You have all of the best intentions, the ingredients on the counter, the juicer, the blender and your new shiny popsicle moulds from Tupperware. Why is my kid throwing a fit on the floor suggesting she wants the ice lollies from the store. They haven’t even tried my bright coloured tasty ice pops. So effortlessly, kids just seem to look in disgust when they have been offered the healthy homemade brand! Instead of tossing my delicious pineapple lemon balm herb popsicles down the sink I decided the best thing to do is stay firm to my belief. I feel strongly about limiting additives in foods such as artificial flavours or preservatives. I encourage setting a few ground rules to kick off a healthy summer before the kids get out of school and stay on track with your new mission by addressing on a weekly basis. There are plenty of treats to go around between backyard parties, to the notorious after game snack such as freezies and cool aid packs, that we simply do not need to add to the mix at home. Here are a few tips on how we managed to get our family to enjoy treats prepared from home and have them healthy enough to eat for any meal of the day! Popsicles for breakfast is not a problem if the ingredients are pure!
5 Tips to Making Healthy Eating Habits in Your Home this Summer!
Encourage children to interact with the food preparation process, as they love to be involved and know that their opinion is valued. This is the key to enriching their lives with healthy eating habits. Research shows it is effective in creating positive healthy habits.
Provide choice! Kids feel liberated when given options so providing the scenario of selecting from various recipes for homemade cool treats will sound more enticing to them. At home having no junk alternatives to your own healthy recipes is ok if a wide range of healthy recipes are available. Don’t forget junk food finds us everywhere so there won’t be a shortage this summer either!
Repeat your healthy mottos as habits require you to revisit your goals to make changes! If it doesn’t seem appealing in the first conversation give it some time and you can revisit the discussion in 1 week. Have a family chat about your healthy ambitions for the summer especially so the shopper in the family is on board with your goals.
Create a menu and select a different leader each week! Kids love to be in charge! I recommend making a menu chart and each time you need to replenish your batch you rotate who gets to choose the recipe insuring everyone’s ideas are viewed and valued. Better yet when everyone is comfortable with the new process you are excited to work together on the menu board!!!
Repeat similar flavours as it can take 12-15 times of introducing a new food to adopt it into your “go to” food items. Sometimes a child may need to overcome a texture or visual appeal of a food before it even looks pleasurable to them.
Stay consistent with your guidelines for healthy choices in and outside of the home helps to create balance for you and your family. When your motivation for creating healthier habits are frowned upon it can also be frustrating. Furthermore when the influences for junk food seems to be dominating, filter back to your own motto. Children like structure and will pick up your new habits faster than you think when their food models are encouraging healthy choices at home!!
Written by: Lorna DePetrillo, Registered Dietitian