Even before concerns of the diet and exercise of our children were making national news, we wanted to know that our kids were getting the proper vitamins and minerals. Considering the busy schedules we’re all on, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and just opt for drive-thru dinners and prepackaged snacks. But when we make these compromises, we’re also compromising on nutrition that is so important for active, growing children. Ultimately parents set the example. If we exercise, the kids will be more likely to be active. Whatever we eat and stock the pantry with, that is the type of food that they will become used to.
The first step in setting an example for good nutrition is to change your mind set. Start thinking in terms of home-made. That doesn’t mean making every single thing your family consumes. It just means making a few adjustments to how you think and do things. When you’re rushing from work to pick up the kids from hockey, soccer or football practice or any of the other activities they participate in, you’re not thinking of roasting a chicken with vegetables and baking a loaf of bread. You might just want to pull a frozen pizza out of the freezer and be done with it. But with some pre-planning, the meal you pull out of the freezer can be a delicious homemade dinner and a source for vitamins and minerals. Cook a really good, sit-down-with-the-family-meal, once a week. Doubling the recipe will give you enough to freeze either in individual servings or in one big container to be defrosted and heated up for an easy week-night meal. Doing this at least once a week, you’ll quickly stockpile some frozen meals that are more nutritious but just as convenient as the items found in the grocery’s frozen food section.
And you don’t have to cut the family off cold turkey from their favorite treats. Just keep thinking in terms of homemade. You control the ingredients, so right off the bat even a cookie can be a source of vitamins and minerals. Try some healthful substitutions that your kids won’t even notice. Things like chocolate covered raisins in place of chocolate chips or replacing the oil in a recipe with applesauce. Just like with bulk cooking meals, you can make extra dough and/or cookies and freeze them for later.
Remember to exercise your new mindset when you shop, including more fruit and vegetables for snacking. Choose pretzels or mixed nuts over a package of potato chips. If chips are a favorite that your family simply can’t give up, there are ways to home-make tortilla and potato chips that will be better for your family nutritionally. Having foods like this available will train your kids to reach for an apple just as often as they reach for a cookie. You’ll see that small adjustments like these will go a long way in guiding your children to make good dietary food choices on their own.
I would love to hear more ideas that we can share on improving what we feed our children while still making it convenient to accomplish.
Comment and let me know.