Readjusting to school, sports, and homework often leaves mom's feeling like their fresh-start, good intentions of meal planning and organization are just out of reach. What can you do when life happens fast but you still want to teach healthy habits to your kids?
Read these five tips to help stay on track and teach your kids that healthy eating and convenience can co-exist!
1) Plan to avoid fast food: keep snacks in the car or bring some from home each day to help fight the urge to give into fast food when the afternoon hunger strikes! An after school snack on the way home from school may help keep kids from darting to the kitchen.
2) Plan Ahead: Look at online information and aim for under 600 calories per fast food meal. This may mean leaving off the mayonnaise or choosing a small fry over a large one. It will help you to see how many calories can be sneaky...800 calorie Zaxby's salad? It may be tough in the beginning, but keep trying and it will become easier to pinpoint hidden calories!
3) Set limits: communicate with your kids what they can order. Pick 2 options and let them choose 1. In my experience, picky eating stems a lot from families who eat out often. Allowing a child to choose from endless menu items, means they usually pick the same thing and refuse anything new. Help steer them in a healthier direction by offering two mom-approved options. Say something like "Do you want grilled chicken nuggets and fries or fried chicken nuggets and fruit?" to make them think they ultimately get to decide. So you want ice cream? "Ok, then you need grilled chicken nuggets and fruit, then you may have ice cream."
4) Monitor Portions: Kid’s meals are often good portions for adults too! This helps kids see what portions are more realistic. Remember that eating from a smaller plate helps the brain feel fuller? The same is true when looking at larger portions. We feel fuller off smaller portions if that's the size we start with.
5) No sugary drinks: This is always a number one tip and includes juice and Gatorade, too. They should really be called "child sodas" because of the way they are digested by the body. I see kids from overweight to underweight, and everywhere in between who have issues with juice and we always talk about why we don't need them. Eat the fruit rather than drink the juice. Be sure your child knows they need more water! (Hey, it’s free too!)
Overall, it's about figuring out what works for your family and your schedule. Some people eat out every day and others rarely do. Any small change could help no matter what your family style is!
What tips would you share with mom's looking for convenience?