Nutrition is a big part of my life, so teaching my children about food and the reasons behind why certain foods are better than others is a priority for my husband and me. There’s no right or wrong approach, but I like to surround my children with a nutritious lifestyle starting at adolescence to take them all the way through adulthood. This way, they’ll be healthy from the inside-out.
There’s no need for a kids’ menu! Even our baby eats healthy. One day they will go off on their own, or in the nearer future, go to their friends’ houses for playdates and sleepovers, and they will be exposed to all different types of food. The real world doesn’t always come with organic options, so providing them with the facts and familiarity will hopefully lead them to make smart choices.
When talking about food, the word “moderation” surfaces time and time again. I really uphold this philosophy in my home because the more times you say “no” to pizza or chicken nuggets, they more they will crave it. We do the typical kid’s foods in our house, but I like to put a healthy spin on it. For example, my kids love lasagna. Little by little I’ll start altering the recipe by adding eggplant instead of pasta, or maybe substituting in a healthier cheese. They still enjoy the great taste, but they’re getting better nutritional value.
TIPS TO TREAT THE KIDS
1. Try to limit high sugar drinks like soda, and even some sports drinks. Especially if you’re not eating or drinking it yourself, why give it to them?
2. Hide spinach or other greens in a smoothie. They’ll love the fruit flavor and you’re sneaking in other vitamins and nutrients at the same time.
3. Some kids aren’t into eating salads. If you find one they do like – such as chicken Caesar salad, which isn’t always the healthiest type – start to make small changes to it. Over time, remove a little dressing, then take out the cheese, and eventually add dark, leafy greens.
4. Make it fun. Have them make their own salads by deciding what to put in the bowl. It doesn’t have to be a kale salad right off the bat; they can start with the ingredients they love, like BBQ chicken. If you involve them in the process, they’ll be more excited about eating it.
5. Still want to treat them to pizza sometimes? No problem! But make sure there’s water and vegetables or fruit on the table to snack on too.
Remember, it’s all about the minute changes! You can still enjoy the same flavors and foods you love by selecting healthier ingredients and alternatives.
There is however a “black list” of foods that we do not keep in the kitchen. This doesn’t mean they have to be hidden or removed from your life, but by keeping it out of the kitchen, you are able to make better decisions at home. We’ll talk more about these in a future post, so come back to check them out soon.