Every parent across America wants their children to grow up healthy and happy, but that doesn’t always happen when childhood obesity rates are currently so high in our country. Overweight children are often subject to bullying that destroys their self-esteem, and the overall harmful health effects can be devastating. You can help your children lose weight or maintain a healthy weight by utilizing these few tips that will help you offer your children healthy choices at dinner time.
1. Channel Your Inner Artist
Children like to eat things that look fun, so let your artistic side take over. Makes flowers using green beans for stems and leaves and carrot or celery sticks to make a flower with a healthy dipping sauce right in the middle. Use potatoes with the skins still on for tree trunks and place broccoli on top to represent the tree itself. Cauliflower serves as a wonderful cloud, and an orange slice can be the sun. Use cookie cutters to make shapes out of all kinds of healthy foods to complete your artistic dinner. You can also let your kids make their own creations with fruits, vegetables and other healthy foods by allowing to use as much food as they like as long as they eat it after.
2. Cooking Day at Home
Try to pick a day that you and your children are all home that you can devote to cooking. Choose healthy dishes that the children love and are able to help you prepare. This is wonderful bonding time, and you can freeze the meals you have all worked to prepare for a quick thaw and cook for weeknight dinners.
3. Make Subtle Changes
Replace hamburger night with either turkey, chicken or vegetable patties, and be sure to offer plenty of fresh lettuce, tomato and other vegetables to top then with. Serve on a healthier whole-grain bun, and complete with a side of cottage cheese, corn on the cob or raw potato sticks. Making subtle changes will be much easier for your kids to tolerate, and over time they will be eating healthier without putting up a fuss.
4. Serve Breakfast for Dinner
Many families don’t have time for a good breakfast, so it will be a novelty to serve breakfast items for dinner on occasion. Offer whole-grain pancakes with sliced bananas, raisin, peanut butter and strawberries for toppings. Make omelets with fat-free cheese and vegetables and offer some turkey bacon and whole wheat toast on the side.
5. Find Something New and Tasty
The Internet is definitely your friend when it comes to finding something wonderful to serve your children for dinner. Do a search, and you will find child-friendly recipes all over the Internet. Show the ones with photos to your children, explain what is in the dish and let them help you decide what to make for dinner. Simple Dish is also a great resource that has a large list of recipes that your family will enjoy.
Getting your children involved in the selection of food and preparation of dinner will go a long way towards getting them excited about cooking and proper nutrition. If you also commit to eating healthy right alongside your children, then you can be sure they will grow up with healthy eating habits and enjoy a much better life.
What are some of your favorite child friendly dinners? Feel free to share links to blog posts or pins!
Check out this post for some recipes that the kids can help you make, too!