Talking to two colleagues about how to get (young) kids to eat and drink healthy, they reminded me it can be quite challenging to get our kids to eat what you have prepared, especially after a long day's work. Not to mention the plates of food sent back to the kitchen by our little munchkins...
It was there at the coffee machine where I promised to share my food tips for busy moms.
Eat when hungry and make healthy decisions
Being a mom of a 11 year old (Fit) Girl I find it my responsibility to firstly make sure my daughter has a good relationship with food. Secondly, I respect her taste differs to mine and we are now at that stage that we compromise. Her sweet tooth is sweeter than mine and knowing I can't deny it to her I have involved her by teaching how to compare added sugars mentioned on the Nutrition Facts labels. No worries, I don't push - I inform. The rest is up to her.
Every child has it's own taste which means we as a parent can merely help by guiding them through their food journey. When my daughter was younger, toddler age, she used to love certain stuff, but that soon faded and her taste changed. (Or it was because she learnt how to use more words..)
Let your child choose for itself. Don't make it more difficult and make sure your groceries are already in the house and ask your child to choose what they want to eat. Give them 2 options. Yes, this will take some of your time, but please invest and make time.
As soon as you have found time to sit down, start writing your list. Picture yourself what you will serve for breakfast, lunch and dinner and keep it simple and healthy. We talk snacks later.
Try to serve your child something different every day. For example a fruit and/or veg smoothie for breakfast on day 1. Add some oatmeal, nuts or muesli for some more oumph. On day 2 oatmeal porridge with cinnamon and optional fruit bits or cacao nibs for topping. And on day 3 eggs to their liking - scrambled or poached are usually favourites and fun when dipping strips of toast in a medium cooked egg! Use the best quality eggs by the way.
I personally prefer serving and eating breakfast without any added sugar or the least added. If you would like to know why, I suggest you to read a little more about what added sugar does to our kids brains, blood level and immune system - and not only theirs!
School lunch boxes can be filled with good quality bread, a pack of rice or corn crackers topped with peanut butter, cheese, roast beef, slices of chicken or turkey. Cut up some cucumber, red pepper (paprika) or carrots to go with their lunch or as a snack in the morning. Try not to give the so called healthy energy bars, muesli bars or biscuits - again, I suggest you to check the added sugars before buying one. Don't mind the brand as the A listed brands usually scream the loudest stating we are eating only healthy stuff. Just use your common sense and go for the least added sugars if you still want to get them. It's OK.
During the week in work I don't eat as much bread as I take my last night's dinner for lunch. I have now learned that bread is not my kind of lunch. Warm meals or a salad with chicken, beef or turkey with or without nuts keep me going till the end of the working day and the least cravings for snacks.
Cut, slice or dice some fruit and veg to serve as a snack. Any kind! Let your child choose which ones they would like to try. Make it fun. Nuts, raisins or mulberries are also a healthy option and soooo cute when eaten by little fingers.
And then we bake. Yes, we bake our own brownies, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread, carrot cakes or muffins. The advantage of baking yourself is you can choose your own kind of flour, baking powder and added sugars. Plus here is where we involve our child and have some quality time, so pick a day and time where you have all the time in the world. If this is not feasible, search for a recipe which will take you max. 15 min. preparations time. And yes, it will get messy. But seriously, who cares?! It's too late now any way... you have a child and we teach them how we clean up our own mess. Trust me - you'll thank me later. Or at least think of me.
Freeze your baking in and take out what you need when it's snack time - in school or work. Or serve it for guests or colleagues.
Like breakfast and lunch, try to serve something else every day. You can manage this by freezing in your prepared food and taking it out the freezer to combine with rice, pasta, (sweet) potato, salad or vegetables on the day. Sauces and dressings aren't always necessary, especially not to drown your nutrients in. Try to make your own tzatziki or vinegar dressing if you can't live without. Search the web for the healthy options.
I don't eat a lot of meat but when we do it's usually sautéed, stewed, steamed or grilled. Usually beef, lamb or chicken. No pork. Same goes for fish - sautéed, stewed, steamed or grilled, but also oven baked. If you put (sweet) potato and vegetables with it, you'll have a easy and tasty oven roasted dinner.
Buy, borrow or hire cookbooks for inspiration or search the internet for (easy and quick) recipes, like the recipes on #FITGIRLCODE or check my food pics on Instagram.