by Karen Roth, MSNC
As a parent, we want our children to be healthy and happy. However, many of the foods targeted to children lead to obesity and mood swings. When your child is transitioning from milk to learning to eat whole food, it’s important to train their taste buds to enjoy healthier options such as fresh soft fruits and vegetables and clean protein sources. As they begin to grow, they may be introduced to junk food at a friend’s house or at school. This can lead to feelings of deprivation. Having foods at home that resemble junk food, but are actually healthy alternatives, are good options for parents. Here are some of my favorites.
Snow Monkey Super Food Ice Treats, are “ice cream reinvented.” The difference between Snow Monkey and regular ice cream is that it has added protein from hemp seed protein powder and fiber from sunflower seeds. In addition to that super foods are added like Goji berries, which are low in fat and high in fiber and contain antioxidants and other phytonutrients that promote skin and eye health. Other super foods used are ceylon cinnamon, matcha green tea, cocoa powder, and turmeric. It’s also dairy- and nut-free. They come in five flavors and range from 0-5 mg of added sugar. Now that is a feat in itself. Another brand that I like is Halo Top, with much lower sugar and higher protein than regular ice cream.
Healthy grab-and-go snacks are key to any home filled with kids. Nuts and raisins are a perfect match. Salty, crunchy, and sweet. You can purchase individually wrapped combos like the ones I get at Trader Joe’s called Go Raw Trek Mix, but you can easily make your own. Using snack size zip locks, fill with a variety of nuts like pecans, walnuts, and almonds then add unsweetened raisins. You can prepare several bags and store them in your pantry.
Other foods that are good to have in your pantry when your child starts raiding the cabinets are low sodium popcorn and low sodium jerky which you can find in a variety of protein sources ranging from beef to pork to even wild game.
Keep a bowl of easy-to-eat fruits on the kitchen counter like organic apples, organic pears, and bananas, and keep washed and ready-to-grab fruits in the refrigerator like organic grapes, strawberries, and blueberries. I recommend organic on most of these fruits because they are highly sprayed with pesticides.
The most important thing to remember when teaching kids how to eat healthy is to not label foods as “good” or “bad.” This can have a negative effect on a child that can last a lifetime. I’ve seen this time and time again with my adult clients. Another thing to remember is to never force a child to eat something with which they have an adverse reaction. That doesn’t mean you have to never serve that food at dinner, just don’t force it to be eaten. If the rest of the family is eating the asparagus you put on the table, the child might actually try it one night.
For more healthy food ideas to fill your refrigerator and pantry visit our YouTube Channel and watch our Healthy Living playlist.
The Daily Dose blog features health and wellness articles from Senior Nutritionist & Educator Jolie Root, LPN,LNC; Nutritionist & Educator Laurel Sterling, MA, RDN, CDN; and Featured Guest Blogger Karen Roth, MSNC. Other guest bloggers will also join us.