Have you ever noticed that feeling of fatigue that begins to set in around 3 p.m. every afternoon? What about that foggy, sluggish feeling after a pre-packaged, high sugar, high carbohydrate meal or snack? What about that adrenaline rush after having a caffeinated beverage or soda, only to become tired and irritable hours later? These are all signs of unhealthy food and beverage consumption.
If we as adults are having these types of issues after consuming convenience foods and beverages of little or no nutritional content, then how will our children sustain the energy at school that is needed to read, write, study, play, and learn all throughout their busy day? After all, our children consume the same nutrition-less foods that we do.
After years of abusing our bodies with foods and beverages that are toxic and nutrient deficient, we create damage to our internal organs. Cancers, diabetes, and obesity are among the top diseases just waiting to ravish our bodies. Disease and illnesses are preventable by nourishing our bodies with healthier food choices such as organic vegetables and fruits, and eating foods that are “whole” instead of manufactured.
Unfortunately, we have become dependent on these types of convenience foods as a society in which to feed to our children. Pre-packaged foods are quick, easy, and take very little time to prepare or cook, thus making the lives of busy Moms and Dads everywhere much easier. Pre-packaged foods are also visually marketed and designed to manipulate our children into wanting them.
These types of overly-processed convenience foods are high in fat, sodium, sugar, fillers, additives, preservatives, and provide no nourishment for our bodies and those of our precious children. Our busy lifestyles leave us with little time throughout the week to create healthy meals, snacks, and school lunches for our children. This has directly attributed to a very unhealthy nation.
We are seeing childhood obesity and disease at devastatingly early ages. Americans are dying from disease caused by poor nutrition at alarming rates. We lack the knowledge to create healthier meals and snacks for our children, and we sometimes feel like it is much too time consuming to put forth the effort to learn. Sometimes, we don’t even know where to turn for help or education regarding healthy foods and meal preparations.
Do not be discouraged, my fellow parents out there! I have some healthy, fun, and time-saving tips that your whole family will love! You will also be spending quality time with your children in the process of following my simple and fun suggestions. While visiting the grocery store, remember this: If it has a shelf life, it will shorten yours!
One of the steps you can implement today is to get your children involved in recipe picking, meal planning, creating shopping lists, grocery shopping, food prep, and meal cooking for the following week. Allow them to contribute ideas to your weekly meal planning, and explain to them that fast food and convenience foods will no longer be a daily option. They will struggle with this at first. But they will come to love and appreciate the time you spend with them creating healthy meals.
Once you include your children in creating and cooking healthy meals, try allowing them to create their own healthy snacks! Make a game out of it every week, and they will want to become involved in healthy meal planning. Refer to healthy foods as “happy foods.” Your children will be more willing to try new and healthier options. Apples with nut butters, Greek yogurt with berries, or a banana rolled up in a whole wheat tortilla that has been spread with 2 tablespoons of natural nut butter are great tasting healthy snacks that kids can make for themselves!
Be sure to follow me weekly here at "Cooking for Kids" for fun and simple ways to get your family eating healthier and having fun while doing it! If you have any fun suggestions, please visit our Forum here at BellaOnline and click on "Cooking for Kids" forum. Leave your comments and suggestions there, and I will be sure to respond to as many as I can. Have fun with your kids, and happy healthy eating!