and go to a diner for Sunday brunch.

4. Try Cooking As a Family - You know what makes meal times so much more fun? Cooking as a family! Every day my wife and I alternate cooking with the kids so they learn alongside us.

5. Make It a Party - Twice a month we throw a party for friends and family. Everyone brings a dish (most are health, some aren’t) and we all eat together at our house. It is a great way to discover new dishes, too!

6. Always Add Vegetables - Vegetables can be added to literally anything., Dice it, slice it, puree it, whatever is necessary to pump up the nutritional content in your dishes.

7. Learn to Make Simple Adjustments - That enchilada recipe you love? Replace the beef with chicken breast or black beans, reduce the amount of cheese and you have a healthier version. Simple substitutions make a huge difference.

8. Batch Cook - Have a busy life? Batch cook! Once a week make dinner for the next 6 - 7 days (longer, if you have the space) and freeze the meals. Then all you have to do is defrost and reheat.

9. Cut Out Juice and Soda - This is a no-brainer. Juice and soda are empty calories and a mountain of sugar. I lost ten pounds effortlessly when I stopped drinking my daily colas.

10. Eat As a Family - The most important tip, eat as a family. Even if it is a meal a day, or just a few a week, it is good for mental and emotional health.

Author's Bio: 

Tyler is a husband, father, and freelance writer. He loves being with his family and finding new ways to improve their lives and relationships with one another.