No Excuse Ideas for Healthier Eating

healthy-eating

If you’ve ever checked out my Facebook page or watched one of my live videos, you know I’m passionate about healthy food choices. Eating healthy doesn’t mean never indulging in junk food―I mean, I love a good slice of pizza or brownie now and again―but there are recipe swaps that can make your favorite junk food just a little bit healthier (Have you ever used avocado in brownies in place of butter or shortening? It’s amazing!). 

If you’re new to Mental Edits, be sure to go back and see past topics I’ve covered. For instance, did you know that vegetable oil turns toxic when heated past a certain temperature? Switching vegetable oil out with olive, canola, or coconut oil is a simple yet healthier way to fry food. 

For more info on healthy habits you should incorporate into your diet and ingredients to steer clear of, read my past post, Don’t Diet!

Excuse #1: It takes too much time…

I’m the first one to admit that making healthy choices is a challenge when we’re busy, have picky kids, or are just plain exhausted. It feels easier to just make a Mcdonald’s run (and it’s totally okay to do from time to time!) but eating nutritious food is essential to a healthy lifestyle for us and our kiddos.   According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), parents have a lifelong influence on their children’s eating behavior. When our kids see us cooking and eating healthy foods, they tend to: 
    • Like a wider variety of nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables
    • Learn lifelong healthy eating habits
    • Have fewer behavioral and/or mental issues (ADHD, anxiety, depression)
    • Maintain a healthier body weight throughout their life
    • Have more positive body images 
Teaching our kids to have a confident relationship with health food is easier than it sounds, I promise! Here are a few ideas to make it less time consuming, so you have time to focus on the other important things.  

Invest in a kid-friendly cookbook

You’re probably thinking, “I do not need another cookbook to collect dust in my kitchen.” Probably not, but who says it needs to be a physical book? How often do you use the cookbooks on your shelf now? My guess is rarely and never on busy weeknights!  There’s a ton of great cookbooks out there but a lot are full of recipes that 1) have too many steps, 2) have a lot of ingredients that you won’t use all of before they expire, and 3) your kids refuse to eat for one reason or another.  Finding a go-to cookbook to use as a one-stop-shop for kid-friendly recipes can be a Godsend to quickly making healthy meals.  I’m excited to announce that I have an eCookbook available for sale! This is the first in a series of eCookbooks and strictly focuses on kid-friendly meals that your whole family will love. It includes:
    • 7 recipes that will cover 2-weeks worth of meals
    • Recipes that make enough for leftovers the next day (gotta love the recipes that take care of multiple meals!)
    • A clickable ingredients list to make your grocery list lickety-split…and reduce the number of trips you have to make to the grocery store during this coronavirus situation
    • A bonus kid-approved snack and dessert recipe―they will love to make them with you!
The best part of my eCookbook? It won’t take up an inch of space! It is easily stored in your Google docs, and accessible from your phone when you’re grocery shopping or cooking in your kitchen.    healthy food planning

Dedicate time in your schedule for meal planning

“What’s for dinner, mom?”  That dreaded question that makes us hang our heads and sigh, “ugh…I don’t know?!” While inside we’re swearing and wondering why it always has to be us to decide.  Trying to figure out what you’re making for dinner on the fly can be stressful. It usually results in unhealthy choices just to get something in front of your kids before bed (cue McDonalds).  Taking some time each week to plan the next week or two’s meals and grocery list will reduce the stress of the “what’s for dinner” question, will take something off your plate the rest of the week, and will add a little order to the chaos.  Click here for my FREE meal planner guide and planner! 
 

Excuse #2: My kids will starve 

I can totally empathize with this one. You can almost envision your beloved toddler withering away when they refuse to eat the healthy dinner you put in front of them. Rather than wrangle up a box of mac n’ cheese for the third night this week, try embracing the moment and do the following: 

Let them help

There’s no better time to teach your little ones to slice, dice, and chop like quarantine time! I love this little wooden children’s knife from Etsy. It’s the perfect thing to teach toddlers to chop up veggies without worrying about cutting their fingers off. As for me, I have the OLDEST set of paring knives from Ryan’s grandma that I hold near and dear (who says free items you score from the elevator won’t turn into family heirlooms?). I’m also a big fan of this Pampered Chef knife for a more modern upgrade.   

Talk openly about the benefits of healthy food on your body

let them help While you’re cooking with your little chef, talk to them about why whole foods like fruits, veggies, lean protein, and complex carbs are good for our bodies. They don’t need a detailed biology lesson unless that’s what your little one is into. But throw some conversational education at them while you’re teaching them to cook. If they get a basic understanding of how healthy foods help our bodies function at their best early on, they’ll learn to choose healthy over junk food on their own.  No one knows your child better than you—make the healthy food talk relatable to something they’re into! If your son loves trucks, compare our bodies to the engine of his favorite toy truck. You get the gist. Balance is important here as well. Kids love treats and it’s up to us to teach them that a treat every once in a while is okay! There’s no need to feel guilty about a big piece of birthday cake as long as 80% of what they eat is pretty healthy.  Side note: Please, please, please…do not teach your kids about the Clean Plate Club. This teaches our children to overeat rather than listen to their bodies when they’re full. Yes, there are starving children in the world, and being wasteful is never okay. Teach them to take a little to start and they can have a little more if they’re still hungry.   

Give them power

Little kids love to feel like they’re making important decisions like choosing meals the family will eat for the week. Give them a cookbook (I know a GREAT eCookbook coming out next week) and let them select a few of the meals for the week.  During this special time when we are in the dual-parent/teacher role, help your kids choose meals that would double as math, science, or home ec lesson. Two birds…one stone. Boom.  Remember, making healthy food choices doesn’t have to be super stressful or time-consuming. Sometimes I think making excuses takes more time and effort!  Hopefully, you find my eCookbook and meal planner helpful. Please let me know if you tried it and how it worked for you…if it was helpful, it would be an honor if you’d share it with your friends!
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