I get asked a lot….”So do your kids eat low carb with you?”
I can’t answer that question easily.
On the one hand, I am cooking low carb dinners, so instead of cooking two meals, the kids eat what I eat. On the other hand, I am cooking for three of the pickiest eaters this side of the Mississippi.
So the short answer is – yes, I’m trying to get my kids to eat healthy…err…healthier. I’m not going to lie and say that I’m always perfect and that I don’t cave for the blue box of cheesy goodness in a pinch. But I’m trying.
Here’s some tricks I’m learning….
(1) Baby Steps
Don’t expect your kids to turn around their sugary and other processed food ways right away. Baby steps my friends, baby steps. Swap out their sugary cereal breakfasts for a egg, cheese, and sausage wrap on a low carb tortilla few days a week. Fill your fridge with cheese sticks to encourage healthy snacking. Order thin crust pizza instead of thick bread-y doughs. Buy Halo low carb ice cream instead of sugary ice cream. I’m amazed when I add up all the small changes my kids have made to their diet what big changes are occurring. But it takes baby steps. Don’t expect too much too fast.
(2) Stick in their Wheelhouse
No matter what you do, you will probably not get your veggie hating child to love to sit down and eat a big plate of broccoli, so work with what you’ve got. For example, I know my kids love Taco nights. So I swap out carbie shells for low carb tortillas or cheese tortillas, mix turkey meat with regular meat and presto…they are eating healthy. When I make veggies for my kids, I make sure to use cheese and butter as I know these are flavors that they find satisfying on veggies. Stick with what they know and they are more inclined to see the light.
(3) Do not be above hiding veggies
Okay, I’m not proud of this but there are times when I have to hide healthy stuff in my kids food. I know my son will never eat Cauliflower, but “Mashed Fotatoes” he most certainly will eat, even though they are not made with potatoes, but rather his dreaded cauliflower. Mix a little bit of squash into cheese when you make grilled cheese. They’ll never know it is there. Hidden recipes are not the ideal solution, as I want my kids to know and love the foods that are good to them. But when in doubt, pulse up some veggies and hide them in their food.
(4) Practice what you Preach
The key to getting your kids to eat healthy is to eat healthy yourself. I have never had luck getting my kids to consistently make better choices until I changed things in my own diet. Now they model my behaviors. In fact, my kids now check out labels to see how much sugar and carbs are in things when they shop. You are their number one role model – don’t forget that.
(5) Don’t Give up
Consistency is 9-10 of the battle. Keep pushing good options. It’s so hard, especially on the nights where you are sure they will like a new healthy recipe and they end up hating it. But don’t give up. I’ve realized the longer I’ve been at this – I’m breaking them down a little. They are more open to trying new things, more open to making good choices. But its a long journey.
(6) Give them more reward days.
Remember in the battle to get kids to eat healthy – they deserves rewards, so don’t beat yourself up if they indulge every now and again. The key is to not make them feel like they are deprived and show them that they can eat what they want – they just have to learn moderation. So yes, give them their shake (with a huge piece of cake on it) and let them eat it too!
How do you get your kids to eat healthy? What are you best tricks of the trade?