We all worry about the health of our kids. Just walking down the grocery store isles filled with processed foods in colorful packages, the newest gummies, roll ups, cereals, sodas, cookies, muffins, chips.. you know the drill, we have all been there and it is almost impossible to not break down and give in to some of their pleas. I find it helpful to simply stay out of those isles!! Try going to the produce section first and filling up with their favorite fruits, nuts and veggies. Anyway, here are some helpful tips from the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine to encourage better food choices along with ideas to stay more active.
Remember Flavor and Eye Appeal are the Foundation for Success.
- vary the shapes of veggies, cut-out shapes, curls and circles rather than sticks
- make wraps rather than sandwiches
- provide healthful “dips” like hummus or lowfat ranch for veggies, nut butters
- serve meals in eye catching dishware or lunch boxes
Involve Kids in Food Selection and Preparation.
- kids and teens are more likely to eat foods they help select and prepare
- Use shopping trips as a time to talk about new and nutritious foods
- allow kids to experiment and create novel ways to prepare foods
Eat Breakfast Every Day.
- Little time for breakfast? Put together the night before
- have kids help set out plates, wash and cut fruit and veggies
- keep breakfast simple, or prepare home-packed breakfast to go
Make the Most of School Lunches.
- explore opportunities for tasty, good nutrition
- look at and compare nutritional choices in regular and a la carte foods
- talk about sensible choices
Pack a Lunch from Home. This is usually the answer to inadequate school menus and meals.
- include a lean protein, veggies, fruit and healthy fat
- keep nutritious lunch “makings” on hand
- encourage kids to pack their own lunches, selecting a variety of foods
Prepare Snacks Ahead of Time and Keep them Handy.
- prepare and bag single servings of healthful snacks on the weekend to make good choices easy during the week. Have children help
- keep nuts, fresh and dried fruit, veggies with dip
- pumpkin and sunflower seeds, low-fat cheese, yogurt, nut butters
Offer New Foods Multiple Times: Kids Often Have to Try New Foods Several Times Before Deciding if they Like Them.
- vary preparation
- try only small servings at first
- include the new food with their favorite recipe
- have kids pick and choose which new food to try
Move It Everyday: Help Children Get 60 Minutes of Moderate to Vigorous Exercise Daily.
- create a routine, hike, walk together daily, or play outdoors.
- be a role model
- participate in community and school physical activities and sports
- involve kids in active household chores