So, have you started reading the labels on your kids foods more since my last post? If you missed reading the last post, you can find it here. Discover the three most important ingredients I look out for in my kids’ foods and why I don’t want my girls to eat them. This post will be outlining some of the ways I keep my children’s diets clean.
Feeding little bellies can be an interesting adventure! What was yesterday’s favorite is todays disgust. My oldest daughter is just shy of three, but has the appetite of the dinosaurs she pretends live in our backyard! Some days it seems like all she does it eat. It would be so easy to just throw her an oatmeal crème pie for her mid-morning snack (and maybe cheaper). Her energy level is already so high I’m sure she could burn that energy in no time! But I want to train her palate while it is fresh and new to enjoy other foods that will give her real energy, real nutrition, and building blocks for her life.
Here are a few tricks I use to try to keep my children’s (and my) diet clean.
1. Read Labels
It sounds so simple, but learning to read labels and understand them takes some time. It makes me snicker a bit when I hear what some people look for on labels to determine if they are healthy. Calories, Carbs and Fat are the ones most people look at, but for me those are secondary (or even tertiary.) The first place I look at on a label is the ingredients list. Remember that ingredients are listed in order of quantity within the product. If Something like sugar, high fructose corn syrup, natural flavorings or dyes are in those first 3 ingredients then you probably shouldn’t feed it to your kids. This also helps you to know how many vegetables (and what kind of vegetables) are in a product. Pay special attention to the vegetable and fruit pouches for added sugars and flavors. Also, popcorn, and crackers.
The second thing I look at is grams of sugar. If the sugar grams are in the double digits per serving, I first look to see where they come from. If there is no added sugar and it is a fruit containing product then you can almost be certain that those are natural occurring sugars. If it is added sugars then generally that product gets placed back on the shelf.
2. If you Don’t Buy it they Can’t Eat It!
When it comes to feeding your kids, they will eat what is in the house. If you don’t want them to eat junk, then don’t bring it in the home. We have a rule with sodas, we don’t buy them. Occasionally when we are out we will get a soda to drink. It makes it special, a treat.
3. Teach Them to eat New Foods
Growing up we had to eat as many bites as we were old of vegetables and new foods. By using this rule, it sets a realistic guide for you to use when introducing new foods. If you have a 3 year old and want to introduce eggplant into her diet, have her eat 3 bites every time you serve a dish with it on the table. She may not like it the first few times she eats it (and she may never like it) but you are broadening her palate and allowing her to explore new foods without the expectation of eating a whole serving.
Try introducing a new food twice a month and use it in several different ways. You may find you like something served sautéed rather then raw, or that mixing it in with a dish enhances the flavor of a meal you already love.
4. Start Small
If your family’s diet is full of artificials, dyes, sugar, and processed then going on a full house cleanse will probably back fire on more then one level, especially with the kids. Take baby steps. If the kids are use to sugary cereal and juice for breakfast then switch to a healthier breakfast. I personal love Nature Path Organic cereal, Heritage Flakes. You can buy it at Wal-Mart. I put berries on top with almond milk, but my daughter eats it dry with fruit. We drink water or almond milk instead of juice.
Allow it to take time. Have your kids help you pick out new healthy snacks that they love.
5. Make Homemade from Scratch
Learning how to make some of your most loved food at home from scratch can feel rewarding, but it will also help you control ingredients and make better products. I am a sweet eater! So I love making sugar free Almond Joys and Peppermint patties. We also make our own bread, peanut butter, jellies, granola bars and other foods and snacks usually laced with sugar and GMOs. I can make these products using quality ingredients that I trust.
If you are not a homemade inclined person, try to find a local market where you can purchase foods made by others with quality ingredients such as a farmer’s market or co-op.
6. Allow for “Cheats”
I never want to be “that Mom.” You know the one whose kid can never eat the cake and pizza at the birthday party. I want to instil in my children that making good healthy choices is a daily habit, but that occasional treats are ok. This goes back to the “If you don’t buy it they can’t eat it” rule.
7. Make it a Lifestyle not a Diet
When you are on a diet it seems as if your mind automatically starts craving all the things you can’t have. Diets are about eliminating certain foods to seek an immediate result. Lifestyle is choosing to reject inferior foods in order to give your body the best. It is not about what you can’t have, but what you choose not to have.
Keeping your kids diets on a healthy track takes dedication, research, education and lots of work! But it is worth all of the energy to ensure your children are eating foods that will build, repair and strengthen them for a better life.
If you haven’t entered the drawing that we are doing for some fun Essential Oils and Weight loss products check it out here. Read Samantha’s most recent TerraFit update while you are there.