We all know that kids can be picky eaters. One day they like bread and the next day, they hate it. When we’re trying to appease them but also put a well-balanced meal on the table, we often forget about our own health and needs.
Good eating as a parent can be tough. If your kids won’t eat the same meal you’ve prepared for you and your partner, you may fall into the trap of just cooking what they will eat and you eat it too.
Kids food, in general, isn’t the freshest, most nutrient-rich food out there. It’s not doing your kids any favors and it isn’t giving you the energy you need to keep up with them.
Read on to learn more about healthy foods for kids and how to reinforce good eating habits, starting with yourself.
Good Eating Starts Young
Bad eating habits are hard to break. In a world where you can order delivery on your train ride home and pre-packaged, processed food, makes dinner thoughtless, it can be hard to change up your routine.
How to start being healthy starts when your children are young. From their first bites of food, you can say no to the processed baby food jars and commit to feeding them, real fresh food. In turn, you’ll be eating them as well.
Some ideas for easy, first foods as a baby are bananas and avocados. You literally can just mash them with a fork and serve them to your baby. Taking out the fork actually takes less time than finding the jars of commercial banana and avocado baby food at the store and opening the lid. This can’t get any easier.
The sooner your baby is exposed to fresh fruits, vegetables, and meat, the better your whole family will be. As they get older, when you’re cooking recipes for the adults in your household, you can feed them whatever you’re eating.
It only takes a minute to make a taco night kid friendly. Giving them a serving of chicken with shredded cheese, tomatoes, avocado, and a tortilla, makes chicken taco night, something the whole family can eat. You’ll all be getting great amounts of lean protein and vegetables.
You’d be surprised what kids under the age of one will eat when you treat them as whole humans and feed them what you’d also like to be eating. Put down the cereal box and processed food jars.
The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests a menu of eggs, meat, vegetables, cheese, and fruit for kids as young as one.
How To Start Being Healthy
When you’ve exposed your kids to healthy eating from the start, you’re already way ahead of the game. With older kids, it may be harder to break old habits but if you stay committed, so will they.
The toughest place to start is with a purge. Purge all of your horribly sugary foods, desserts, and go-too frozen meals. Replace these items with fresh fruits and vegetables that are easy to grab and go.
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion puts out a dietary guideline for Americans that can be a great resource for what you should be eating.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and chop vegetables and fruit for hours every day. Start easy and buy baby carrots that are ready to eat or fruit such as apples, bananas, and blueberries that you don’t have to do any prep with.
If you make it too hard on yourself, you are less likely to stick with it and your kids will lose interest too. When they can grab pre distributed containers of carrots, and apple slices to put in their lunch, they will. If there are bags of chips still in the house, you know what they’ll choose.
Next, look at recipes that have very few steps and can be thrown together quickly. Again, keep it simple here. After a long day the office, you’re not going to be cooking Thanksgiving so don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
One easy thing to do is choose three or four vegetables and two proteins that will go into every meal that week.
Once you’ve chopped, marinated or halfway prepared them, you can mix and match them for the meals all week. This makes it thoughtless when you get home. You know you already have broccoli, asparagus, and chicken cooked and prepped.
You can use those ingredients to throw into penne. Kids get their comforting carb and you get some much-needed vegetables and protein. If one kid picks out half of it, at least they ate half and don’t beat yourself up. Stay strong and don’t offer them a frozen pizza.
For a quick way to enhance your weight loss results with these changes, check out the HCG diet. This may help you see results faster when combining it with your new healthy changes.
Get Everyone Involved In Family Eating
To help kids get on board, get them involved in the process. Good family eating should start with the whole family. This can be as simple as taking them to the grocery store. If the thought of bringing four kids under the age of four to a grocery store alone is terrifying, do it when both you and your partner can go and make it an adventure.
Let kids touch and feel the fruits, vegetables, and ingredients. Ask their opinion, talk about recipes and let them decide what to have on hand at home. Once you get home, you may be surprised how excited they are to cook with you.
Recipes kids can actually make themselves are even better. Let them run the show and feel empowered instead of forced at mealtime.
Give your kids tasks like chopping for older kids or putting away items. You can have them stir, throw stuff in a bowl or read directions. Now a meal prep and a grocery run on Sunday becomes a family-friendly activity instead of a chore.
While this doesn’t need to happen every weekend, doing it once a month will keep their interest and help keep you all on track.
Make The Change
When you have fresh, healthy food available at home for good eating, you’re less likely to grab a bag of chips or order take-out. When you’ve prepared really easy meals with a few ingredients, you don’t have to ask yourself what’s for dinner when you’re tired from the day.
Give kids the motivation to help you and keep them involved. The healthier your kids eat, the healthier you’ll eat.
Change all of your lives for the better and start simple. You’re not aiming for hours spent in front of the stove or a Michelin star here.
If you offer your kids frozen chicken nuggets, you’ll end up eating them too and we all know what happens.
For more healthy eating tips, living green, and ideas on being healthier as a family, check out these fun posts.