Excuses. Everyone has them. Hanging those excuses out to dry is one of the first steps you need to take toward getting healthy. One of the biggest excuses I hear from parents who are trying to eat healthier is that they don’t want to make two separate meals. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to. I used to have the same excuses. “My kids are too picky,” “they won’t eat that,” “it will be too much work, I am already busy enough.” Stop it. Let those excuses fly out the window because I have a solution for you, and it doesn’t require opening one of those canned pasta meals, or pulling a dinner out of the freezer. About those meals, if you are wanting to eat better why would you want to feed that junk to your kids? You don’t! But right now you think that is the easiest thing to do. I can tell you it is not the cheapest or easiest solution. Are you listening to me now? Good. Because what I am about to tell you will save you the headache at lunch time, and will allow both you and your children to start eating healthier.
So how do I do it? Do I have a live in chef? No, don’t get me wrong though I wouldn’t turn one down. I wouldn’t turn down a maid either. But that is a whole different subject. Back on topic. How do I eat a healthy lunch without spending hours in the kitchen? It is all in the visual. Children eat with their eyes, it is usually why most children say they don’t like vegetables. Most vegetables look funny, and they are green. Kids see that and they have already made up their mind. But, if you make the appearance of food fun they are more likely to try something new. They may even try something they have previously said “yuck” to. My kids eat 90% of the same things I eat but I plate them in an entirely different way.
Do you need a visual to see what I mean? No problem. I have included some photos of today’s lunch, and the best part, it took me less than 15 minutes to plate and serve. So what was on the menu today? For myself I had a chicken and apple wrap. On Sunday I baked up a couple chicken breast and plan to use it for our lunch meals throughout the week. So here is where I started. I took one pre-cooked breast from the refrigerator, then I sliced and heated it on my grill pan. I took out a whole wheat wrap for myself and topped it with diced apples, shredded lettuce (this is usually kale or spinach but I had leftover shredded lettuce from fish taco night that I didn’t want to go bad), chick peas, fresh Parmesan, the sliced chicken and apple cider vinaigrette. Tell me your mouth isn’t watering after reading that. Now for my two year old and one year old they had most of the same ingredients but I plated and served theirs differently. For my two year old: he had diced chicken with a little honey mustard, 6 slices of green apple with a spoon of peanut butter, a scoop of chick peas, a string cheese instead of Parmesan and a half a piece of toast with hummus. With this meal he has a portion of everything you want your child to have each meal, and he devoured it all. Why? Because instead of having his chicken in a wrap I served it diced and easy to eat with honey mustard. That kid will eat anything if I serve it with a little honey mustard. (remember- moderation is key) He loves green apples, and the peanut butter gives him a little extra protein and he thinks dipping is fun. All in all I am happy with serving a meal like this to my child. Now for my one year old it is quite similar to his older brothers but a smaller portion and with no honey mustard or peanut butter. (mostly because he would make a huge mess and he isn’t that big on condiments- he gets that from his father) I also substituted cottage cheese for the string cheese, the cottage cheese is easier for him to eat. My two year old is also a fan of cottage cheese however, I made the mistake of buying small curd instead of large and to a two year old that is a HUGE deal. So he is protesting cottage cheese until I get the right one. Sorry kid, I won’t do that again. Now that I am done rambling what do you think? That wasn’t so bad was it? It was quick, easy, filling and most importantly delicious. This can be done with a variety of different meals, sometimes I swap out my wrap for a salad and the chicken for fish. Pick a favorite healthy meat and go from there, the options are endless. Eating healthy doesn’t need to be hard, and a little preparation earlier in the week can make a world of difference. Remember if you want your children to eat healthy you need to lead by example, they are a miniature version of you, you are who they look up to. If you enjoy eating healthy they will too.