Eating healthy can be a challenge for families in this day and age. Fast food venues and witty marketing scams beckon to lure your children away from nutritious food choices. Work stress can send many families running for a quick fix at the local restaurant when there seems to be little time left for meal preparation. So how can parents get their kids to eat and stay healthy in the midst of so much temptation? Here are some ideas.
Keep quick and simple but nutritious favorite foods on hand for when you have no time to cook. Keeping things on hand such as raw veggies, pieces of fruit, yogurt, eggs, milk, and whole wheat bread are a good basis for always having something quick and simple to nosh on at any time of day. Make sure you keep your child’s favorite healthy foods on hand for quick satisfaction. Don’t keep things like cookies, chips, and soda on hand regularly in your home. These will be a constant temptation for children to stray from any healthy meal plan you offer them. Websites such as emeals.com offer a menu planning template to help your family from straying away from their healthy meal plan.
Don’t be afraid to be a sneaky chef. If your child is a picky eater then see if you can hide fruit and veggie purees in their food. It can be as simple as adding a jar of baby food carrots to the macaroni and cheese or adding a sprinkling of wheat germ to their peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Try to also get creative by cutting foods in different shapes to entice a picky eater. Cookie cutters can shape pieces of bread and cheese into masterpieces.
If your children are hooked on junk food and you are trying to ease them into a healthier eating lifestyle you can learn to make lower fat versions of their favorite foods. Eat pretzels instead of potato chips and baked potato wedges instead of french fries. Just making a few changes will go a long way.
Make sure everyone eats together as a family. Don’t turn on the T.V. during meal time. This is a great family bonding opportunity. This is also a chance for parents to model good healthy eating behavior for their children. Involving children in meal preparation can go a long way in getting them to try new foods. Always have fun and experiment with what works for your family and you will be on your way to eating well.