I love teaching my kids about eating healthy. It’s a skill that I wish I could master for myself and when I’m talking to them about healthy food choices, the mommy guilt kicks in (in a good way) and reminds me that I should be taking my own advice. One of my big things is that we need to eat from all the different food groups in a balanced way. We may not follow the ‘my plate’ guidelines exactly, but I do make all the food groups available to my kids each day.
I have always had the same approach to food for my kids that has, thankfully, helped them develop a desire for healthy foods. When they were toddlers going through their food exploration stages, I would make sure to provide at least one meal a day with foods that I absolutely knew that they would eat. I didn’t allow a lot of junk food, so they didn’t have those cravings. For the other meals, I offered things that were healthy, but more of a stretch for their growing palates.
We have continued this for the last 11 years and I can say with pleasure that my kids will seek out fruit for a snack before they will seek out cookies and other junk food items. (In part because they know it’s not in the house and we would have to make it from scratch in order to have it.)
As the kids have gotten older, I’ve put more of the food choice responsibility into their hands. I provide them with a good variety of breakfast choices, by buying the food. Now the older three kids, ages 11, 9 and 6 are responsible for preparing their own breakfast of choice. One consistently chooses oatmeal, one will choose granola over chocolate balls, and one likes a variety (she tends to have a sweet tooth, so I try to guide her choices…crazy pre-teen hormones!) When the cereal runs out for the week they like yogurt and fruit for breakfast.
I’ve also started letting them make their own lunches with the same principles. I provide the healthy options and they put it together in the form that they want.!
One of the things that we love are cucumber sandwiches. Perfect for a hot summer day’s BBQ or just because you want one, these are simple to put together and a great way to get some veggies in.
All you need is:
A piece of bread (or two if you want a top on your sandwich)
Sliced up cucumbers
Tomato (optional, but oh so yummy!)
Put a little bit of mayo on your bread (moderation is key and I absolutely love olive oil mayonnaise. Layer the sliced cucumbers on the bread and tomatoes if desired. Sprinkle with a bit of salt.
I may have fallen in love with these easy sandwiches when we first moved to the Republic of Georgia and I couldn’t speak enough Georgian to ask for any other foods at the village market…
In keeping with this lovely food theme (I’m getting hungry. How about you?!?!) I have a FREE pack of 2 Food Group Card games for you.
One game is an”Old Maid” style game of matching foods from the different food groups. The person left with the last junk food picture is the loser.
The other game is one of my super fun Slap-It games. I’ve got the directions all spelled out for you in the game, but because it’s something that it easier shown than described, I’ve got a little video of my lovely girls playing the game.
These games are something that kids of all ages can play because they don’t require reading (the Slap-It! game includes a bit of reading as an option, but it’s not required for the game to work.)