How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthy—At the School Cafeteria and Beyond
Healthy eating starts at home, but what happens when kids are out and about? Unfortunately, you can’t always control what your kids consume after they walk out the door. Like any mom, you worry a little that your efforts in the kitchen are derailed by vending machines, concession stands and food courts. Learn the secret to keeping your kids eating healthy, no matter where they go:
The Daily Grind
You’re going to work and the kids are going to school. You know what’s for breakfast and dinner, but they’re at school for up to eight hours of the day. School lunches are improving, but your best bet is still to pack a paper bag. Sit down with your kids and plan out a lunch and snack menu for the week, much like the school system does. Let the kids have input, so they feel included. Then, post the menu on the fridge at their eye-level. Tip: don’t forget to include healthy snacks like organic granola bars to keep them full and focused all day – and away from vending machines.
It can be easier to plan meals and eat healthy during the week, because you’re on a schedule. The weekend comes and family outings break your rhythm, because birthday parties, movie theatres and sports venues are all notorious for serving king-sized candy bars and deep-fried feasts. Avoid these health hazards by:
- Packing ready-made meals: They will keep for a couple hours without refrigeration. Pre-packaged food gets a bad rap, but there are healthy options made with whole grains, no preservatives and no trans fat. You’ll save money and your kids’ health when you’ve got lunch in the bag – literally.
- Filling snack bags: For quicker family outings, like shopping or going to the movies, a couple snack options are all you need: nuts and bananas are easy to eat on-the-go. Keep kids away from concession stands by popping your own popcorn and sprinkling it with sweet (cinnamon) or savory spices (parmesan).
- Picnicking in the parking lot – Tailgating and stadium food stands are food coma culprits. Take fresh, colorful toppings to make your own whole wheat pita pizzas. The kids will have fun piling on their favorite ingredients, and you won’t feel guilty for letting them eat pizza! Tip: throw these pita pies on the grill for a more authentic flavor.
By: +Elizabeth Lotts writer for Vitacost.com
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