Helping Kids Eat Healthy

Fast food and other convenience foods are a big

Eat your vegetables!

part of modern life these days. This makes it harder
for families to instill healthy eating into their meal
plans.

The cheapest and easiest foods are those that
are normally the least healthy. If you give your child
the choice between healthy food and junk food, you
probably won’t like the results.

Even though it isn’t possible to get a child to like
all healthy foods, there are some ways to get your child to try them.
Hopefully, they will like at least a few of them.Getting kids to eat healthy
can be a daily challenge.

– Call fruits and vegetables by funny names. You
can refer to broccoli as “trees”, making them
more fun to eat. Spinach makes big and strong
muscles, according to Popeye. There are many
different names you can call fruits and vegetables,
even making up your own if you prefer. Most kids
prefer to eat foods that sound fun.

– Enhance the flavor of foods. Ranch dressing is
great for broccoli, while peanut butter is a great
topping for celery. There are several combinations
for vegetables that can make them taste more
acceptable. You can let your young child pick a
topping for a vegetable, even if it’s something
you wouldn’t normally like yourself.

– Dress the vegetables up. Just as much as calling
them names help kids eat healthy foods, making them
look funny also helps.You can do this by making
funny designs on the plate, or setting them up to
look like people, such as a stick person with little
carrots for a body. Although some parents don’t like
their kids playing with their food, sometimes it helps
to get them to eat healthier.

– You might even be able to include foods that
are not their favorites into different dishes. If
soups with ‘not so favorite’ vegetables are being
prepared, by pureeing the soup, who knows what
vegetables are there? Spinach can go on top of
pizza. Apples and bananas can go into muffins,
undetected.

There are several ways to help your kids eat
healthier, but to make them enjoy it also has to
be fun as well. This isn’t always an easy task.
It can however, be done with a bit of creativity.
Hopefully, doing this will help your child develop
a love of healthy foods for the rest of their lives.

To your health and that of your family’s,

Lee Jackson
Child Nutrition Advocate, author
http://www.HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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Choose Wisely When Food Shopping on a Budget

Grocery Shopping

Image by Bruce A Stockwell via Flickr

With a little planning and effort, choosing foods at the grocery store can be simplified while still saving money and keeping nutritional values up.

Food for the week (or more) depends on how wisely you choose at the grocery store. The first step is planning nutritious menus before you go to the store. Make sure you keep in mind store specials and any coupons you use. Decide on the amount of money to spend based on your budget or food plan.

Then the next step is shopping carefully to assure that what you will have at home is nutritious, tasty, and stays within your allowance – this is no small task.

  • Try to shop only once a week or less frequently. The more you go to the store the more you will likely spend on food and other products.
  • Don’t go to the store hungry. You will probably buy much more than you need. Try to leave young children in the care of others while you shop.
  • Compare the cost of small and large containers of the same product. In most cases the larger size will be more economical. However, it will be more expensive if you won’t use it or don’t have room for it.
  • Consider the cost of convenience foods, that is, foods that are already prepared versus those you have to prepare yourself. For example, can you season the rice at home rather than buying packaged herb rice?  On the other hand, some foods such as cake mixes may be cheaper when found on special than making a cake from scratch. However, look at the ingredients and see whether any food coloring or additives are included, which are less desirable.
  • You gain a great deal of information by reading labels. The ingredient list will give you information about a product’s sugar, sodium, and fat content. Ingredients on labels are listed in descending order according to weight. Therefore, if sugar is the first item on the list, you know it is high in sugar.
  • Choose whole-grain bread and cereal products over white bleached flour products.
  • If you are buying canned fruits, buy those in their own juice rather than those with sweetened juice.
  • Make sure fruit juices are 100 per cent juice. Fruit drink and punches have too much sugar added.
  • Many canned soups, sauce mixes and packaged entrees have high sodium. Do you really need them?
  • Nobody needs pop or soda or cola, or whatever the regional dialect calls it – too much sugar!
  • Encourage the drinking of water. Flavor it, if necessary, with lemon or other fruits.
  • Choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. They are usually less expensive in season and are higher in quality. If you can’t choose these fresh, then buy them canned or frozen. If possible, compare the cost of fresh, frozen, canned, and dried forms of the same food.
  • Many snack foods are high in calories, fat, sugar, and sodium.  See whether you can find lighter versions that contain less of these components. Or, just eliminate them from your shopping. If they are not in the house, they won’t be a temptation.
  • Try the “Meatless Monday” schedule for awhile. This promotes healthier eating by emphasizing fruits, vegetables and alternative sources of protein such as beans and lentils that are free from saturated fats. Reducing meat consumption has been shown to provide many benefits, including limiting cancer risk, reducing risk of heart disease, as well as helping to fight obesity and curb diabetes. Chances are, you will not miss having meat at your meals for one day. Besides, meats are usually the most costly foods in a meal and make a huge ecological imprint on our planet.

When you shop for food you have lots of important decisions to make. Wise shopping is not just a matter of spending as little as you can. It means getting the most value for your money while keeping the health benefits of foods at  center stage.

To your good health and that of your family,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food and Nutrition Specialist
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com

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Healthy After-School Snack Ideas

As your kids burst through the door after school are their first words “I’m hungry – what’s there to eat“? You may have anticipated this and been ready with a prepared snack. Or they may have to find or fix something themselves. A bag of chips is the quick and easy way. A shelf in the refrigerator or cupboard filled with healthy snacks is another option.  Which way does it work in your family?

Snacks represent a significant part of a child’s diet. These foods need to nourish them and not just fill them up.

Kids want to be independent. What better way to show them you know they are ready for more responsibility than allowing them to prepare food for themselves? Sometimes all they need are some food ideas and suggestions to spur them on in their creative endeavors.

Over a month’s worth of snack suggestions are found in my new ebook on How to Solve Your Child’s “After School Munchies” the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas. You and your children will find lots of healthy and nutritious choices so that better nutrition becomes fun. It can also get them started on a life-long path of making good food choices.

With so much unhealthy junk food available, the challenge is to get kids involved in healthy eating. Include your children in the entire process of choosing, preparing, and eating foods that are both healthy and delicious. Since all children love to eat, preparing food is a highly motivating activity. There is a great deal of pride when they prepare something for themselves. You sense this as they tell you,’See, I made it myself’.

Children are more likely to eat and enjoy food they have helped prepare. When kids have hands-on experiences, they have the joy of working with food as well as eating it. They love the sense of independence and accomplishment.

You and your children will appreciate the help this ebook provides. All the foods can be prepared quickly so that the snacks are ready after school or anytime your kids get hungry. This prevents the usual reaction of reaching for a quick fix of high calorie, high fat and/or carbohydrate foods.

You can order this ebook, How to Solve Your Child’s “After School Munchies” the Healthy Way – with Easy Recipes and Ideas here:  http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com/more-info/. Will your child’s snacks be highly processed foods loaded with additives, or quick, healthy, whole foods that are nourishing and appealing – and fun to make?

To you and your family’s health,

Lee Jackson, CFCS
Food writer and author
http://HealthyKidsEatingTips.com/more-info/

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