Monday, October 25, 2010

How to get kids to eat healthy

I have to admit that I was pretty much programmed to feed my kids processed junk until I figured out how crazy it made all of us (me included.) It has taken some time to get used to cooking differently, but I really think we see huge benefits.

One of my favorite new ideas is simple, but life changing. I have to give credit to Dr. Sears. It was a DVD of his that I saw at a nutrition training that got me going. Dr. Sears recommends making a nibble tray or grazing tray of healthy, bite sized fruits and vegetables for small children. I found a couple divided Rubbermaid containers (about 12 by 12 in.) and bought 2. I keep cut up raw veggies in one, cut up fruit in another. When the kids get home from school, we pull that out first. When we walk in the door on my work days and I need some time to get dinner going, we pull those out and nibble on good stuff. When we want a snack, we all eat from our fresh stash of produce. Having it already cut and ready to eat is the key. It comes in handy when we need one more thing to fill out a meal. I just pass the box around and tell everyone, take 2-3 things from each one. In a pinch I grab what's in there for lunches. When we had pizza for dinner, I still got out the boxes and I'm sure we all had a few extra servings of fruits and veggies. It's been that easy. So buy some extra produce, get it cut up and accessible and see what happens. Real healthy food really does taste good.

I used to be reluctant to buy some produce as it seemed pricey. I've since re-thought this. I used to think 1.99 was expensive for a bag of raw sweet peas in the pods, yet I spend 3.99 for a bag of chips. Hmmm. I now buy a combination of which organics look good, which produce is in season, and what sounds appealing or different. We also focus on getting lots of different colors. I'm trying to buy different things too.

The great news is, my kids love it. They have fought for the last red and yellow pepper strips, enjoyed crunching pea pods and celery, and generally seem to enjoy the taste of vegetables more and more. It's the same with fruit. My 10 year decided that mango is really good. It's because now I actually cut the whole thing up instead of letting it rot in the bottom drawer of my fridge. We have loved the organic apples and oranges I found. (By the way, I prioritize organic on these foods as sometimes companies inject coloring into the skin to make it look better.) Yes, the bright orange orange looks better, but I have to tell you we loved the last bag of organics that had some yellowing and dents in the skin. They tasted wonderful.

I encourage everyone to check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution if you haven't already. I also found a blog that talks about cooking real foods:

1 comment:

Mom4Change said...

Thanks for your post! I needed another reminder to cut up those fruits and veggies so that my kids can readily snack on them! I need to buy that tupperware that you talked about too! :)