Getting kids off of “kid” foods is a hard transition to make, especially when they have been accustomed to eating tons of sugary flavored foods. But making small daily changes can make the world of difference. the key is knowing what is healthy and what isn’t. We think we know, but deceptive label would have us belive canned ravioli is just as good as giving our children one serving of vegetables, since the can claims each serving is “packed” with a whole serving and “healthy” We may think that swapping out a pudding cup for a Danimals Yogurt is healthy, when in fact the yogurt may contain even more sugar and food coloring than the pudding! So where is a good place for a parent to start?
The Vegetable Tray
Don’t be fooled, your kids will find at least one vegetable they really like, you just have to find that one, and given it takes a child up to seven times of rejecting a food item BEFORE they like it, you will have to keep introducing the veggie tray at least once a day. Call your kids to the table for diner about fifteen to twenty minutes before it’s ready and have a veggie tray full of baby carrots, cucumber, broccoli, any vegetables you enjoy. If they are hungry enough and can’t wait for dinner, they will munch some down! Careful with the dressing, light and fat free versions often have slenda and other sugar substitutes so it’s better to get an organic version. Check the calorie content for yourself, but for the kids, some full fat dressing is a small price to pay for eating all those veggies. Besides kids need more fat in their diet than we do!
Make Meals Together
Studies have shown that kids who engage in cooking the food, will often eat it too! This isn’t just the case for chocolate chip cookies, have your handy helpers in the kitchen with you making dinner, even if it’s as simple as mashing the potatoes, they feel accomplished and will want to taste what they have created. giving them lots of praise helps to! If you take a bite and go overboard with how good it taste because THEY made it, they are more likely to try it and like it!
The Smoothie Factor!
I love smoothies and so do my kids! The best part is my smoothies taste like milk shakes but have so many “good for you foods” it’s really ultra healthy, even if I mix in some chocolate milk mix or strawberry milk. Start out putting two bananas in your blender and some frozen fruit, like strawberries or cherries, put enough milk to make it the right consistency followed by a half of a cup of PLAIN no sugar added yogurt, you can add a few tables spoons of ovaltine mix, or nesquick strawberry milk mix if you need to and a few fresh fruits and berries too! It’s so yummy and kids beg for more!
Be cautious with labels that convince you how “healthy” it is. Just because it has more calcium than a glass of milk does take away from the fact it has more sodium than your kids can tolerate in a day! Avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague, they were never recommended for children, however sadly now a days many foods targeted for kids will secretly have “sucralose” = splenda in it without the splenda logo on it. READ THE LABELS
Shop organic when possible. organic foods don’t use unhealthy foods coloring, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners and so on. they also usually include more whole snacking options using real whole grains, sea salt instead of table salt, and honey and molasses instead of refined sugar. Also, no matter what a product may tell you, organic or not; eating the fruit is healthier than just the juice…same is true for veggies!
Making just two healthy habits a month is equaled to twenty four changes a year! Try switching soda for sparkling water with a little fruit juice, or swap out fruit snacks for dried fruit. When you find healthy alternatives, make them permanent changes and enjoy the unhealthy stuff on occation instead of everyday!