Family Food Resolutions: Goals to Get Us All Eating Better in the New Year
|December 20, 2012||Posted by Stacy under Food education, Food resolutions, Healthy eating at home|
When it comes to healthy eating, I view my family as a work in progress. Though I’m fairly sure that I know what to feed my kids, they haven’t always been so great about eating it. Reading the book French Kids Eat Everything earlier this year made me realize that I needed to start doing more to cultivate their taste buds and open their minds to new flavors. Since then, we’ve made some great strides. All three of my munchkins (ages 7 and 4x2) have started eating salmon, upped their consumption of green things, and stopped freaking out when presented with unknown foods. But we still have a way to go. To that end, I’ve made some family food goals for the new year:
Do more Make-Your-Own nights My kids are always more eager to eat healthy food that they helped prepare. (Case in point: Our Make-Your-Own Salad experiment, which resulted in all my self-professed salad haters heaping their bowls full of mixed greens). Doing it themselves is fun, makes them feel grown up, and gives them complete control over what goes on their plate. And the extra clean-up is completely worth it when I see them willingly taste an unfamiliar or less liked food.
Try more Food 3 Ways This is my own little trick for educating my kids about food and getting them interested in sampling new things. It involves presenting one type of food in three different ways. For example, kale: I might serve a raw leaf, kale chips, and kale pesto over noodles. It’s a fun thing to do at snack time or with younger kids on a playdate.
Serve food family-style I don’t do this as often as I should, mainly because of the extra dishes involved. But family-style dining is great because it teaches kids how to do things for themselves and makes them more likely to try new foods. It also allows children to learn and practice social skills, such as taking turns, passing food to others, and saying “please” and “thank you.”
Snack on veggies Since I started incorporating more vegetables into my kids’ afternoon snacks, they have been eating more of them at snack time–and at their other meals. As the experts say, frequent exposure helps build familiarity, and kids like to eat what they know. I’m not talking about serving a platter of steamed broccoli (though there’s no reason not to if your kids like it!). I like to look for new ways to make the vegetables interesting and palatable—for example, by pairing them with dip, putting them in pancakes or adding them to smoothies. Just don’t hide them! As I know from experience, you don’t grow vegetable lovers with sneaky tactics. I’ve learned to tell my kids exactly what they’re eating–or better yet, have them help make it so they can see for themselves.
Grow a garden A backyard garden is something that I have long wanted but haven’t had the time or energy to commit to. So I have asked my next-door-neighbor if I can share hers. Her kids (age 10 and 7) love arugula, peas and radishes picked from the garden, so I’ve seen first-hand how it can inspire children to eat their veggies. We will need to wait until the ground thaws this spring to get started, but it’s on my list for 2013!
Stop eating standing up I find myself doing this sometimes twice a day—no joke!—and it is bad, bad, bad. When you sit down to eat (at a dining table, not a desk with a computer!), you’re less likely to wolf down your food. And chances are, you’ll make an effort to prepare something healthy instead of just grabbing something quick. I always eat at the table with my kids at dinner, and I need to start doing it at breakfast and lunch, too.
I’ll be taking a rest from blogging for the holiday break. But you can expect me back in early January with more stories about improving school food and raising healthy eaters. In the meantime, I want to say a sincere thank you to everyone who has visited and supported my School Bites blog. Happy holiday!
Do you have any family food resolutions for 2013?!? I would love to hear them! Please share by leaving a comment down below.