kids healthy eating tips

Most families today have very busy schedules which makes eating healthy a little harder. I have had to learn to prepare- (which sometimes seems like too much BUT then I am in line at the drive-thru longer than if I had cut up some veggies!) We have found convenience (take-out food) is easy, but sometimes not as healthy. What we teach the kids now – HEALTHY EATING HABITS- and the examples we lead will carry into the kid’s lifetime, so prepare it is! The more I study different foods, the easier it is for me to find a way to put healthy foods in front of my family. Our bodies are so amazing and use every tiny bit of food we give them. So yes, a dash of turmeric on the veggies or eating a sliced apple or cucumber makes a huge difference in our body science. It also changes our mood (sugar makes us high and then low) and our energy. I have found that certain foods help me with stress. These are a few things I’ve learned and tried to make tiny adjustments to our food. I’m passing it along so you could consider these things as well.

  • Hand-washing is never a suggestion- Wash thoroughly with soap and scrub for 30 seconds before rinsing thoroughly. I sing the ABCs with my kids- the whole way through. Or Happy birthday through twice.

washing food

  • To get your child interested in healthier foods, ask them to help you prepare and cook them.
  • Start your kids young with a bunch of different foods. My mom fed my kids veggies they had never seen before and they loved it. Teach them that different is good.
  • Start with a healthy breakfast. My kids don’t like to eat (high schoolers!) so consider a healthy juice. I love juicing and they will drink it if I have some ready in the fridge or hand it right to them.
  • Meal time is a priority. I know it seems everything gets in the way, but move it up near the top on your “IMPORTANT LIST”.
  • Don’t make food a reward. We don’t want them to learn that kind of coping skills or to use food emotionally. Oh and don’t make it a punishment for that matter. I do that to myself sometimes.
  • grab and go fruit cups |
  • Find alternatives. We have traded nut milk for dairy-cow milk because we have found most of us don’t do well with dairy. There are so many choices of mils these days! soy, oat, goat, etc. We use butter instead of shortening and olive oil instead of butter. We use freshly squeezed fruit as a salad dressing. We snack on freeze-dried fruit instead of chips. If your kids or adults have tummies that hurt often try removing a certain kind of food for a couple of weeks (dairy, bread, gluten, sugar, etc) and talk to them about how their body feels. Ask them to notice what their body is feeling. Then when you add food back in – ask them how their body feels now. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for our intestines to feel food so watch – even the next day- if your tummy hurts. Preach awareness.
  • Look at the label of your foods. Healthy fats are unsaturated fats. (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Unhealthy fats are trans fats.
  • You can hide veggies in your food. We have had Beyond Meat and nobody knew it was not hamburger meat. My kids say they hate mushrooms but they have no idea that I put them in their stuffed peppers with roast beef.
  • Eat the rainbow- if your plate has a bunch of colors on it you are doing awesome!

rainbow of food

  • Consider having a meal or two a week that has no meat. We have a habit of thinking we can only get full if meat is on our plate but if you fill that plate with a bunch of fruits and veggies and it’s full, it will fill you up. Try it.
  • If you feel like a sugar snack (right about 4:00 pm for me!) consider fruit because it is high in the good kind of sugar. I have noticed if I put them on a plate that looks pretty (learned from Jay’s mom) then the kids want to eat it. Sometimes I will make a smiley face or something funny and it works no matter the age of the kid – or adult (husband). You could have the kids make a picture on their plate too.
  • Put the snack they choose on a plate/bowl in front of them and not the whole bag. Make a deal to always eat at the kitchen table and not in front of the TV or computer. Haha, I say that as I have a bowl of nuts sitting here next to me at the computer. Well, it is nuts!
  • Don’t make them eat everything on their plate. Like our parents did to us- I’m reversing that because they need to learn to listen to their bodies, not mine.
  • If your child is putting on unnecessary weight, look to your own cooking and feeding habits. Lead by example.
  • If your child needs to control their weight, start exercising with him but call it play, not exercise.
  • Never put a child on a diet. Instead, focus on slowing weight gain until she grows into the weight she is now. Consider not ever using the word DIET in your home.
  • Don’t feel bad if you have a bad day of eating. Just get back on track and focus on the overall diet. Sometimes I choose cake over an apple and decide that tomorrow I will choose differently. (The cake is gone now anyway!) My teens still love Dr. Pepper so I make smoothies as a different choice. And I let them choose because that’s what life is all about – choices. And when they are not under my roof anymore they will have a zillion choices and I don’t want them to go completely crazy. Oh and if there isn’t Dr. Pepper or cake in the house they may choose what I DO have.
  • Give your kids plenty of movement time. This will help them with digesting and also running off those calories. HEY, move with them!

healthy lifestyle | marcie lyons