Sunday, March 24, 2013

10 easy ways for your child's healthier diet

A challenge of the day: how do you continue with the whole "time out" routine, if your child purposely misbehaves ans says 'I want to go to time out'. Time out is not supposed to be appealing to her... Anyway, that has nothing to do with this post, just a problem that presented itself today and I need to figure out what to do about it. Lots of mommy's blogs will be read over the next couple days...

At least, I have Allie's food figured out... Although with all the snacks and fast food and sugary treats available to us, sometimes it becomes a challenge to stay on track with feeding your child a healthy diet. Here are 10 ways to ensure a better nutrition and healthy habits for your child. They are small changes to your probably already existing routine that are so easy to implement:

1. A super popular snack (well, at least in the US) peanut butter in its different forms (PB&J sandwich, PB on celery, on bananas, etc) can become so much healthier if you use unsweetened peanut better. If you read regular peanut butter label, sugar is the #2 ingredient, or event #1! It often says "made from peanut butter and sugar" and it just makes you wonder if there are actually pretty equal parts of peanuts and sugar? Well, that's a lot of sugar... If you or you little one does have a sweet tooth, just add a bit of honey to your unsweetened peanut butter, it makes it just as sweet as regular PB would be and honey is way healthier than just regular white sugar. Allie actually loves PB&H (honey) sandwich on wheat bread and has it a lot more often than a classic PB&J.

2. In baking when possible substitute part of the flour you're using for a whole-wheat flour. In many recipes you can use event parts of white flour and whole wheat flour and you almost can't even taste the difference. Your muffins all of a sudden have a much better nutritional value.

3. It seems like every kid likes pancakes, right? Instead of syrup use honey. And I usually add very little to none sugar to pancakes, so all the sweetness comes from honey. It's delicious and honey has so many great health benefits.

4. Another thing all kids seem to like is dipping. Allie will eat pretty much anything if it's dipped in something (ketchup, some kind of sauce, etc.). A couple months ago I posted a recipe for a healthier homemade ketchup, you can find it here. Offer this healthier alternative to a regular ketchup whenever she asks for it (which is in our household pretty mush always). It's also great to use as a pasta sauce for adults, it's delicious!

5. For a vegetable dip instead of using store bough stuff with a bunch of preservatives, try using some plain Greek yogurt mixed in a blender with some garlic, dill and cumin. It's a  delicious dip that's great for kids and adults. Allie likes to use this dip for dipping her carrot sticks, celery, cucumber, bell pepper or even green beans.

6. Instead of using sweetened store bought yogurt for snack or dessert, use plain Greek yogurt and add some honey to sweeten it up. Most flavored yogurt that we buy have crazy amounts of sugar in them! I promise I'll stop with the honey now... I know I included it in nearly every paragraph here.

7. Use whole-wheat pasta. It's the healthiest variety, it tastes nice and nutty, and your little one probably won't even notice the difference. It's especially unnoticeable when you serve it with stronger tasting sauces, like tomato or pesto. 

8. To promote healthier eating habits, make sure that she/he gets to the table hungry, whether it's breakfast, lunch of dinner. Don't allow too much snacking in between meals and try to serve snacks at a table only. She is more likely to eat what you want her to eat, if she is hungry.

9. Stick to healthy drinks. Water is best if she is thirsty. Milk is great to accompany a meal. Allie has juice very rarely as a treat and it's diluted with water big time (80% water, 20% juice). I also make a cranberry drink pretty often. It has tons of vitamin C and antioxidants and Allie loves it and calls it "happy sok" (sok is juice in Russian). Check out the recipe here. If you have a juicer, making your own juice is also a great way to sneak in some veggies in there. Check out a recipe that I make often here. I am not even going into soda drinks for kids. Allie has not had one yet and I am going to delay it for as long as possible.

10. For "special treats" use healthier things such as prunes, raisins, dried apricots or dried mango. For Allie they are pretty much an equivalent of candy.

If you have anything to add, please include it in your comment.I always look for new ways for Allie's healthier nutrition and diet.


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