I will have to say I cannot hide my children from fast food (especially when traveling in a car for 5 hours!). I think this year my daughter finally figured out that you pronounce it McDonald’s instead of Old McDonald’s. At least these days fast food restaurants’ give you options to make healthier choices including white milk and fruit, but there are still some questions if these meals may be the culprit to our obesity epidemic. We have choices and no one is shoving unhealthy food down our throats but again it comes down to moderation. When eating out (more than once per week)becomes a habit that usually will equate to a recipe for disaster.
Marketing has a huge impact to a child’s eating pattern. From my own experience in a shopping trip with my kids, we pass down the fruit snack aisle or should I say sugar snacks (fruit, smuit – quit putting this health halo on this sugar laden, cavity-building thing we call food!) and my daughter sees princesses, Dora, Mickey Mouse, etc. She asks, “Mommy can we get those?” I don’t like to deny my daughter food but I tell her this is candy and we can only have them as a treat. She now learns to ask, “Are these healfy (healthy)?” I tell her the truth but she is learning to mainly choose foods that will make her grow up strong!
Then we pass by the HealthMarket and she sees Dora on a pack of edamame and she asks, “Mommy can we get those? I love those!” Last time we bought them she spit them out but I was willing for her to try them again. If Dora is on the package she will eat it! And this time she loved the edamame!
Here are some barriers and “rules” that I think WE all should become more aware of in our lives.
1) Barrier – NO TIME: Preplan some simple go-to meals when you have NO TIME to cook.
– RULE – Keep fast food down to one time per week or in my house keep donuts only one time per week. My kid LOVE donuts, someday I will develop a healthy donut!
– RULE – Keep your frig and pantry stocked with healthy go-to snacks – if you have it they will eat it! Light bulb, ah-ha moment! You really don’t have to buy all the soda, chips, fruit snacs or Little Debbie snacks. My family has been loving cinnamon and honey glazed almonds, very addicting, dangerous too but at least its a nutrient dense food.
2) Barrier – Do not know how to cook: Challenge you once a week to take the time to make a new recipe loaded with yummy vegetables. You may be surprised you can actually make them delicious when you make them the right way! (I have a great salmon patty recipe coming soon!)
3) Barrier – Food budget: Look at how much soda and chips cost – spend your food dollar wisely, the grocery store’s weekly flyer is your friend!
Here are some interesting links for some articles focusing on healthy kids menus.