How in the WORLD do you get your family to start eating healthy? If you and your fam have been living off of fast food, microwavable meals, and questionable leftovers from last week, I understand. Families are super busy these days with working, ball practice, and feverishly checking social medias. However, there is a way to get your family to eat healthy. Three words: KEEP. IT. SIMPLE!! We are all too busy for elaborate, fancy meals three times per day. Who has time for that? Not me! However, just because we don’t have time for extravagant meals doesn’t mean that we do not have time for pretty meals that kids will grow to love and appreciate.
Keeping it simple means that you use the fewest ingredients possible. You should also look into meals that have short prep times, as well as short cook times. Short! REALLY short! I’m talking Kevin Hart short. Once you have several meals up your sleeve, you can create them very quickly, and everyone will be happy.
Raw fruits and veggies will be your besties! You can add raw fruits and veggies to your child’s favorite protein source. For example, give the kids a healthy version of frozen chicken nuggets with organic ketchup (sans HFCS) surrounded by fresh fruits and veggies. My kids PREFER fresh veggies over cooked veggies. What kid doesn't love fruit? Another simple meal idea is boiled eggs, strawberries, and whole wheat toast. Don’t forget the good ol' sandwich. Create a whole wheat sandwich. Instead of chips, throw in some carrots. Viola, now you have happy kids eating a meal full of micro and macro nutrients!
If your kids are as picky as mine were when I started, you will need this piece of advice. If your child loves pizza, buy a healthier version. Amy’s brand has an organic cheese pizza that makes my kids super stoked for dinner. Throw fresh broccoli on the side, but call them little trees. (For some reason that helps.) You can feel better that your kids are eating a pizza with less chemical BS, and you have a bright green micro nutrient-filled veggie that makes you look like the superstar mom that you are. Toss in some sliced oranges to make the table more colorful, and you are a winner-winner-pizza-for-dinner kind of mom!
One thing that helped my kids get into eating all the fruits and vegetables was to bring them with me to the grocery store. Gasp!! I know. I know. Going to the grocery store with kids is equivalent to the pain of having a massive ingrown toenail removed. No one wants to do it, but it will be helpful. Let your children pick out the fruits and veggies they want to try for dinner. Make it a little competition to see how many beautiful colors they can put in the cart. Please understand that not all of that food will be eaten by the kids to start with. You do, however, need to start somewhere. Giving kids the responsibility and the voice of saying what they like is a great way to get started. If they think that veggie was their idea, they are more likely to appreciate it.
“The more you put a certain food in front of a child, the more likely it will become a food he or she eats.”
A key for this new simple way of eating to work is to be consistent with it. When your kids realize that this is how the family eats now, they WILL adjust. They WILL realize that they feel better and have more energy. They WILL realize that these healthy, raw fruits and veggies are making their bodies stronger and that they work better than they ever have. Don’t forget to remind them of this. Let them know that they are eating like athletes so that their bodies will be athletic. Please do not say, “We are eating better to get skinny or lose weight." Kids do not need that burden. We eat to be strong!!
It is 100% okay to have treats every now and then. Make sure that your littles know that treats are fine, because we want to raise children who have healthy views of food. They will learn that treats are treats but not everyday foods. Super healthy individuals do not have dessert after every meal or even every day. My kids now believe that a delicious, sweet pineapple is a spectacular dessert. They call it “God’s candy”. Cut a watermelon at the end of the day, and they will LOVE it. I pinky promise!!
"Go out for a treat. Do not keep treats at your house. This will make it a special event. This will also prevent someone for reaching for this treat on a daily basis.”
You can do this, Momma. Please remember that this is not going to be an overnight change. This will not be easy all the time. Your kids will whine, beg, sigh, and huff and refuse some food. You stand your ground, sweet lady, and know that you are doing what is best for your family. My momma was diligent about serving fresh, real food my entire childhood. I didn’t always like it. I saw other kids eating junky food at school. However, as an adult, I appreciate my momma more than I can express. I am a lover of healthy food!! It is the taste of my childhood. Your sweet little munchkins will feel the same way about you. Hang in there, and KEEP IT SIMPLE!