Feed Your Kids Better
As a registered dietitian and mama of three young kids, what we feed our children is a topic dear to my heart. When I lived in California, I owned a meal delivery service that provided healthy lunches to schools. I’ve long had strong views about children’s nutrition.
Why does our society find it totally acceptable to feed our kids a diet filled with sugar and processed foods?
This kind of diet is directly related the epidemic of childhood obesity, ADHD and diabetes. I know parents love their kids and truly want the best for them. So why feed them foods that cause disease?
A few examples:
- Florida provides free breakfast to all kids in public schools. Breakfast is essential for children, but the school menu is mostly sweets and processed foods (sugar cereals, chocolate milk, juice, pancakes, syrup, pastries). How can a student concentrate after a bowl of sugar and cup of juice?
- The kid menu at restaurants always offers the same stuff (chicken tenders, fries, mac-n-cheese, hot dog). Where are the healthier options?
- My kids pack their lunches every day. I asked them what other kids bring in. The answers: cookies, cheese crackers, packaged lunch meats, juice boxes. Why do parents buy these crappy foods for their kids?
What are some realistic solutions?
It all starts with YOU. You need to be a positive and healthy role model for your kids.
- Eat more whole foods (vegetables, fruit, nuts, beans, whole grains).
- Plan ahead and eat more dinners together.
- Eat out less and pick healthier restaurants.
- Drink more water and minimize soda, juice and sports drinks.
Utilize my 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time, my family eats a well-balanced, clean diet and for the other 20 percent, we are not as strict and may indulge. For my family, our home is our sanctuary of health. It is stocked with natural foods only. Without the unhealthy options at home, kids will always make better decisions.
Balanced kid’s meal ideas:
- Protein: Nuts, seeds, nut butters, hard-boiled eggs, string cheese, hummus, chick peas, edamame pods, Greek yogurt
- Carbs: Fruit, applesauce, smoothie, rice cakes, veggie chips, healthier bars, pretzels, popcorn
- Veggies: Carrot sticks, snap peas, cucumber slices, mini sweet peppers, grape tomatoes, celery sticks
Read Ingredients! Since marketing can be deceptive, it is more important to read the full list of ingredients instead of the “Nutrition Facts.” You need to understand what you and your family are truly eating. Avoid ingredients you cannot pronounce, syrups/sugars, artificial sweeteners and additives.
If you are motivated to make a change but feel overwhelmed, you may need professional support. My nutrition program is my Menu Planning Package. I design you a personalized and realistic menu plan along with a prep list and shopping list. Contact me if you’d like to setup a free consultation.
Betsy Markle is a registered dietitian, holistic nutritionist, certified personal trainer and yoga instructor. Also known as “The Realistic Nutritionist,” Betsy is best at simplifying the confusing world of nutrition and wellness. Visit RealisticNutrition.com to learn more about her realistic menu plans and detox programs. She can be reached at Betsy@RealisticNutrition.com or 805-252-3656.