Welcome to part 2 of “How to Raise Healthy Kids, Healthy Eaters.”
In this post, I’ll explore ways to make meal time preparation fun and inclusive for the whole family. I’ll also discuss the importance of getting movement in throughout the day as well as getting quality sleep at night.
One area that can make a big difference in how healthfully you and your child eat during the week has to do with making a weekly grocery list.
I really enjoy using a paid website service called “Plan to Eat*.”
This website houses my favorite recipes that I import myself. It makes my weekly grocery list based on what I choose to cook that week. It takes a little time to set it up in the beginning but you can add recipes to it whenever you like.
I’ve got over 120 recipes in my account now and I add a few more each week when I find something that looks good online or from a cookbook. You can try it out for free for a month!
On the other hand, if you’re up for a more low-tech way of making your grocery list, then check out my blog post here. It includes tips on meal planning as well as a handy template for planning your week of meals. There’s also room for your grocery list based on your weekly plan.
However you do it, plan your meals for the week! It will take the guesswork out of what’s for dinner and it will save you money at the same time. Get input from your kids, too. They’ll enjoy knowing that one of their faves is on the menu that week.
Healthy Foods to Buy When On a Budget
Some inexpensive foods that really pack a nutritional punch include:
- Sweet potatoes
- Canned tuna
- Frozen veggies
- Nuts and nutbutters
Do You Have a Green Thumb?
If you can, grow your own vegetables in a small garden. Kids love playing in the dirt and what better way to show them where our food comes from than by growing some of your own? There are plenty of YouTube videos on how to start a garden in a small space. You can even grow vegetables in pots on your patio if you don’t have access to a backyard.
Additional Tips for Healthy Eating
- Cook more at home – you have more control over what goes in your food (less salt and sugar, more vegetables and nutrients)
- Go through your pantry and fridge, assess what need to get rid of (junk food) and what you need to get more of (healthy stuff!)
After you’ve planned your meals and gone shopping, it’s time to cook!
As I mentioned, it’s a good idea to allow your kids to pick recipes that appeal to them when you’re planning your weekly menu. Depending on how old they are, they can help in the kitchen, too.
First, you’ll want to let them know the rules of the kitchen. Sharp knives are for adults, as well as using the stove and oven. There’s still plenty to do, though, that is kid-appropriate.
Explain that they need to expect mistakes when cooking. Don’t make a big deal if they make a mess. That’s how they learn!
Go ahead and decide on some appropriate tasks for their age like washing and drying the lettuce, setting the table, stirring the batter, measuring out the flour, and peeling the carrots.
Some easy, kid-friendly entrees include:
- Veggie stirfry with soy sauce
- Pork in the slow cooker and sautéed veggies
- Cheesy quesadillas using precooked chicken
- Wraps with peanut butter, shredded carrots, bananas, or raisins
- Scrambled eggs and toast
- An egg sandwich on whole grain English muffin with sliced cheese, tomato and some spinach
When it comes to getting in movement during the day, we as adults have to be a good role model for our kids. If they see you sitting for hours on end, then they’re going to feel less motivated to get moving themselves.
Plan time in the day for 30-60 minutes of movement. Some ideas include:
- Offer to shoot hoops with them
- Arrange organized activities such as soccer, ballet, or tennis
- Head to the park
- Plan some active indoor games such as charades or WiiFit
- Housework (it’s never ending, right?!)
- Dance DVDs
Set some rules around screen-time, too. Studies show that it’s best to limit nonactive screen time to less than 2 hours per day.
How much sleep are your kids getting at night? It’s vital that they get anywhere from 9 to 12 hours every night. Their growing bodies need time to rest and rejuvenate just like the grown-ups!
Here are some ways to promote good sleep habits:
- Set a regular bed time
- Start a relaxing, before-bedtime routine – ex. lavender bath, reading, dim lights
- Be a good role model and go to bed at a decent hour, too
- Less tv and more movement will tire them out so they sleep well at night
What about you?!
What are your kids’ favorite recipes?
Do you spend time with your kids getting movement in daily?
What new bedtime routine can you implement to ensure everyone is well-rested for the next day?
I’d love to hear from you! Thanks for stopping by.
-Caitlin Russell MS, RDN, CLT
*This page contains affiliate links where I receive a very small commission if you purchase items that I recommend.