We all need quick, easy food because most moms are now Uber drivers for their kids. We all know that the food we succumb to is not the healthiest but let's face it, it is hard to find healthy food choices between soccer, football, band or whatever else is your child’s life.
So how do you eat healthy while eating out? Is it possible?
Yes! It is possible and it is small changes that can be more impactful in these decisions.
Step one: Start thinking before you’re in the crunch what your options are for healthy choices.
Step two: Think about their kid's meals, do they OFFER veggies and fruits? I am not talking about CANNED or SWEETENED fruit. I am talking about fruit you would buy at the store. Do they offer any veggies except French fries? When I make these choices with my kids, and they are new, I do negotiate with the kids because what is easy and makes them happy becomes sustainable, and after a while it becomes routine. (Of course if I tell them they get ice cream if they eat all their fruit and they don’t choose to eat their fruit for whatever reason I have to hold to my rule and not give in. If I gave in and gave the ice cream, I would be teaching them that they didn’t have to listen to what their mom said… This would work out bad for me!)
Step three: Try it! Go to your restaurant find a fun veggie and fruit and make it easy to make just one healthy choice every time you eat out!!
Why is this important?
I am trying to teach my kids a pattern of choosing healthy and being rewarded because early habits stick. The more they know how to make these choices because we spoke about it the more likely that they will make them when they get older!
By teaching the children to evaluate their plate, they will eventually evaluate yours. So be READY!!! LOL For me, this means I if I chose to get a fried chicken sandwich, French fries and cheat with a Dr Pepper; my youngest son will notify me about my choices, and he will remind me that he hopes I make healthier choices for myself. Haha! Sometimes as hard as it is to hear, I need to express gratitude towards him because he is learning those healthy habits and in turn keeping me accountable!
It is also good to bear in mind to be honest…. If you are eating French fries and tell them that it is ok for adults but not kids then they will not be taught the right “food modeling, ” and then your hard work can go down the drain! So if you are eating unhealthy because you cannot make the switch yet then, have no fear!!! Be transparent with your children and tell them (if they ask) that you know it is not healthy and you will try to do better next time. By doing this, you are showing your child by example how to overcome struggles and that it is ok to try it again and that we as parents are not perfect all the time.
My healthy choices have improved just by inspiring my children to eat healthier! Before kids, I ate peanut M&M’s and Dr. Pepper on a routine basis. If I can add veggies then so can you!!!
If you are struggling, then remember it is ok just don't give up!! This is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a lifestyle change we are seeking and one that makes you HAPPY! So just keep talking about your 3 veggies and 2 fruits every day if you are not yet ready to take the plunge to try the veggies!
Love life, from the sometimes fast food eating, but veggie loving Pediatrician.