The biggest question I get after “What should I eat?” is always “What should I feed my kids?” It always amazes me to go to restaurants that offer a kids’ menu that is nothing other than fried food and starches. Why did we create an ideology that children need to eat a junk food diet and won’t try healthy “adult food”? The answer often lies in what we as parents feel comfortable feeding our children. Read on to find out simple ways to change your child’s habits and open up the palate and the mind.
1. Kids should eat just like adults. Kids don’t require fruit punch and so-called fruit snacks; they need fresh fruit and vegetables just like you. If you don’t eat goldfish crackers, don’t feed them to your kid. So many parents I know work out and are religious about their diets, but give their kids French toast with syrup for lunch. Kids’ nutrition needs are critical, so feed them healthy foods. You can’t grow a brain on Twinkies!
2. Give your child protein at each meal. Eggs, turkey sausage, protein shakes, Greek yogurt, grass-fed meats, and fish are great starting points. If your kid won’t go near those foods, sit down with your child at meals and eat those foods right in front of them. Once they take a bite or two off your fork, you’ll have your foot in the door and can progress from there. This will regulate their appetite, build muscles, balance neurotransmitters in the brain, and promote good sleep.
3. Don’t give your child foods packaged in neon colors or with Spongebob on them. Junkity junk junk. Food companies are all in bed with the government and somehow get the USDA to label sugary cereals as having whole grains in them. Of course, there are also water bottles out there labeled “calorie-free”, so it goes to show you that food labels are insane anyway. Use common sense; if something has 30 grams of sugar in a serving, it has way too much. If you want your child tantrum-free and sleeping well, as well as open to eating healthy, wean them off these foods. Have them go to the grocery store with you and pick out healthy choices.
4. Give your child healthy snacks so they aren’t craving sugar between meals.
Sample kid-friendly snacks:
-Apples or celery topped with natural peanut butter -Handful of nuts and dried cherries -Carrots and hummus -Turkey or buffalo jerky -Guacamole and raw vegetables -Hard-boiled eggs or deviled eggs -Sweet potato fries (baked) -Trail mix: shredded coconut, nuts, and small pieces of jerky -Protein smoothie (I usually make this recipe and share it with my son): 1 scoop whey or pea/rice protein,? 1 tsp peanut butter,? 1 cup almond milk,?½ cup water, ?1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), handful of spinach?, 1 tablespoon of organic cocoa powder?. Blend on high speed until smooth. (No, I’m not smoking crack with the spinach- just throw it in there and you won’t even taste it!) -Have fresh berries with freshly whipped heavy cream for dessert- YUM!