Put an end to Food Fights with your kids + Giveaway

The ways that children differ in the way they eat these days is insane. I often go to school and have lunch with my sons and it’s very hard not to notice what other kids are pulling out of their lunch boxes. I’ve seen everything from carrots to candy bars. To each their own but there is no way I would send my sons to school with a candy bar in his lunch box. On occasion I will sneak a little something in there as a surprise. Maybe a “Kiss” or something as a treat. My son’s are not extremely picky eaters as a whole, but, they just are not big on vegetables. It’s not for my lack of trying.

As a kid I remember my parents forcing us to eat our vegetables. I think the purpose of that in the long run failed because today, I still don’t like most vegetables or seafood. I decided long before I even had kids that I wasn’t going to force them to eat things they didn’t like. However, I would make them try everything, and I do. You can’t force someone to like something no matter how many times you make them eat it.

Once a week I let the boys pick anywhere they want to go for dinner. They have a few favorite places which include a pizza buffet and a Chinese buffet. Now do I think a pizza buffet is good for them 7 days a week? Of course not but a few times a month is okay. I don’t let them eat until they are sick. They know how much they are allowed to have and even when they hit the dessert end, they know they are each only allowed to have one item. I also take weeks where we will go over what will be cooked for the week. I have found that giving them some input rather than telling them this is it, eat it or like it, has gone a long way.

The best example I have of the fact that my boys can make good choices without me is, we were at a well know Italian restaurant in our area, (that may or may nor have something to do with olives) and the boys both ordered broccoli as their side. Now of course they didn’t lie it after 2 bites but I was proud of them for choosing on their owns to try it.

I think one of the downfalls with children these days not WHAT they are eating but the amount they are permitted to eat. Ironically, my 4 year old just told me about 5 minutes ago how he had 3 granola bars as a snack while he was away from home. Most people would agree that is ridiculous for any 4 year old. I don’t permit the kids to eat chips, I almost never even buy them unless it’s for a gathering of some sort. I do bake a lot but the boys are only allowed to eat it once a day. If they eat something else somewhere else, that’s it, they had their “junk” for the day. Speaking of snacking. This is a excerpt from the book Food Fights that I recommend every parent should read. I am about half way through it.

One of the biggest problems with snacks is, quite simply, that they typically consist of high-calorie, unhealthy foods rather than nutrient-dense, healthy foods. With fresh fruit all too frequently replaced by juice and other sugary drinks, more candy, less milk, and the prize for the largest increase in snack foods over the past 30 years going to chips and crackers, what’s clearly not lacking in snacking is salt, sugar, and fat.

So now that you know what not to serve for snacks, we wanted to make sure to impress on you the fact that snacking can and still should play an important role in your child’s daily diet. Simply put, the right approach to snacking can help keep kids from getting hungry and cranky while also giving them added energy and (if you plan it right) added nutrients. By following simple, smart snacking advice like the tips below, you can ultimately help your child grow better, think better, and stay active throughout the day and throughout childhood.

While reading this book, it was nice to see that I was already doing many of the things that they suggested. For me, it is sometimes difficult since the boy spend their time between two homes. I don’t have a very good relationship with my ex-husband so it is difficult at times to be sure who is eating what at who’s house. Children are of course not going to turn down any yummy treats they get to eat no matter where it is.

Snacks should not be the exception to the rule that food, in general, should have nutritional value. Make sure you commit to applying the same noble goals in choosing your snacks as you (hopefully) do for your child’s meals. Keep finger foods on hand. Finding foods that are quick and easy to grab and serve is actually quite easy. Simply cutting up some fresh fruits or veggies is a good place to start.  I try to keep whole grain crackers, pretzels, or ready-to-eat  cereals on hand. Once a month each of the boys are permitted to pick a box of any cereal they want. Don’t be fooled by packaging. Labels on snack foods for kids, along with sugary children’s cereals, seem to be the most commonly misleading when it comes to nutrition. Don’t let creative labeling such as “fruit snacks” or “low-fat” lead you to believe that sugary treats are necessarily healthy.

Figure out some “free foods” that your child can eat at any time. It’s entirely appropriate to agree on some healthy “free foods” (such as fruits, vegetables, yogurt, or hard-boiled eggs) that your child can sit down and eat whenever he’s hungry. Remembering that your ultimate goal is to help your child learn to eat when he’s hungry and  refrain when he’s not, your role is to simply make very sure that the criteria you use for creating this list is based squarely on the food’s nutritional value. I usually have melons, (cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew) cut up and on hand for the boys to pick at anytime they want because they love it so much. I also keep yogurt and unsalted pretzels on hand.

Keep junk food out of sight and out of mind. This means not only limiting the amount of junk food you buy and allow into your pantry, but also the amount of television your child is allowed to watch. With literally thousands of television ads designed specifically to make your child’s mouth water over unhealthy snacks and cereals, turning off the television—not just when you’re eating but keeping it turned off throughout the day—can go a long way toward preventing unhealthy eating habits. I find more of these commercials appear on the local stations than they do on the ones we watch. All “treat snacks” are kept up high in a completely separate cabinet where the boys would need to grab a chair to get them. This works well for us because if they go to the pantry for something, they wont see the “treats” Sometimes we all even forget they are there.

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Disclosure: MAK Media, LLC was compensated in some form (product, monetarily etc) for this post. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own. This post is not endorsed, sponsored or has any connection to Twitter, Facebook or any other Social Media network that may be mentioned. This post is the sole property of MAK Media, LLC. All opinions are mine whether positive or negative. You can read more about our Policy Disclosure here.

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