Ten Ideas for Your Kids in 2008

December 20, 2007 at 4:05 pm Leave a comment

1. Each week buy a variety of fruits that keep well at room temperature and keep them in a bowl on the counter as the snack option for your children. Apples, pears, oranges and plums are all easy for even young children to grab as a snack. If your family doesn’t have nut allergies to worry about, small bags of nuts and seeds can also be placed in the fruit bowl for easy access too!

2. Place fruits, cut vegetables with small dressing cups, single serve string cheese and small 4-ounce yogurt cups on a shelf in the refrigerator that is low enough for your child to easily access.

3. Look for and stock up on “juice box” like flavored waters – they look just like a juice box, but are plain water with a fruit essence to add some flavor and contain no juice! Allow your child freely enjoy these as they desire. Small bottles of water are also available, but a bit more difficult for a child to open on their own – but they too are a good option!

4. Invest in a good stand-alone water dispenser and set it up in the kitchen. Encourage your child(ren) to have water when thirsty. These water dispensers are often less expensive in the long-term than bottled water and easier for a child to use than twisting off the cap on a bottle.

5. Provide milk or water as the beverage at meals. Use child size cups (four to six ounces) rather than larger cups – they’re easier for small hands and do not encourage “big gulp” expectations for beverages.

6. Each week introduce a new vegetable or a new recipe for a vegetable, just once! Make it a non-starchy vegetable. At the meal the new vegetable is offered, make sure everything else served they like and eat. Establish the expectation that they must try the new food and if they do not like it, they do not have to finish it. But they do need to try it. You may be amazed at how many new vegetables your child will like! As you find new vegetables they like – or old favorites using a new recipe – add them to your recipes and include in meals as the year continues.

7. Don’t buy packaged, processed snacks. Your family may whine and complain, but chips, cookies, puddings and the like simply don’t need to be in your kitchen. See items 1 and 2 above. Let your children know this doesn’t mean they’ll never again have a cookie or chips, but that they’re treats and since they’re treats, they’ll still have them occassionally – which means they do not need to be available all the time in the house!

8. Look for and choose options that are free of high-fructose corn syrup, added sugars and added starch. For example, applesauce does not need added sugar, yet most contain added sugar and some now contain added artifical sweetener. These additional sweeteners only make things that are naturally sweet even sweeter, raising the expectation of sweetness in foods – so choose unsweetened varieties where you can.

9. When you eat out, don’t order from the kids menu. Too often the items on the kids menu are nutritionally bankrupt and they’re also always the same five or six things. Instead, for smaller children – ask for a plate and let them enjoy what you’re eating too. For older children, encourage them to choose from the menu and ask for a container to portion out their meal when it arrives and package the rest to take home the leftovers – that way they’re not overwhelmed by the size of the portion they’re served and you’re encouraging them to try new things while enjoying a meal out with the family.

10. Stop eating in the car – make a new family rule this year that eating in the car is no longer an option. Not only will your car have less crumbs, sticky messes and dropped food to clean up, your children will learn that they won’t starve waiting a few minutes until they’re home (or where they’re arriving) to be able to relax and choose something good to eat.

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