Dr. McCord invited us into her kitchen to share some healthy eating tips she uses with her family that includes Kate, age 6; Reed, age 3; and her husband Blake.
Start children early on a good variety of nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, and fish. If you start children on healthy foods when they are toddlers, they will crave these foods instead of chicken nuggets and junk food.
I make one meal for my family and don’t prepare a separate meal for the children. I encourage everyone to eat the same thing and don’t give them another option.
We only have milk or water at our house. I limit juice and soda sparingly. Soda adds tons of sugar to a child’s diet.
If I want my children to eat healthy, I have to lead by example. I‘ve given up diet coke and don’t bring junk food into the house on a regular basis. If candy or chips are in the house, I will eat them! I don’t expect my children to have more self-control than me.
When my children were toddlers, I would puree vegetables like squash, pumpkin and beets and add them to their favorite foods! Some good foods to hide veggies are spaghetti sauce, yogurt, mac and cheese, and pancakes. There are a lot of recipes in Jessica Sienfield’s book “Deceptively Delicious”
Fresh food can be expensive. I like to buy in bulk and either freeze it or put food in smaller containers. Fresh fruits and vegetables are best, but frozen is good too and lasts longer.
How did I get my kids to eat fish? I started with fish sticks, then breaded tilapia, now they eat broiled fish fillets, crab legs, and all kinds of fish. (Tip: Store bought bread crumbs have all kinds of added ingredients. Keep the heels of your bread in the freezer and make your own bread crumbs by pulsing in the food processor for a few seconds).
Like most busy families, I need my food to be convenient. On Sunday, my down day, I chop all of our vegetables for the week and put them in separate containers. I buy large containers of plain yogurt and hummus and split them into individual serving containers with fruit or veggies. I also boil eggs and sometimes grill a chicken to add to our salads. I keep cheese sticks and ham rolls in individual containers for the children.