Ive gone over this a million times with my children. But you know how they are, they have to figure it out themselves. When my husband and I first started dating, we really didn't have that much money. And you know what that means? Hamburger Helper and Mac n Cheese. Not the most healthy but it was what we could afford. Then we cut out all red meat and started using ground turkey. As we started making more money, had our children, etc. We decided that it was time to cook more at home and less out. Mostly so our kids would grow up eating healthy and get a better start. But the difference was, we taught our children why and how to eat healthy. From when it goes into your body, what happens. To what vitamins are in what. Sometimes you say things to them, but are not sure if it actually sinks in.
But there's hope. My daughters don't like a lot of sweet stuff. If they do get sweet stuff from family or friends, they sometimes get stomach aches if they eat too much. They don't like fast food or processed food. I think all the words we said actually sunk in. Yippee! So all those hours of cooking whole chickens, peeling potatoes, growing our garden, and going to the market actually did some good. And they love helping me make dinner.
So some advise. Start early. They are never too young to teach healthy cooking. My twins are already asking me about how healthy things are. If your kids are older, there still is hope. You can still make their favorite things but healthier. . You don't have to turn into health nuts, their poor bodies will go into shock. Not really but you get the idea. Little steps make big impacts. Here are a few tips that really helped us get started.
1. No soda. This was the hardest for me. I craved it. But you will survive without it.
2. Less sugar. Crystal Light is a great start. So yummy. When baking use 1/2 apple sauce and 1/2 sugar. Stop buying candy. Replace half sugar cereal with Cheerios's. Use more fruit.
3. Whole Wheat-noodles, bread, crackers, pretty much everything. You not only will be getting healthier but will stay full longer. Regular noodles seem slimy to me now. Use whole wheat flour only. There is no difference in taste, just looks different.
4. Better Meat-Buy meat with less fat. Chicken, turkey, and fish are great. I pretty much only eat white meat. I take the time to cut as much fat and skin off as possible. Plus I bake my meat a lot so its really juicy. You can be on a budget and still get good meat. Chicken is super budget friendly right now. Value Grill packs and whole chickens are almost always on sale now for $1 or less a pound.
5. Stop buying processed foods. No Velveeta cheese, no powdered gravy, no precooked anything. Learn how to make gravy, use regular cheese, and just try to do things yourself. not only does this save you money but its way more healthier.
6. Bake. There are super easy things to bake. Throw in some shredded veggies and they would never know. Zucchini and carrot are great for this. There are tons of recipes out there using vegetable puree and they wouldn't even taste it. Let the kids help and I promise they will eat it. I even take another step and add flax seed. I add it to anything I bake. Can be bought in bulk too.
7. No fast food. Or as less as possible. There are times when you have to do it but be smart about it. My kids do not like fast food. They would much rather go home and request mac n cheese that I make. Don't get me wrong, they love pizza. Pizza is in a whole different category. But you can make pizza too...See get the idea?
8. Produce as snacks. Apple sauce all natural, cut up apples, carrots, red bell peppers, and even celery with peanut butter. When in season, my girls love lemon cucumbers. Its like apples to them.
9. Choice's-how about a fruit smoothie instead of chocolate syrup in milk? Just need milk and frozen fruit. How about crackers and peanut butter instead of chips? Or better yet buy apple chips.
10. Fresh is best. But frozen will do. I try to use fresh items as much as possible. If something fresh is on sale, I will buy a ton and freeze it. Like red bell peppers are 4/$1 now. I bought 8, cut slice up 6 of them and put on a cookie sheet and froze them. 2 are for meals for the next few days. Then once frozen, throw in a freezer bag and they wont stick together. I do this to all fruit and veggies. Makes my buck go a long way.
11. HAVE FUN with it. Its a learning process. Make it a game with the kids. It will work.
The thought of any fast food, processed food (hot dogs, Bologna, etc) just makes me sick to my stomach. I would much rather go home and find some good stuff. And if you ask my kids, they would say the same. Unless it involves pizza. All rules are out the window. LOL! So yes, their is hope, and your kids will eat healthy. There are ways around it.