Friday, December 31, 2010

Healthier Eating For 2011! Bring ON The Snacks!

We have fallen into some bad habits this year in my household.  You want m&m’s, kiddo? Sure!  You want ten pb&j sandwiches? Go on, eat!  I blame my Eastern European genetics and my incurable sweet tooth.  But after a year of poor health and a lot of laziness, it’s time to focus on making sure this family eats healthfully.  When I talked to the husband, he was on board.  He’d been feeling as bogged down and sluggish from our bad habits as I had.

That’s the thing that we all fail to realize.  The Snickers bar only packs so much punch.  But the carrots dipped in natural peanut butter or easily homemade hummus?  We’re happy and content for hours.  We can function, we don’t fall prey to the low blood sugar blues, and we can keep on playing and laughing hard.

I tried some new tricks to get more fruits and veggies into the kiddos diet.  Number one time to get them in? SNACK TIME.  My kids were sorely lacking on their intake of yogurt, fruit, and veggies.  So their options got to be the same as mine, because I wanted them to see ME eating better stuff too. Snack options? Things like: celery or carrots with homemade dip, yogurt with berries, or fruit and wheat pretzels.

Next thing up is water.  You know you need to get in 10 cups a day. According to the MyPyramid website, kiddos need about 6. So snack time is ALWAYS water to drink.  My older gal is starting to enjoy decaf fruity flavored green teas.  I let her have that to get more water in once a day too.

Meals time. The husband and I had a serious talk about this one.  We’re hard core desserts addicts around here.  So we decided, “We’re cutting our sweets in half.  We’re both eating 2 veggies with both lunch and dinner.  We’re eating whole grain cereals and fruit, or eggs on whole grain toast with a glass of juice or piece of fruit.  The kiddos will see us eating better and they need to too.” We’ve stuck to it, they are eating and sleeping better, and all of us are feeling better.

It’s easier thank you think to get some more of the good stuff into your diet and your kids’ as well.  Make it a priority, make it available, and keep your eye open for sales on produce.  Let your kids see you eating and enjoying it.  Then steal this tip from the lovely Nigella Lawson that I did. “Before meals, put out a tray of dip and an assortment of veggies.  Everybody snacks on that before and during the meal too.”  

Check out the MyPyramid site. It's got great guidelines, tools, and printouts to help you balance what you and your kids eat. Also check out Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution- it is life changing. If that isn't enough, take a few to watch The Future of Food on Hulu. It is also life and mind changing! Let’s all have a healthy, happy, elegant New Year!

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