Do you struggle with feeding your children the very best? Have picky eaters at home? Try some of these tips on for size!
1. Lead By Actions, Not Words
You can’t expect your child to eat like a dream if you’re constantly drinking coffee for breakfast, never stopping for lunch, and grabbing McDonald’s on the go for dinner. Pay attention to what kind of eating examples you are setting for your children by your own habits.
2. Go for Grazing
Do you have boys like mine, who refuse to sit still for a meal? Try grazing on for size. I mix up portable, potent, low mess snacks, and let the twins carry them along while playing. Some of our favorites include cheese sticks, trail mix (our homemade version is raisins, dried cranberries and smoked almonds), or baby carrots.
3. Be a Sneaky Chef
I have boys who eat like birds, so I try to maximize their nutritional intake when I can. One of my favorite ways to add protein and vitamins is with wheat germ. Do your kids love oatmeal? Mix in a little wheat germ for some extra protein. We use it in oatmeal, yogurt, and I’ve even been able to sneak into macaroni and cheese.
Have a child (or husband) who refuses to eat vegetables? There’s a reason that The Sneaky Chef
sold so many copies — it works! The sneaky premise is vegetable purees …. you can hide them in just about anything.
4. Visit the source
Do you have farms, or pick your own orchards? By taking your children to see food at its natural source, you’ll (hopefully) instill an appreciation of the magic of natural foods. Plan a trip to a local farmers’ market to see and sample local produce and other products.
5. Do it Yourselves
Have some space? Plant a garden, and watch your children beam with pride as they grow their own vegetables! One of my very best friends has chickens, right in her own urban backyard. Your children can learn the life cycle of plants and animals, as well as working on responsibility.
6. Breastfeeding is best
Have a baby or young toddler at home? Experts agree that breastfeeding is one of the most excellent sources of early nutrition, since breast milk changes to meet the needs of the individual baby. Breastfeeding can also prevent obesity, hypertension and diabetes later in life.
7.Avoid the Dirty Dozen
We all want to avoid the ingestion of pesticides on our produce, but children are especially susceptible to the effects of these chemicals. In choosing more fruits and vegetables, parents also have to be cautious of exposing children to carcinogens. The Environmental Working Group gives parents a hand in naming the 12 most contaminated fruits and vegetables each year. Whenever possible, when choosing items from the Dirty Dozen, buy organic. The USDA strictly prohibits the use of pesticides on any crop with a certified organic label. You can download a printable list of the Dirty Dozen here.
8. Choose the Clean Fifteen
Do your children love selections from the Dirty Dozen? I know that strawberries, grapes, and blueberries are high on our list. Buying organic can break the bank at times – you can play it safe by choosing produce from the Clean Fifteen. These fruits and vegetables are the least likely to test positive for pesticides. If your children love avocados, mangoes, sweet corn, or asparagus, you’re in luck! You can also stick the Clean Fifteen Guide in your purse for reference. There’s also an iPhone app.
9. Pack it Up
When we head out for the day for playgroups or a trip to the park, I pack lunches for everybody. This not only saves me money, but prevents me from being tempted to stop at a fast food restaurant for lunch.
10 Get Them Involved
I know it takes more time, and makes a bigger mess, but getting your children involved in meal preparation is vital. From grocery shopping, to making dinner, take the time to bring your little ones into your world. Explain why one choice is better than the other, and let them get some hands on experience.
Have more ideas for improving your children’s nutrition? Be sure and leave us a comment, and share this post with your friends.
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When she’s not busy searching out organic produce at her local farmer’s markets, Dianna loves to write at her personal blog, The Kennedy Adventures! You’ll find her discussing her training for a half marathon, raising identical twin boys, and loving her Catholic faith.
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