With a staggering childhood obesity rate, what we feed our children demands our attention. Treats at school and birthday parties present challenges, but education in the home and leading by example provide our children the groundwork they need to make the best decisions. When my daughter was born, I felt an overwhelmingly desire to do my very best for her. Once she started eating, I’ve had to make eating right a priority. My goal with food is to get her taste buds to desire and crave healthy food. I believe taste buds are made, and what we feed our kids is what they crave. A common frustration for fit parents is, “how do I get my family to eat healthy?”
Check out these tips on how to make clean eating a family affair:
1. Plan meals together. Let each family member choose a favorite food and find a healthy recipe. All the typical “kid’s foods” can be made in a healthy way. When the kids get involved, they enjoy the process, and it’s a great way to teach them about food groups and nutritional information.
2. Sit down and eat dinner together.
3. Make breakfast a must. Break-the-fast, it gets the metabolism going to provide children the energy their minds and bodies need for school.
4. Keep a variety of healthy snacks around the house, fruits, veggies, nuts, yogurt-based dips. Moms, we choose what comes into the home, make sure these are consistent with your healthy goals.
5. Don’t criticize food choices, if your 6-year-old wants to make pizza, make a healthy pizza and have them help you. Everything can be made healthier and this is a big part of getting your family on board and long-term success.
6. Get everyone on a 3 meal and 2 snack-a-day plan. Do you ever wonder why your kids are acting unlike themselves? It’s typically because they are hungry or tired. Food is fuel and without it, they are cranky, tired, and have trouble concentrating.
7. Plan fun food times, for example: go get frozen yogurt, and enjoy a movie night with popcorn.
Forget the all or nothing approach, it’s too extreme and never produces long-lasting results.
Avoid making foods forbidden, everything in moderation. Depending upon the age of your child saying no makes them want it more.
8. Teach food is fuel, not a comfort or reward.
9. Watch how you talk about your fitness goals and the way you look around your children. Being healthy is the way we should live. It’s unhealthy to obsess over a desired look. Disorders are born out of extremes, so make sure to speak positively about yourself and your children. Avoid negative descriptive words like, fat. Our children are always listening.
10. With young children make food fun. Broccoli can be called little trees, buy whole grain animal shaped pasta, “and make fun snacks like, “ants on a log” which is celery, peanut butter, and raisins, or “surf boards”, cut bread in the shape of a surf board and top it with tomatoes, string cheese, and a dressing like balsamic vinegar or humus.
11. Use a variety of spices and different flavors like, lemon, lime, and salsa, to expand their palate.
12. If your family doesn’t eat the way you do, you’re not alone. To ensure your best chances for success, get your family to see that eating clean doesn’t mean food has to taste bad. Change is tough but not impossible. What helps are quick meals that taste great, having healthy snacks on hand, and getting the kids involved in the kitchen.
Don’t you think it would make your life a lot easier to make one meal for everyone? As a mom I feel like I’m responsible for my family’s health, don’t you? I would love to hear your thoughts.
Here to help you get Happy, Healthy, and FIT,