Snacks & school lunches - good vs bad
Should I go for healthy or unhealthy?
All parents want the best for their children. We all want them to become strong, smart and healthy individuals.
One area many parents struggle with are snacks and school lunches. What to pack that is both healthy and appealing to our little ones?
My 11-year old daughter tells me that most of the kids in her class get sandwiches with white bread, packaged snacks like cookies, Nutella, crackers, muesli bars and other processed food for their lunches every day.
My daughter on the other hand gets salads, whole wheat or seeded bread filled with lettuce and vegetables, fruit, cut veggies and occasionally a homemade muffin. A few weeks ago, one of her teachers asked her what that dip in her lunch box was - she referred to hummus. Apparently the teacher had never seen it before and asked if she could taste it. What are our hopes of raising healthy children, if our teachers aren't educated in that subject?
Eating healthy should be promoted in all schools - yet, if you look at the lunches your kids can buy at school, you are very likely to find things like pizza, hot dogs, burgers, chicken nuggets and other unhealthy foods on the daily menu.
Many parents won't let their kids buy lunches at school, thinking they are better off packing their own. But how many parents actually know what is healthy and what is not?
I can hear some of you thinking "my child just won't eat whole wheat bread, I have to pack white bread". Or "my child wouldn't eat salad or quinoa pasta, they want crackers and cookies".
But let me tell you - if there is no other choice, they will eat what you give them eventually. And after some time, they will stop their complaining and the whole wheat bread, salad and quinoa pasta will become the norm. That goes obviously for all other meals as well, not just snacks and school lunches.
We are the parents - it's up to us to ensure our children grow up healthy. It's not up to the children. If you leave it up to them, it'll probably be ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They are not old enough to make wise decisions on their own yet.
While they are kids, they will have to eat what we give them. Just don't buy any of the bad stuff - they can't eat what's not there!
Kids will always be drawn to snack foods in cute little shiny packages. Food manufacturers are marketing their products to children - all those individually packaged snack foods are made to attract their attention. And because they are so widely available and convenient - many parents cave in and buy them. The food manufacturers are clever - they now put healthy slogans on their products and parents think that because it says on the package that it is healthy or organic, it must be ok to eat. It's probably ok if you buy them occasionally as a treat - but if it's something the kids eat on a regular basis, that's when the problem starts. Not only are we teaching our children to eat the wrong kind of food, but we are setting them up for health problems in the future.
Lifestyle factors - what we eat, what we drink and how much we exercise - have a direct impact on our health and general wellbeing. If you want your kids to grow up with a better chance of avoiding cancer, diabetes and other diseases in the future - it is your responsibility to teach them how to eat healthy.
Here are some shifts you can make that will go a long way to ensure the health of your children:
Have fun experimenting with new foods! Get the kids involved and make it a fun afternoon baking together. When I bake bread or muffins or whatever - I always make more and freeze it. That way, when I need something for school lunches, I just get it out of the freezer.
If you want healthy recipes - check out my e-Cookbook. There are lots of recipes to choose from, without refined white flour, sugar and all the other nasties. You can buy my eCookbook for just $10 from my website www.bodymindforlife.com.