Unless your children are 16 or older and can drive, it’s not that difficult to crank up the health in your household. If we eat good, we feel good. And, after all, who is buying the food? It is not only rare that children buy their own food, it’s actually almost unheard of. I can honestly say I have never met a parent that has their 10 year old picking up the grocery bill.
So what are we doing? We, the parents. WE are bringing in the highly processed, high fructose corn syrup filled, partially hydrogenated oil laden, packaged food to the home. WE are buying the Gatorade, Quaker Granola Bars, Ritz Crackers, Peaches and Cream Oatmeal, and more Gold Fish than any one human should be consuming. I know, as parents, we hate to think we are the number one source of either promoting disease in our children OR promoting health in our children. It sucks. It’s pressure. It’s A LOT OF FREAKIN’ pressure. Trying to figure out how to read a label, deciphering all the crazy food claims, what is healthy, what’s “pretend” healthy, what is actually going to help prevent my kid from being a statistic of diabetes and heart disease. It pretty much sucks.
This statement has more truth than we may want to admit. Put down the Little Debbie and say hello to the cucumber.
I am a health coach and try my best to teach my children the importance of eating real food, whole food, food with one ingredient. BUT IT IS HARD! I’m not gonna lie. We have the ice cream truck with the best soft serve I have ever had in my life in our town. It sits between our house and the school and it stares us in the face each and every day. So what does one do? As parents, how can we figure this out? Here are my five steps to a healthy (ier) kid.
1. DON’T stock a lot of processed food in the house. If it’s not there, there is nothing to argue about. AKA:Oreo’s, Nutrigrain bars, pretzels, Dorito’s (unless you need them as fire starters), fruit snacks,( “fruit”, that’s pretty funny. Pretty sure fruit doesn’t look identical to a gummy bear. Is there a gummy bear tree or plant?), Quaker Granola Bars, Potato Chips, etc.
2. Stock your fridge with lots of fruits and have them cut and ready to eat. Apples, pears, watermelon, berries, etc. Make sure you cut the larger fruits and have it “ready to eat.” There is no way your kid is going to come home and start cutting a watermelon. —well, at least mine wouldn’t.
3. Stock your fridge with lots of cut veggies. Wash and cut them immediately upon return from the grocery store or Farmer’s Market. If you have a bunch of sliced peppers in awesome colors and grab a dip (think hummus), or cut up celery (perhaps add a nut butter and raisins), or even easier some baby carrots (with a yummy ranch dip-I like Targets Brand Simply Balanced), or our absolute favorite and thinly slice apple with cinnamon and a drizzle of honey, your kid is way more likely to grab them. Kids are starving and lazy. (again, speaking of mine)
4. Feed them real food after school. Kids are truly starving after school. It is a time when they will eat nearly anything that is put in front of them. If you are a working Mom, this will require more effort and a little planning but you can have it done the night before for them to grab. What really works great is having your child make the plate with you. Empowerment. It works. *Most kids in the US are going in the snack cabinet after school and eating processed food loaded with sodium, sugars, artificial this and that, unhealthy oils. AND NO NUTRIENT VALUE. Heat up a bowl or organic soup, pop in a piece of Dave’s Killer Bread and top with peanut butter, banana and honey, heat up an Amy’s frozen burrito, throw in a bunch of the Alexia sweet potato fries, heat up some left overs from last nights meal.
5. Make smoothie bags and freeze them with your favorite fruits and add spinach and a nut butter. Try our game changer smoothie. Otherwise know as the PEANUT BUTTER BLAST! If your kid likes sweet, add in an extra date or two. When making your smoothie bags just take your favorite fruits, add some nut butter (think peanut, almond, cashew, coconut), you can add spinach because it doesn’t add flavor and put in a quart size zip lock bag. When you get hungry, take the bag out of the freezer and dump in the blender. Add in some unsweetened almond or cashew or organic whole milk and blend. Pinterest has some great recipes. Steer away from adding juice for your liquid. You will be happy and even better…..they will be happy!
Your children will feel better, have more focus, be happier because they are not on the sugar rollercoaster, and now, you can feel great because you are promoting health for now, for tomorrow, and for the rest of their lives.
The picture above was drawn by one of the many third grade students I teach. They LOVE learning about how to be healthy and truly want to be healthy. This students picture is of a rainbow of food. It’s how our plates should look. Eating nutritious and delicious foods is way more simple than make it out to be. Buy the good stuff, have it ready in your fridge, and watch the magic happen.
Never give up! XO, Your health coaches,