Hi friends! I am linking up with Erika & Ashley for Tuesday Talk. A monthly link up where we can talk about any and everything!
Today I am going to talk about kids and food! Two of my favorite things! It's how I decided the name for my blog, as every night we meet around the family table!
Getting kids to eat healthy. Wow...that sounds like a big topic! Let me say I am not a nutritionist or a certified food guru...just a mama trying to make the healthiest choices for her family. And more important.....teach them how to make good choices.
I do my best to keep my kids involved in the food process around the house. Everything from helping to plan our weekly meals, to helping shop and helping prep. I have found that when they are involved with it they have a better buy in.
Let's start with meal planning. I know this can be a love/hate relationship. I found a system that works for us a few years ago.I shared some tips in a post a while back.
I try to plan my meals out a month in advance. Now I know that sounds crazy, but I take a month calendar and ask for the family's input. What do they want? I fill in and try to keep meals focused around what's in season. Now this doesn't mean the month is set in stone, obviously we may switch things around. I just do it by month, when I am feeling inspired and then I am not having to think about it every week! I share my weekly meal plans every Monday. Here is a link to this week,
I know sometimes it is easier to shop alone, but I found around ages 3-6 was a great time to teach them in the grocery store. let them pick anything they want to try in the produce section. Dragon fruit, jicama, mangoes and purple potatoes are a few of the things my kids have thought looked cool and wanted to try. You can make it a game and have them pick anything of a certain color and change it up each week. Ella loves carrying the list and checking things off, and Luke is the best cart loader!
This is hands down the key to getting kids to make better choices (at least in my book). You can buy all the healthy foods in the store, but if you come home and just put it in the drawers they won't eat it.... it's too much work! Take an hour a week to prep it and it will make a world of difference. When they are doing homework and want a snack, they can just grab it from the fridge.
Or mid morning on the weekend and they are hungry...
Have them help too. I give them little baggies to portion out some snack options.
And they are the best helpers for washing fruits and veggies....We pack our lunches everyday. Now I know you are probably looking for some crazy, creative lunch ideas... but the truth is we keep it pretty simple. #sorrytodisappoint
And it's not all apples and broccoli.... we make cookies too!
They pretty much always take a sandwich, a fresh fruit/veggie, a crunchy snack and yes... something sweet. I usually make their sandwiches and they take care of the rest. Their fruit and veggie options are prepped from earlier in the week, so they can take what they want.
You can see some of our snack options in the prep pictures, but the bottom line is if you buy junky snacks, then that's what you will eat. If you bring along some better stuff they will eat that because it's available. This is especially true as we head into summer. We are somewhere on the boat, pool or near the water all the time in the summer. And that just makes you want to snack. I try to bring along prepped healthier options... and there is nothing better than cold watermelon on a hot summer day! Well maybe Doritos.... and I do get those sometimes too. It's all about balance!
Dinner is pretty much a non-negotiable in our house. We have always sat down as a family to eat dinner. It's an important part of our day and we say no to scheduling activities during our family dinner time. That may not work for everyone, but it is something we have as a priority in our lives.
A few things with dinner...
A meal plan helps... a lot.
Have your kids help you in the kitchen with dinner.
Put out raw veggies while cooking...everyone always says they are hungry while you are cooking. And frankly if they are filling themselves up with veggies, I'm ok with it.
You are not a short order cook.
I have heard of a lot of parents that make 3 or 4 totally different meals every night... I just don't have time for that! I will make modifications, but we are all eating the same thing.
Like this meal, we made flat bread pizzas... I put brussel sprouts on mine, but the kids did not want them on the pizza, so they ate them on the side.
Another tip is to set up a bar... taco bar, salad bar and pizza bar are all favorites at our house. Kids love to build their own dinners!
I try to talk to the kids about the importance of feeding your body real, natural, good food. One idea that has helped make it "click" for them is showing the ingredient list. I have told them when looking at a package, if you have not heard of it or can't pronounce it, it is probably not good a good choice.
So the bottom line is make food a fun conversation and allow them to help. Yes there will be some messes to clean up....
......but that's what makes a life well lived!! And let's be honest, that little dog peeking her head through is quick to clean up the spills!
Do you have any tips for eating well with kids? Drop them in the comments below.
See you tomorrow for our Weekend Wrap Up....Easter Edition. There's always room for one more at our family table.