Guest post by Holly Yzquierdo, My Plant-Based Family
Less than 2 years ago my family and I ate a lot of processed junk food; we were also unhealthy and on quite a few medications. A series of events led to a sort of “parting of the sea” and we stepped through and embraced a diet change that focused on real, whole food that centered on fresh ingredients.
Now my kids happily eat raw spinach, broccoli, quinoa and a host of fresh fruit. Our dinner table looks very different than a lot of our neighbors but we have reclaimed our health. People always ask me how we made this change and how I get my kids to eat this way.
Here are my 5 tips to help your kids adopt healthier eating habits.
Be a Good Example
My kids ALWAYS want what my husband and I are eating. It never fails, as soon as I make something for myself they are crawling all over me to share (actually they want to commandeer it). My sons began to love raw spinach by sharing with my husband. I never get to eat a whole piece of fruit anymore (unless I hide in the pantry) because my two year old son is all over it.
My kids didn’t like spinach the first time we offered it. It took a few reintroductions before they whole-heartedly accepted it. The same went for walnuts, quinoa, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms… and the list goes on. When we made the switch from peanut butter to sunflower seed butter to accommodate my youngest son’s allergies it took a while. After the first few attempts I decided to give up sandwiches for a while. After a few weeks I offered sunbutter sandwiches again and my kids were thrilled.
Some things just go better together, but you may need to make it a slow transition. My kids love baked sweet potato but when we began serving it we often topped it with cinnamon. During our transition from peanut butter to sunflower seed butter I chose to forgo sandwiches but I still offered sunbutter as a dip for apples. I also mixed it into their morning oatmeal to help them get used to the flavor. If your kids aren’t crazy about oatmeal try adding raisins.
Do the Dip
Kids love dip! Nut butters (or seed butters) are a fun dip for apples, bananas and even strawberries. We also love to dip raw veggies in hummus. I give my kids ketchup sometimes but I’m careful to buy brands without a lot of junk in them like high fructose corn syrup. I’ve even pureed steamed veggies to make a dip for raw veggies. Pureed beans are also easy for kids to enjoy as well as being versatile. Don’t forget about barbeque sauce or salad dressing, they can really make the difference when it comes to kids.
Whether you are concerned with the dinner rush or find yourself away from home all day; taking a few minutes to prepare will help you make better choices once tummies start to growl. Meal Plans are the best way to keep yourself from ordering pizza at the last minute. Packing a lunch or snack when you are away from home can keep you from making poor choices.
Holly Yzquierdo is the creator of My Plant-Based Family, a blog about whole food, plant-based eating. Connect with her on Facebook/MyPlantBasedFamily, Twitter/MyPlantBasedFam, and Pinterest/MyPlantBasedFam.