New Year’s Food Resolutions for Kids
A new year is less than 24 hours away and I can already feel myself wanting to change everything I didn’t do well in 2012! On the top of my list, other than getting six pack abs, ha ha, is refining my nutrition and becoming more efficient as a parent and person.
I love to plan and make goals, but I’ve found over the years that if I can’t measure those goals or keep the list super simple, it basically doesn’t stick. I find myself making the same goals the next year.
This year when it comes to food and family, I created a simple do and don’t list to help myself and those with similar goals to stay focused and be able to make small changes that could have huge results.
They say it’s all about choices right? Well if that’s the case then everyday I want to make the kind of choices that give me a healthier year than the one I just had. Teaching our kids to make good choices when it comes to food has to start with us! We set the course for their food and nutrition compass. The boundaries we set for ourselves, will be their boundaries as well.
It doesn’t have to be complicated or driven by a bunch of rules that everyone struggles to follow. Keep it simple and educate yourself and your children. I also recommend getting the kids involved if they are old enough. They want to help with the family food planning and there is no better way to have success as a whole that to start as a whole!
Here are some simple tips on navigating to a healthier food environment for your family in 2013. Some of these ideas will create some food for though and challenge you as the parent to dig deeper into the food choices you make for your family.
Choose to go GREEN: Make it a point to purchase more fresh green veggies this year. Try a new one per week and see what your family likes. I recommend kale! It’s beautiful and delicious sautéed with olive oil, garlic and a little salt.
Start the morning STRONG: It’s easy to get the old box of cereal out and or leave the children to the breakfast bar wolves, but this next year…….you’ve got a plan! Stock up with frozen fruits for smoothies, buy yogurt or kefir, old fashioned or steel cut oatmeal, string cheese and hard boiled eggs. Even if you don’t have time to do the sit down thing, you’ll be prepared to get your kids off and running with “real food” to fuel their brains and bodies.
Introduce yourself to ORGANIC: It’s an unrealistic goal to go 100% organic right out of the gate especially if you’ve never even bought an organic apple yet. But, don’t buy into the lies that you can’t do it or it’s too expensive. Start small and educate yourself. Fruits and vegetables with no or thin peelings are good place to start. Research the meats you are purchasing and start with one or two items at a time. Think of it as an investment in you and your children’s future.
Make a commitment to eat more WHOLE GRAINS: Go to the grocery store and do a search for whole grains. No I’m not referring to whole grain bread or bagels, ha! I’m referring to the fiber rich nutrient dense section of the food pyramid that is frequently overlooked. Challenge yourself to cook up some brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, barley, wild rice, millet, kamut or whole wheat berries. You’ll be surprised how tasty and satisfying they are.
Make a weekly meal and shopping PLAN: It’s so easy to give into the foods you know you shouldn’t eat when the refrigerator is bare or you are shopping without a list on an empty stomach. Trust me I’ve been there and I always regret it afterward. But in 2013 we are not victims and there is no excuses! If you are crafty feel free to make a weekly list and hang it on your frig, if you’re like me I do better with an app that reminds me or an online list I can generate, print and take with me to the store. There are tons of resources out there. Get organized and don’t fall prey to old habits!
Get your kids in the KITCHEN AND EXPERIMENT: In all the classes I’ve ever taught with kids, I’ve found they will eat what they have a part in making. Take them shopping with you and let them pick out fruits and vegetables. Turn it into an education session. You might find you have a budding chef on your hands!
Don’t give into all the food commercials and hype. There is a wasteland of products and foods out there that are targeted at your children. The truth is that 90% of those products are not nutritious in any way. Don’t give into the grocery store tantrums or begging sprees. You are the wise Master Yoda of the family and the young Padawans do not understand the ways of the force yet. Be strong, stay STRONG!!!!!
Don’t be a fool and give in to those cliche marketing terms like “lower in sugar” or “0 grams Trans Fat”. There is more than meets the eye when it comes to shopping for nutritious food. Avoid ingredients like:
Partially or Fully Hydrogenated Anything
Bleached Flour or Sugar
These ingredients are not your friend and if you research any of them, you’ll find they are no bueno for junior!
Don’t give into FOOD COLORINGS: Read the label! The Center for Science in the Public Interest has requested the FDA ban such food dyes as:
Their claim is that food dyes causes hyperactivity and other behavioral problems in children. These “bad boys” are literally in everything and they can be a challenge to eliminate. Do your research and decide for yourself. Knowledge is power.
Don’t be out to lunch on NITRATES: Hot dogs and lunch meat can be a kid’s best friend if you are unaware of nitrates and other preservatives. Nitrates and Nitrites are used in hot dogs and lunch meat to preserve them. When consumed frequently they are linked to causing cancer including leukemia and brain tumors. Not cool. There are nitrate free options in every grocery store. Look at labels, research and don’t be ignorant about nitrates.
Don’t be UNAWARE: When it comes to the health and nutrition of your family don’t be uninformed, ignorant or in denial. You don’t have to be a psycho nutrition parent or grandparent to be effective. Do you research, don’t give in to peer-pressure or people who just don’t know and learn something new everyday. You and your family will feel better, run harder and have the kind of year that doesn’t need as many resolutions in the future!