It is that time of year again. The kids are getting geared up for back to school. After the bus makes its first stop of the year in front of our houses you will hear a universal sigh of relief from parents everywhere. Then when the second stop takes place that same day you will hear children saying, in unison, "Mom, I'm hungry". then begins a whole new chapter of parenting for the year. The easy way out is to have chips and soda readily available but that isn't a good choice. Getting kids to eat healthy takes strategy. The secret is to make healthy choices as easy as unhealthy ones. As parents, we also need to keep in mind that our kids are not on diets. So low-fat and low-calorie are not always healthy. Children need more to maintain their metabolism than most adults. So it is fine to opt for the regular yogurt for your kids instead of the low fat as it is lacking some protein and good fat that growing bodies need. and be mindful of the labels. NO ADDED SUGAR does not mean that they haven't added sweeteners which have unhealthy long term effects.
If your kids love popsicles and icecream try putting their favorite fresh fruits and some whole milk and a touch of honey into your blender. puree the mixture and freeze in popsicle molds or ice cube trays. If using ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and insert a popsicle stick through the plastic and into each cube. in the place of whole milk you can use vanilla yogurt if you would rather.
We are guilty of buying pudding packs and telling ourselves that they are healthy. The reality is, they are really quite devoid of any nutritional value. Made with real milk is what the packaging boasts, but really look at the back. 0 everything except sugar and calories. Try blending one package of creamed cheese with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 cup of vanilla yogurt. blend with your favorite fruit until smooth. pour into individual serving cups (I recommend disposable cups to avert some of the mess) chill and serve with graham crackers.
Most kids love chips. Try this. Cut flour tortillas into wedges. like you would cut a pizza. brush lightly with plain yogurt and sprinkle with hidden valley ranch powdered dip mix and chopped chives. bake in the oven at 400 degrees until crispy. after they cool put them into a ziplock freezer bag. if your kids are dippers you can prepare a creamy dip using plain yogurt and french onion soup mix or salsa using fresh veggies from your garden or local market.
Keep in mind that the things you buy pre-made at the store are over-processed and loaded with preservatives and dyes and unnecessary stuff that research has proven to affect ADD and ADHD.
If all of this seems to be too time-consuming, may I suggest that you set aside one day or evening each week and get the kids involved in making their snacks for the week. Put everything into single-serve containers and make it easy to get to. Let the kids be part of the process and remember they choose the easy route every time. The easier you make it, the better chance you have of getting them to make the right choice.
Let's be honest, we as parents are guilty of taking the easy way out too. That is why I suggest snacks that can be made ahead of time and stored for the week. if it has to be assembled or prepared on the spot most will forgo it for something with less effort involved.
We all want our kids to be healthy, that doesn't always happen with our busy lives. So make healthy choices a family activity. read labels together as you do the shopping and listen to their ideas about snacks. you just might learn a thing or two.