Monday, January 4, 2010
Once in a while I will take pictures of our kids food creations. I made this one but I will also let them make their own. This pictured meal has basically the rule of 5 explained below.
I'm soon to have 4 kids under the age of 5! What an adventure it will be. I do feed my kids what I eat but I find they need more creativity at times!
The Rule of 5 for Kids
I follow the rule of 5 (taught to me by a neighbor):
1 grain, 1 veggie, 1 fruit, 1 protein and water (I prefer milk for my kids). For the 3 regular meals and a healthy carb and protein for the snack meals. I keep portions small to fit everything in. This has it's advantages too. Instead of a large serving of veggies that they don't want to even start they will have one or two broccoli flowers that they realize they can at least try and finish.
Making Healthy Foods More Attractive
I also throw in a creative flare and make faces with the items that I have for them. Sounds time consuming? Not really. I have found that it takes as much time to make a face with it as it does to just put it on the plate normally. If they need encouragement to eat a food I will lower my voice and say "No please don't eat my carrot nose!". They will usually proceed to giggle and eat it while I say "Oh no! my nose! Did you just eat my nose?" I know it sounds a little gruesome but it works! And it still works after a few years of doing it. I'm not sure how this will hold over with older kids (since mine are still so little) but once in a while I do it for my husband (just the face part not the voice) and when he thinks I am not looking, I catch a smile.
The picture above has whole wheat bread (grain), sliced apple eyes(fruit), raisins for the mouth (fruit), carrot nose (veggie), and cheese hair (protein). And although it is not pictured I do try to incorporate green veggies as much as possible. You will notice it doesn't have to be a traditional sandwich, all the elements are there.
I stay away from healthy extremes such as no microwaves, no sugars, no lactose, all organic etc. Those things are too difficult for me at this time. I also don't worry as much about which veggies and fruits are best. Although mangos, carrots and peas have more sugars I don't worry about that for my kids. Just for me. I am concerned more about maintenance and long term eating habits. We have hot dogs once in great while and you can even find some happy meal toys in our toy collection. But as a rule we try to eat healthy meals the majority of the time and save those goodies for the exception not the norm. Once a month is plenty for fast food.
Use After School Snacks as an Opportunity- I also feed them right when they walk in the door from school and use this famished moment as an opportunity to eat healthy food. They are willing to eat about anything that I have ready for them when they walk in. At that point and it might as well be something good.
Although I try to stay away from dips for myself, like ranch dressing, I use a light dressing with my kids. I want them to try the veggies raw first but then if that doesn't work dips are great. And great for variety. If you family isn't on a fast food diet nor high fat diet, a little fat is good and essential, it makes skin soft, aids brain development, helps with hormone distribution and vitamin absorption.
Happy Family Eating!