Have you tried to get your family to eat more healthily, namely your kids to eat healthier, only to be met with complaints and wasted, uneaten food? That can be very discouraging, but it may have been due to making too many big changes too fast. It’s worth it to give it another go – try transitioning to healthier food options for kids slowly in small steps. Here is a handy, step-by-step guide on transitioning to healthier food options for kids. Maybe try one of these changes per week or even month. The point is if you’re making any change to the foods your kids eat, you’re going in the right direction!
Healthier Food Options For Kids
Replace Sugar with Raw Honey and Stevia
You can get away with this one pretty easily! Try raw honey on plain yogurt, oatmeal, or baked into muffins and breads in place of sugar. You can replace nearly every recipe calling for sugar with raw honey – just decrease the amount of liquid in the recipe by 1/4 cup per cup of honey. And yes, raw honey is different; sources say it has more nutrients and no additives.
Stevia is a natural sweetener that you can use to sweeten just about anything you’d sprinkle sugar on or stir sugar into, such as hot or iced tea, cereal, smoothies, fruit, etc.
Replace Sugary Drinks with Healthful Teas and Juices
Those sugary drinks are often a target of health advocates. Instead of powdered drink mixes and sugar, try brewing up some fruit-flavored herbal tea and sweetening it with stevia. Juice can be watered down in increments (use carbonated water for fun), and stevia stirred in to make up for some of the loss of sweetness. Always use unsweetened juice, say experts.
Replace Cookies with Granola Bars
Like any transition, make it gradually – if you have cookies three times a week, replace them with low-sugar granola bars once a week. Then slowly increase the granola bars while decreasing the cookies.
Sneak in Whole Grains
Now you can sneak some whole grains into your regular family dishes. One thing you can do is begin to replace refined grains with whole ones. Try these methods:
* Replace 1/4 of white rice with brown rice, and increase the proportion of brown rice gradually until it’s all brown rice.
* Replace semolina pasta with whole wheat/whole grain pasta, using the same method as with the rice.
* Mix whole grain cereal in with sugary cereal in a ratio of 1 to 4 with the goal being the reversal of that ratio.
* Replace white, store-bought bread with “white wheat” store-bought bread; then move to “brown” store-bought bread. Finally, move into homemade, whole wheat bread…when you begin making it yourself, use 3/4 white flour and 1/4 whole wheat, and gradually increase the whole wheat.
* Sprinkle wheat germ and/or ground flax meal on cereals, into peanut butter sandwiches, in baked goods, and anywhere else you can sneak it in or on!
* In baked goods, begin replacing white flour with whole wheat flour and/or flax meal. Again, do it gradually.
* Use whole wheat tortillas, bagels, and pita bread – you can hardly tell the difference.
Remember, sometimes it takes repeated exposure for kids to get used to a new food! Hang in there and keep doing what’s best for your kids.