How in the world do we get our kids to eat healthy?
Where is the line between enjoying a treat and consuming too much sugar?
As a mom to 4 kids, I know the guilt of letting them eat the wrong things. It’s hard to find the balance of letting them have fun with their friends and enjoying snacks but still making sure they have nutrient rich foods to eat.
How do you compete with constant commercials for cheezy pizza and fast food?
I have come to learn that slow steady changes are the best way to go. For example, I would never take a child who has been consuming constant junk food and suddenly expect them to eat perfectly. That’s quite a shock for their bodies and emotions.
Think about making small changes. Most children like a structure and routine, it gives them a feeling of safety if they know what to expect next. When making changes start slow, for example, you could switch out regular pasta for gluten free pasta and maybe add a few veggies shredded into the pasta sauce.
Kids love to dip foods so replacing a sugary snack with apple slices and peanut butter or sunflower butter is an idea most kids will eat.
Another easy switch is oatmeal, eggs or breakfast sausage instead of sugary cereal. We have a pancake recipe we love that is grain and dairy free.
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Bananas
- 1/2 cup of Gluten Free Flour
Mix together and fry in a skillet like a regular pancake with butter or coconut oil. You can also add a scoop of peanut butter or some fresh fruit to these pancakes!
Get your kids involved in the shopping and cooking process. Kids are eager to learn. My kids enjoy picking out a new fruit or vegetable at the store to try. They love adding the food to the pot or small chopping if they are old enough.
Getting the kids involved in eating healthy takes away some of the fear of the new items you may be trying. Be patient, most kids need to try things up to 7 times before they acquire a taste for it.
We have been drinking smoothies as a family for breakfast the last few weeks and it’s going great. Not because my kids love to drink liquid vegetables, but we started out with things they would like. We blended banana, frozen mango, cashew milk and blueberries! After they got used to drinking that I added little greens. Now smoothies are a normal part of our life that the kids look forward too, instead of a gross drink I forced them on them.
Kids are more willing to try things that they decide, not you, so let them find new things at the store that are healthy and help them with the cooking.
Sugar activates the reward system in the brain, similar to the way drugs do, releasing dopamine. Sugar is addictive and can be a bully when you’re trying to cut back. When reducing the sugar your kids are eating, try adding in some more fruit as a natural sugar. Cereals, yogurts, granola bars and fruit snacks are all loaded with sugar. Replacing those processed foods with real whole food is the cleanest way to eat.
I have a FREE e-book on breaking the sugar addiction filled with food substitutes and meal ideas at Crack Your Sugar Cravings.
In our home, I don’t make a fuss over the kids eating cake and ice cream at a friend’s birthday party for example (unless there is an allergy involved). We do try our best to serve healthy meals and get the kids involved in planning, shopping and cooking healthy foods.
Kids can eat healthy and enjoy it!