I’ve told you how much my kids love corndogs. And how I still love Dortitos. And how, if given the choice, my kids would choose the candy over the good stuff.
Oh look. My family is normal! (Normal is relative. Thank you for your support.)
This is why I have to be strategic when putting food on the table for meals and snacks. Yep, sometimes I offer chips. So be it. But in an effort to fill us all with as much nourishment as possible – as easily as possible – these are the tricks I’ve discovered through the years.
Healthy Choices Are Easier When There Are Several Choices
I’m not about to become a short-order chef. But when I know I’ll be serving a fruit or veggie one of my kids doesn’t love, I’ll always serve another one or two he does love. Then I don’t have to fight a battle that doesn’t even make sense. After all, even I don’t love every single veggie on the planet (sorry jicima, I tried).
Serve the Healthy Choices on a Plate
This one may sound silly, but the truth is that the easier I make the food to grab and eat, the more my family will eat. Last week I got out jars and bowls filled with little bits of fruit and raw veggie leftovers from the past couple days’ meals. Had I put them on the table as-is – which would have meant that my kids would have had to reach farther across the table and down into jars to access the food – I know without a doubt that they wouldn’t have eaten as many fruits and veggies. Instead, I dumped everything out of the jars and made a big platter of the fruits and veggies for the table. The munching started even before I was ready to call everyone in for the Potato Soup meal. Bingo. My plan worked.
Assign a Number
Often when there is a plate of healthy grab-and-eat foods, I’ll tell my kids, “You each need to eat at least 8 foods from the plate.” Then Malachi says, “What if we eat 10, is that okay?” Smarty pants. Again, some of the foods on the plate aren’t my kids’ favorites, so they don’t even have to touch those and it doesn’t matter as long as they eat at least 8 (or sure, 10).
Healthy and Delicious Should Happen At the Same Time
What I love about healthy food is that it is so yummy and flavorful – naturally. But if a fruit is not in season, it’s not going to taste as good – so choose accordingly for the best chance at your family loving the food choices. Also, be sure your family doesn’t equate the word “healthy” with “dry, boring, and flavorless.” As for me and my household, we will avoid rice cakes at all cost and instead make delicious and flavorful dishes and snacks with herbs and spices, milk, cheese, meats, fruits, veggies, real butter, sea salt, and coconut oil. Real food is what deliciousness is made of.
Serve the Favorites – the Healthier Way
We all love pizza, tacos, hamburgers, fries, and did I mention corndogs? Sometimes we splurge on the not-so-good-for-you variety. Mostly though, it is less expensive and tastier to make all of these favorites with our own wholesome ingredients. Have you ever made homemade fries? On my stars. And corndogs? We can make those too.
I’d love to hear the tricks you use to make healthy choices easy for your family!