March is National Nutrition Month and an opportunity to take stock of our diets while choosing healthier foods. The conundrum that every parent faces, however, is how to get it done. Wholesome eating takes more thought and effort. The good news is, however, that it is easier than most people realize. Some of the healthiest foods for our family are easier than you think to sneak into your diet. 

1. Green Leafy Vegetables

These are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including iron. Spinach and Swiss chard can be steamed or sauteed in a pan. You can cook beforehand and store in the fridge. Then simply reheat in the microwave and serve with a little olive oil and salt. Kale freezes well – just wash, dry and place in a sealed bag in the freezer. Once frozen, the leaves and can be broken into smaller pieces and added to soups or stews. But your best bet with the kids is to sneak some of these leafy greens into a fruit-filled smoothie.

2. Cruciferous Vegetables

These veggies get a bad rap, and the irony is that they are really good for you. Broccoli and cauliflower make great soups, and cruciferous vegetables are good as side dishes or a meal like stir fry. Try lightly steaming broccoli or cauliflower, then drizzle with olive oil and salt and broil until slightly charred. Broiled Brussels sprouts are a favorite in our house - simply cut the sprouts in half, place on a broiler pan, drizzle with olive oil and salt and broil until charred and soft, mixing frequently. Or you can even bake the broccoli with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and garlic. A bit of cheese makes it even better for getting the kids to gobble it up.

3. Fish

Fish is a great source of lean protein and is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Sardines may take a little getting used to but are a great snack with crackers or bread. Cod and halibut are less "fishy" and are simple to prepare - just brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and grill or broil. Salmon can be prepared in the same manner and is a favorite in our house, especially when the skin is grilled to crispy perfection (the skin has a lot of the healthy fats). If you're kids aren't fans of fish, ease them into it with some fried versions

4. Whole grains

Whole grains are high in fiber and a lot of nutrients are contained in the outer husk. Fiber helps to slow the processing of carbohydrates so our blood sugar doesn't spike. It is easy to substitute whole wheat or white wheat for white flour, and in many cases (like cookies or cake), it is difficult to discern the difference. Wheat berries and bulgar make for great salads, and can also be added to soup and even breads.

5. Legumes 

Legumes are a great source of protein. They are cholesterol-free and high in fiber and protein. Beans and lentils are great in soups and salads, and beans can be ground up with sauteed onions and peppers to make a great dip that your kids will actually eat. Peanuts are a great snack alternative to chips, and peanut butter is great in noodle dishes.

6. Nuts

Nuts go well with so many different foods. In addition to sweets, sprinkle them on your cereral in the morning or on a salad with dinner. They go well in stir-fry recipes and can be ground up and mixed into a crispy coating for fish or chicken. Finally, nuts are delicious by themselves and make a great snack like homemade granola (with a bit of chocolate include to entice the children).

7. Fresh fruit

Fresh fruits make a good addition to lunch, where serving cut up apples, pears or oranges make a healthy alternative or addition to chips and other empty-calorie snacks. You can add fruit to breakfast cereals and plain unsweetened yogurt for a natural sweetener. The natural sugars in fruit are much healthier than what you get in processed foods while providing vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber. Serve some fruit with a bit of whipped cream for dessert.

8. Healthy fats

I grew up being told all fat was bad, but nutrition experts have realized that not all fats are created equal. In fact, in some cases, good fats might be an important part of a healthy diet. These include the fats in nuts, fish, and olive oil. Avocados are a good source of healthy fats, as well and really tasty with a bit of salt.

9. Water

Hydration is an important part of good health, and water is the best way to accomplish this. While rigorous exercise requires replenishing salts and electrolytes, in most instances, water is the best choice for a beverage, especially during meals. Sweetened drinks are chock full of artificial flavoring, colors, and preservatives. Adding a bit of lemon to your child's water may just inspire them to drink up.

10. Lean meats

In addition to fish, lean cuts of meat are lower in fat and are a good source of protein. Plus they are filling and satisfying, curbing hunger better than simple carbohydrates. Consider breast meat chicken, lean cuts of pork and beef, and of course, fish. It's easier than you think to make your own chicken tenders at home that your kids will love.

As always, good eating habits benefit from starting early and being firm in your resolve. To learn more about healthy eating, talk to your doctor or visit the website for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).