It can be challenging at meal time to get everyone on the same page for eating when trying to make more healthier food choices. One of the largest keys to proper nutrition is raw veggies, so it is important to start dinner with a salad, with dark leafy greens (spinach, kale (any variety), collards, arugula, chard, etc). With your children it is important for them to start understanding this now, so they develop the healthy habits and don't struggle later on in life. Tip 1: Depending on how old your children are, I would involve them in the meal time making process.
Tip 2: Encourage your children to eat one new vegetable a week. So, while parents you are having your salads, give your children some cucumber slices or carrot sticks- whatever you think would be the easiest for them. Then, the next week, give them that vegetable, and add one. Follow this until they are having a salad along with you.
Tip 3: Eliminate grains from your kitchen cabinets and fridge. This includes breads, pastas, cookies, etc. If it is in the house,even if it's "just for the kids" 2 things will happen: 1) Parents will also end up eating it, and 2) it will be more challenging for you, as a parent, to change your children's behavior patterns.
Often times, if kids know it's in the cupboard, they will just fight you until they get it... and of course we always give in to those cute faces don't we?
Tip 4: Some reasonable snacking alternatives are root chips (yams, squashes, etc) or Terra chips which can be found at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Fruitful Yield, or Woodman's, as well as they are beginning to be carried at many regular grocery stores too.
Tip 5: When you are looking for a "bread fix" you can also make a coconut "bread" which can be a very good flavorful and healthier substitute when your looking to settle that craving.
Here is the quick recipe: 6 eggs, 1/2 c melted unrefined coconut oil, 1/2 t salt, 3/4 c coconut flour and bake at 350 for 40 minutes. You can play with this recipe too. I've also added bananas and cinnamon to make a very, very yummy banana bread.
Tip 6: Make sure your meats are pastured raised and seafood is wild caught. If you eat conventional meats and seafood you will be consuming the grains they consumed as well as all chemicals and pharmaceuticals used in raising the animals. All the meat at Trader Joe's that are their brand is pastured. You can also purchase pasture meat in Whole Foods as well as most farmer's markets. If you would really like to save money and get excellent quality meats I strongly recommend joining a local food co-op. Do a Google search for ones in your area.
Tip 7: Kids also like fats, so nuts are a very good snack mixed with some dried fruit.
Tip 8: Any cheese should be raw (unpasteurized) so the enzymes are live and will not leech your calcium from your bones. You can purchase at any of the above mentioned stores as well as your local farmer's market or food co-op which has the best quality.
Tip 9: Pick one day a week to have a not so great meal, but give your kids the option of what they want. So if they really LOVEmacaroni and cheese and pizza, then tell them they can choose for that week between the two. They have to agree, and they are still expected to eat their veggies before that favorite meal. Remember again it's only one day a week and make it a special day for the whole family to enjoy.
Tip 10: For a real quick midnight snack I recommend a Larabar or Boomi Bar. They are without all the garbage and contain all the good stuff to taste good and just make us feel good about what we are putting in our bodies. These are also great snacks for during the day on the go.
Final Thoughts: They will not love all your changes right away. Just remember you are doing it for their health, as much as it's for the health of us parents.
I'd love to hear some of your own tips on how you keep your family healthy around the dinner table. Leave a comment below and share.