I was having a conversation with my friend Marsh-a the other night that ten years ago I would have never imagined we’d be having.
You see, Marsh-a and I have been friends forever; and if our past “adventures” would dictate our futures, clean living would not have been a part of it. And by “clean living” I mean healthy food, my statement is in no way insinuating we lived a “dirty” lifestyle.
That’s our story anyway.
We were talking about childhood obesity and how out of control it is; the life long effects that it creates in the form of diabetes and high blood pressure, and how if you start teaching your kids a healthy lifestyle from the time they can eat it will help mold their future eating habits.
However, Marsh-a is concerned about her eight year old step-daughters eating habits; she is trying to without her knowing, help balance her current diet which is at times less than healthy but isn’t sure how she can given that she has been set in a routine for so long.
I had mentioned to Marsh-a to keep only healthy snack options in the house; if you don’t have cookies in the house she won’t have any choice but to eat the healthy options. Kids will eat what you give them if they are hungry enough; they may resist at first, but they will eat eventually.
I am by no means a nutrition expert; nor do I claim to be, but I had kept cookies, candy and chips in the house the first year of the Boys life; but after beginning my weight loss journey a year and a half ago, the food we kept in the cupboards changed; dramatically. Out went the cookies, candies and chips and in came the fruit, veggies and healthy baked goods. Now that we have made the transition to a healthy lifestyle he doesn’t know any different. He asks for carrots and humus or strawberries for snacks.
So, what healthy options can Marsh-a offer her step-kids?
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Chopped raw vegetables
- Celery or apples with peanut or hazelnut butter and raisins
- Breadsticks or pita chips with hummus
- Toasted whole grain breads or crackers with fruit spread or nut butters
- Graham crackers or gingersnaps dipped in applesauce
- Mini rice cakes with peanut or hazelnut butter
- Fresh fruits
- Dried fruits, especially raisins
- Frozen bananas blended with a little non-dairy milk
- Fat free Cheese stick
- Homemade clean muffins or cornbread
Healthy Lunch Ideas
- Clean eating Chicken Nuggets
- Peanut Butter Pinwheels
- Tuna Fish sandwiches (you could even add lettuce and tomato)
- Fruit Tacos
- Good old peanut butter and jelly
- Turkey burgers on wheat rolls with mustard
- Organic beef hot dog
- Egg salad sandwiches prepared with lite mayo or plain yogurt
- Mini english muffin pizzas; use multigrain muffins and low fat cheese
Serve these with some of the snack options above, and make all sandwiches with multi-grain bread. If you are feeling creative you can use cookie cutters and make the sandwiches into fun shapes!
If you worry that your child is a “picky eater” and won’t like these options; just ask them to take a few bites; don’t assume that because it’s different they won’t like it. They just might surprise you!