If feeding your kids healthy foods feels like a battle zone...check out these tips I put together to help during snack and mealtimes.
Whoever said trading in the junk food for nutritious snacks can’t be fun, certainly lacked creativity and old fashioned values! I'm not going to lie, it can be challenging, but it also can be done! Trading-in processed snacks for healthy choices can be both sensible and fun! Moms on the go can prepare single-serving snacks for the littler ones while the bigger kids can have fun whipping up their own culinary creations. Childhood is the best time to start teaching kids about creating healthy eating habits and here are ten things to get you started:
Save time by buying pre-cut veggies. It might be a bit more expensive, but so are the processed foods in the Disney packaged snack bags. Serve the veggies with some hummus or make your own ranch dressing with an all natural Safflower mayonnaise such as Hain Pure Foods which is high in Antioxidant Vitamin E.
Reach for a glass of milk vs. a sugary juice box. A cup of low-fat organic milk or milk alternative (soy milk or almond milk) is a smart alternative to a high calorie cup of juice.
Hug a tree and whip up your own trail mix. Combine dried fruit, unsalted nuts and popcorn in a snack bag for a healthy treat on the go.
Go for great whole grains vs. white flour. Provide your kids with whole wheat breads, whole-oat cereals that are high in fiber and low in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium. Limit snack bars, cakes and sweetened cereals.
Keep lean protein on hand at all times. Keep your pantry stocked with unsalted nuts and your fridge full of protein. Grill up some chicken breasts, slice them into chicken strips and dish ‘em up into all kinds of snacks.
Keep an eye on portion size. Snacks shouldn’t replace a meal, so swap out large bowls for smaller ones and same goes for the Ziplock bags. Next time you are at the grocery store, grab a box of snack size bags instead of the typical sandwich sized ones.
Fruits are quick and easy. Fresh fruit is the way to go, but if you are worried about it spoiling quickly, portion it out into snack size bags and freeze them. Dried fruit is always a quick and easy snack and has a longer shelf life. Avoid canned fruit and you will avoid unnecessary added sugar and preservatives.
Consider convenience. A single-serving container of low-fat greek yogurt or individually wrapped string cheese is a great after-school snack and packs in the dairy.
Swap out the heavy hitting sugary snacks. Here’s a psychological trick. I keep a jar of candies in my pantry that the kids are welcomed to have in moderation. The trick is, that the candies are hard candies such as peppermints, caramels and sugar free candies. So, in fact I do offer my kids candy, however they just don’t obsess over it like they would if it was Jolly Ranchers or the like.
Compare sodium in “health food” items. Just because the packaging claims it’s healthy, be sure to check out the amount of sodium. High levels of sodium can lead to high blood pressure and other health conditions.
As a general guideline, everything in moderation and lead by example! I offer these tips, but I certainly don’t expect nor want mealtime to turn into a battle zone! We all want our kids to grow up with strong bodies and sharp minds and creating a healthy diet sets the foundation!
If you have any ideas or suggestions, please put them in the comment section to share with me and fellow moms! I’m always interested in what others are doing and putting into action…