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How to Create a Healthier Diet at Home With Your Kids

Author Bio: Cristin Howard runs Smart Parent Advice, a site that provides parenting advice for moms and dads. Cristin writes about all of the different ups and downs of parenting, provides solutions to common challenges, and reviews products that parents need to purchase for babies and toddlers.

Whether eating healthy comes naturally to you or you struggle with it on a daily basis, this post is for you. Let’s face it - eating healthy under stress is no walk in the park, and who isn’t stressed right now?

Parents have plenty of reasons to stress, but your diet doesn’t have to be one of them. For stress eaters, you’ve likely gained weight since becoming a parent, but for parents everywhere, a healthy diet for your kids is likely at the top of the list.

Here are some ways you can work toward creating a healthier diet for everyone while you’re at home.

Make a Schedule

Running all over town from extra curricular activities to church, you’ll find yourself in a bind for what to make for dinner. But if you stick to a schedule, it will be so much easier. I’m not saying your kids can’t do any extracurriculars, but I am saying if you plan ahead, it will afford you the ability to stay healthy, amid the chaos.

If you have a regular meal routine at the table, it’s easier to stay on top of your hunger, and the kids snack cravings. You can be prepared with healthier choices ahead of time, rather than scrambling at the last minute when someone asks for ice cream.

Part of your routine should almost always be eating as a family. That doesn’t mean there won’t be nights when you don’t, but prioritizing family meals rather than sitting in front of the TV means that you’re focused on what you eat.

Statistics say that kids who participate in family meals are more likely to pick fruits and vegetables rather than snacking on unhealthy choices and are less likely to smoke or drink alcohol.

Family meal time is also a comforting environment in which you have the opportunity to introduce new foods. Your kids are more likely to try them if they feel included and can follow your lead without judgement.

It’s also critical that when you’re planning your family meals or making your schedule, you don’t make accommodations for the kids. They should be eating what you’re eating. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t make the food more palatable for them, but it does mean you don’t need to make two meals every night. They’ll learn to eat what you eat if you don’t give them any other options.

Stock Up on the Healthy Things

A hungry tummy has a harder time making
healthy choices
, so make sure the healthy options are within reach. They’ll be the easiest options to choose when the time comes to grab something off the shelf.

Kids will eat what’s available, so if you don’t offer junk food, they won’t eat it. If it’s on hand, it’s a whole lot easier to work it into your meals, too. Work these fruits and veggies into your daily routine, whether it’s during meals or at snack time with a fun dip.

Speaking of dip, enticing your kids with fun new dip flavors could entice them to eat more fruits and veggies. They may not like regular carrots (or even baby carrots) but carrot chips with ranch is a winner. Celery with peanut butter or apples with caramel could get them over the hump, too.

Sometimes it’s okay to allow a little bit of extra sugar to acclimate their palate to the things that will be healthy in the long run. Eventually they won’t need the extra sugar, but for now, allowing a little bit of it may work.

Involve the Kids in Meal Planning and Cooking

Just like eating dinner should be a family affair, so should meal planning and prepping. Stay at home parents can use meal planning and prepping as a homeschool lesson, but even working parents should have their kids help them make the grocery list.

Kids can have age appropriate meal planning tasks. Younger children can stir and mash, older kids can chop and dice, and everyone can have a say in what goes on the weekly shopping list.

Your kids will love to help decide what’s for dinner. It’s a great opportunity for you to talk to them about making healthy choices and balanced meals. Shopping is a fantastic opportunity to learn about food labels and nutrition, but it’s a chance for you to talk to them about budgeting or money, too.

If your kids go to school, packing their school lunches is also an excellent time to teach them how to make good choices. Teach them how to include fruits and vegetables with every meal, no matter what that looks like.

Stay Hydrated and Busy

Water is the best drink option for everyone, including kids. Teaching your child to drink lots of water will help them stay healthy. Your activity level will determine how much water you need each day, but a good rule of thumb is that you need to drink half of your body weight in ounces.

Filling your child’s stomach with water will curb cravings. Milk is another healthy choice, as long as you don’t go overboard. And you can always puree fruit in the blender to make healthy choices more appetizing.

Boredom leads to mindless snacking, so ensuring that your kids are physically active and occupied will help curb snack cravings as well. I know it’s exhausting to stay busy all the time, so I’m not saying you need to sign up for all of the after-school activities. But ensuring that you have some fun activities on hand at home will prevent extra snacking.

Final Thoughts

Other things that can make it difficult to eat healthy are fighting over food and forcing your kids to eat what they don’t want to eat. Instead, pick your battles and encourage healthy eating where you can. Don’t use food to show love, don’t force your kids to clean their plates, and don’t bribe your children with food as a reward.

Instead, just lead by example and offer up healthy choices. Soon, your children will be following in your footsteps. You’re allowed to provide treats sometimes, so you don’t have to be a drill sergeant.

Just adjust your attitude and have fun. Your kids will have fun, too, and that will make it so much easier to build a healthy diet at home.

Wednesday : April 28, 2021 by merle Login or Register to Comment
 
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