Fast & Wholesome Family Meals

Michelle Dudash, RDN, is like many Inspire Health readers. She’s a young mother who is constantly on the run and a woman who is dedicated to a healthy and happy family. She is also a career woman who understands the impact of quick and easy when it comes to clean eating.

A Cordon Bleu-certified chef and dietitian with a national recognition, Dudash has applied her experience, knowledge and passion for healthy living to help others move forward to better eating. Her first book, “Clean Eating for Busy Families”, is the go-to guide for beginning and maintaining a healthy journey.

“Clean. Fresh. Fast. That’s my focus,” Dudash says. “I also like to focus on transition — that’s key, especially for busy women, whether they have children or not.”

The Arizona resident and nutritionist encourages the transition to clean eating through gradual changes that fit into individual or family lifestyles. “You are more likely to stick with those changes that way,” she explains. “I think most people know if what they are doing is healthy or not. It is a matter of problem solving to help identify ways to make your habits healthier.”

Dudash advises taking a lifestyle survey to identify areas that can have the most impact and starting there. “Pick a few things and see if you can stick to that way of eating for a month. If you can get through a month of anything, it becomes a habit and then you can reach for a few more things.”

Dudash suggests choosing whole foods in their least processed states, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, unrefined oils and whole grains like quinoa and brown rice. 

How do you get a child to participate in the clean eating transition? 

“Being a great example is the best place to start,” Dudash is quick to point out. “If you don’t like a certain food, or if you are eating fast food all the time, of course your children are going to want to eat that way, too. Believe it or not, parents and peers play a role in nutritional choices.”

When her daughter was getting bored with her school lunches, Dudash asked her what she liked about what her friends were bringing. She realized the packaging made their lunches more tempting and copied that with her homemade, healthier version.

Look at foods that kids love and find a way to make those meals healthier. Try a Dudash family favorite alternative to drive-thru nuggets. Cut chicken breasts into bite-size pieces, roll them in Parmesan cheese and garlic powder, and pop them in the oven. It’s quick, easy and tastes great.

“Cook once, eat twice” is another Dudash recommendation to save preparation and clean-up time. “Know what your family will eat, plan ahead and make sure you have the groceries on hand,” she says.

There’s no magic system or food plan, Dudash emphasizes. For her, it’s all about what works for you, your schedule and your food preferences. 

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