By Alivia Boddie, WCCA Community Engagement Specialist & Food Security Programs Coordinator
As a mom of a 2 year old, I understand the challenges of maintaining a healthy eating habit all the time, but I know the importance of it as well! Even though family schedules can be hectic, and it is MUCH easier to pick something up from a fast food drive thru- maintaining a healthy eating style will be beneficial to both you and your kids.
Here are 3 helpful tips for eating healthy with a child:
- Have regular family meals: This one can be difficult to maintain, but it’s crucial to your family’s well-being. When parents and children create a ritual of eating meals together, relationships improve, likelihood of eating healthy foods increases, unexpected/troublesome behaviors are less likely and everyone is happier once they get a chance to catch up on each other’s day to day lives. If you are short on time, make an easy meal, but try to maintain consuming food at the dinner table.
- Stock Up on Healthy Foods: Having a variety of healthy foods on hand will give your child the option to choose what they want to snack on, but limit their options. Things like low-fat yogurt, grab and go fruits (apples, oranges, and pears), peanut butter and celery, whole grain crackers and cheese are all good go-to options for a snack. By working healthy foods into daily routines, children are less likely to have an adverse reaction to eating fruits and veggies, you may even find that they are choosing these types of foods over others once they get accustomed to eating them regularly!
- Eliminate the Battles over Food and Eating: If you haven’t noticed, I am all about creating a routine or maintaining specific habits in order to help integrate healthy foods. When children have a predictable expectation of when they are going to eat, they will be less likely to overeat, eat unhealthy or beg for sugary foods throughout the day.
- Eliminate the clean the plate rule. Forcing overeating can create negative stigmas associated with certain foods and also will lead to obesity.
- Food shouldn’t be used as a reward or punishment. I am guilty of this, but avoiding using dessert as a prize for eating their plate of food is a no-no.
- Don’t use food as a form of affection. That means that if you want to show love, praise, gratitude or any other positive affection, make sure that you are doing so with hugs and kisses instead of cookies and candy.
Creating healthy habits for your kids will ultimately create healthy adults, and that leads to healthy and happy parents. Now as a parent, sometimes it is not always feasible to find healthy food when you are on a strict budget. Here are some great cost-effective resources to save Money and still be able to provide healthy foods for your children
- Fare For All: Fare For All is a great way to save money on quality, nutritious food. The program buys fresh fruits, vegetables, and frozen meat in bulk to save you up to 40% off grocery store prices. They select the best food from their shipments, pre-packaging it to give you the greatest deals. Fare For All is community supported and open to everyone. The more people who participate, the better. For more information please check out this link:
- FYCC runs a power of produce program where kids will receive a special POP club tote bag and each week they attend the Farmers market, they will receive a $2 token that they can spend at select vendors throughout the market. Kids are encouraged to make their own food choices from the wide array of fresh, vendor-grown produce including fruits, vegetables, or food-bearing plants.
The POP program runs every Thursday from July 6 through August 31, and there is no cost to participate. Parent/guardian signature is required at registration.
- For the local food shelves:
https://www.co.wright.mn.us/documentcenter/view/7126 or check out the WCCA website at http://www.wccaweb.com/Program/Food_Shelf