Healthy Eating Week UK (12 to 16 June) is designed to promote healthy eating, drinking, being active, food provenance and cooking.
I was thrilled when Sarah Creighton, founder of Veggie-Kids.com took time out from her busy life to write an inspiring and practical blog post this month.
As well as being founder of Veggie-Kids.com Sarah is a teacher, author and mom of three boys. But more than anything else, she is obsessed with helping families eat healthier one vegetable at a time…read on for her wisdom!
Healthy eating can mean a lot of things and the key is to make it work for your family. It shouldn’t be taken so seriously either-have fun with it! Here are 6 ways you can incorporate healthy eating into your lifestyle.
The number one way to guarantee your kids will eat fresh, whole foods like fruits and vegetables is to eat them yourself. I know, this sounds obvious. But, think about it. Kids model and watch our every move. Do you tell them to eat that piece of broccoli while you’re munching away on crisps? It’s one thing to tell your kids to eat a certain way, it’s
another to do it yourself. My boys, ages 13, 11 and 8, love healthy foods and green veggies, but it’s because that’s all they’ve known. And because I love healthy foods, they do too. If this isn’t you, don’t worry! It’s never too late to start.
You can start healthy habits in your own family right now, by creating a meal plan or grocery list around healthy, whole foods. If you’re the one who typically cooks in your house, ask your family what kind of meals they’d like. This brings me to my next point.
Get your whole family involved! In our house, we sometimes get stuck in a recipe rut.
What I mean by that is, we tend to rotate the same few recipes every week. Boring! Ask your kids what kinds of meals they’d like to have or what things they would love packed in their lunchboxes. Give them two to three healthy options and let them choose. This gives kids ownership. The cool thing is, children who are more involved in the food preparation process are more likely to try that food.
Allow your kids to help your grocery shop and tick things off the list for you. Let them try a new produce item from the farmer’s market or super market. My kids and I love doing this. About once a week or so we pick a new fruit or vegetable, the weirder the better! Then we search online to learn how to prepare it. It’s so much fun and really expands our taste buds.
The last bits of advice I have for creating a healthier lifestyle in your home is to treat your kitchen space the way it deserves to be treated. Clean out those cupboards, the pantry and the refrigerator. Purge any outdated food items, as well as those foods that just don’t serve you and your family well. If the ingredient list is extensive or there are things on there you can’t even pronounce, toss it. If it’s a highly processed, pre-packaged food item, donate it or get rid of it. Next time you shop at the supermarket, purchase clean, whole foods.
Organise your food items by like things. Place all canned goods together, straighten up your baking supplies and put them in pretty jars with tight fitting lids for freshness. Have duplicate pots, spoons or can openers? Donate the extras and only keep what you need. Filling your kitchen with wholesome, nutritious foods and keeping it tidy will truly change your perspective on cooking and eating, as well as make you feel great when you walk into it.
Remember that healthy eating can be fun and involve the whole family. You can start today by trying one or some of the things mentioned in this blog post! Eat something fresh in front of your kids. Allow them to help your meal plan and grocery shop. Try a new produce item. Clean and organise your kitchen. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how fun, and effective, it can be in changing your habits and lifestyle.
Sarah Creighton has published two children's books: "The Boy Who Loved Broccoli" and "Clover's Great Escape", as well as a cookbook titled "Weeknight Vegan". She offers health coaching for families and hosts an online course called Eat Clean. Sarah has a new cookbook coming out in May 2017 called "The Beginner's Guide To Going Meatless".
Here are the links:
The Boy Who Loved Broccoli: http://veggie-kids.com/books/
Clover's Great Escape: http://veggie-kids.com/clover/
Weeknight Vegan: http://veggie-kids.com/weeknight-vegan/
Health Coaching: http://veggie-kids.com/health-coach/
Eat Clean online course: http://veggie-kids.com/eat-clean-course/