Kids ordering escargot and duck at a restaurant?
Yep! My two boys do, while I quickly sit up a little straighter with a huge grin on my face enjoying my proud mommy moment.
As a chef mom, one of the most important things I can do for my boys is provide them with opportunities to try new things so they may understand and appreciate good food.
Having said that, it is also just as important to teach them how to make healthy choices. You know the old phrase, “You are what you eat.” While a squirrel might take offense to this saying, it is absolutely true. I am consistently reminding my kids of this as they open four pieces of chocolate in addition to the cookies they already have on their plate. My boys will eat sugar every chance they get if given the opportunity, but I knew I was doing something right when they chose broccoli over pizza at a birthday party. Now don’t get me wrong; they love pizza. But I have noticed that by not ordering meals from a kids’ menu and instead exposing them to healthier foods has helped them develop a more discerning palate and make better food choices on their own.
Most kids can be finicky eaters and there is nothing worse than a child’s tantrum when they don’t like what you have served them. Teaching kids how to be healthy can be a daunting task when their environment is congested with unhealthy food ads or kid menus that offer only fatty foods. By making small changes in your daily routine you can easily turn a junk foodie into a cleaner eater. Here are a few tips to encourage your child to make better choices and live a healthier lifestyle.
Start Your Day Right!
Designate Friday as Smoothie Friday for breakfast. Use Greek yogurt, fresh spinach, avocado, berries, banana, etc. Some other good breakfast choices would be eggs, high protein cereal or nut butters on whole grain toast.
Quick tip: Some food that can be made ahead of time and are perfect for an on-the-go-breakfast include boiled eggs or breakfast burritos that you can freeze and pull out as needed.
Choose water over sugary drinks for meal times or when they are thirsty.
Choose whole fruit rather than juice because fruit juices typically contain added sugar.
Choose vegetables rather than French fries when going out to dinner.
Choose multi grain or whole wheat versus plain white pasta, bread or rice.
Treats are Sweet!… in Moderation.
Try making some healthier desserts like popsicles, chocolate-covered strawberries, frozen fruit or chew off a piece of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate with higher percentages of cocoa means less percentages of sugar.
Sous Chef for a Day!
Have fun in the kitchen with your kids! You will appreciate the help and they will love volunteering to be the special taste testers. They might even try something new and actually like it just because they helped cook the food.
There will be some foods that your kids will turn up their nose to. Encourage them to give those foods a shot at least 7-10 times before ruling it out.
Avoid taking a whole bag of snacks or a tub of ice cream to the couch for movie nights. Put some in a bowl so that you don’t overeat.
Ask your kids to help you pick out fruit and vegetables at the grocery store. Teach them how to determine if the produce is fresh and think of yummy recipes with those items while you are in the grocery store. You never know; your child may come up with something great to make. What about Avocado Pops? Or Banana Sushi?
Choose healthy snacks such as cut-up vegetables, high protein yogurt, nuts, fruit, hummus, popcorn or edamame.
Listen to Your Tummy!
It is hard to determine whether your kids are actually full or just wanting to skip to dessert. Ask them if they will feel sick if they eat those extra bites. If so, they should probably stop eating and skip dessert. I ask my kids to rank how full they are on a scale from 1-10 to help me gauge how much they should continue eating.
Being healthy isn’t a trend; it’s a way of life that includes regular exercise, proper amounts of sleep and making the right food choices. We all want a better life for our kids than we had growing up, and in order to make that happen it starts with us. Let’s make a difference and invest in the next generation by setting the precedent, resulting in self-respect and a healthier tomorrow.
- 2 Bananas (yellow with a touch of green)
- 2 Tbsps. almond butter, Nutella, or honey
- Optional Toppings: Chopped nuts, chia seeds, chocolate chips, shredded coconut
Peel banana and spread 1 Tbsp. of nut butter. Sprinkle on toppings and press them lightly into the nut butter.
Using a sharp knife, evenly slice the banana into “sushi” pieces.
Enjoy right away or transfer to a baking sheet and freeze for later.
School Morning Breakfast Burrito
- Cooking spray
- 8 turkey sausage patties
- 4 Tbsp. red onion, diced
- 2 Roma tomatoes, sliced and seasoned
- 10 oz. fresh spinach
- 1 avocado sliced
- 8 oz. egg whites
- 1 cup aged cheddar shredded
- 4 whole wheat flour tortillas
In a skillet, cook sausage patties until heated through, set aside.
Spray skillet with cooking spray into the pan and add spinach and red onion. Heat through until spinach begins
to wilt and onions are translucent, about two minutes.
Beat the eggs and scramble with vegetable mix. Remove from heat. Salt and pepper to taste.
Heat the tortillas in a dry skillet over medium-high heat until soft, one minute on each side.
Make the burritos by placing the following ingredients into the warm tortillas: two sausage patties, 1/4 of eggs, 1/4 of cheddar cheese, 1/4 of tomato slices and 1/4 of the avocado. Tuck in sides, wrap and roll. Cut in half on the diagonal.