by featured blogger Rachel Boller from Busy Mama Fitness
When your house is occupied by grown-ups, sticking with a healthy whole food lifestyle is probably easier. You are in control of the weekly menu, the shopping list and what is allowed in your pantry and what’s not. However, when children come into the mix, a lot of that feeling of control gets lost. Your whole grains have to move over on the shelf to make room for animal crackers and rabbit-shaped chocolate grahams. Suddenly, the regularly scheduled healthy snack becomes a debate over carrot sticks versus a handful of cookies. More often than not, willpower loses the battle. How do you maintain your waistline and happy children at the same time?
The hardest meals for balancing the healthy with the happy always seem to be the snacks. When it comes to snacking, we seem to all generally gravitate toward that which requires the least amount of effort. While we know that we would be serving our bodies better eating a small salad or some cut up fruit, we’d rather go for the foods that can give us instant gratification than go through the work of washing, peeling, and chopping. Unfortunately, that easy-to-grab handful of graham crackers can pack a lot of calories without a lot of nutrients and you mind always seems to remember that they are there, sitting in your pantry waiting for you! Of course, these crackers are demanded by your child and if your child is anything like mine, you’d rather he eats something versus nothing at all so you continue to keep them stocked in your pantry. With little picky eaters in the house, what is a parent to do?
Remember the game, ‘Monkey See, Monkey Do?’ If you have younger children, you have probably noticed that if you’re doing something interesting, they want to do it too. Likewise, if you’re eating something interesting, they’ll want to eat it too! This can be used to a healthy advantage and it all comes down to fitting in some prep work on day a week.
When you come home from the grocery store and you restock your fridge, cupboards and pantry, don’t let the work stop there! Take this time to wash all of your fruits and vegetables. If it requires peeling, peel it! If it requires chopping into smaller, snack-sized pieces, chop it! Taking a few minutes to prepare your fruits and veggies for the week make them more appealing for snacking because the work has already been done. Now all that’s left is modeling healthy behavior for your children. This means it’s time to do some healthy and fun-looking snacking in front of your kids!
Children love to dip and when it comes to fruits and veggies, there are tons of kid-friendly healthy options. Dipping strawberries or kiwi slices into yogurt is definitely a favorite. Carrot sticks can be dipped into hummus or spinach dip, (double whammy in the veggie department!) Radishes can be cut into thin slices and dipped into guacamole, just like chips. Apple slices and celery sticks are fun dipped in peanut butter. There are numerous options to try and you can enjoy some creativity in the kitchen while your children enjoy some healthy snacking that doesn’t sabotage your health goals.
Taking some time to prepare your fruits and vegetables once a week can make a difference in your health and your children’s as well. It can also free up some extra time for you to enjoy outside of the kitchen, and what parent couldn’t use more of that?
Rachel Boller is one of the fittest mamas we know! Her blog, Busy Mama Fitness, is all about showing moms by example that exercise is possible and worth all the extra effort it sometimes entails. Join Rachel on her personal journey to get fit and inspire other busy mamas out there by following her on Facebook and Twitter.