fruit

Welcome to the latest ‘Who’s The Daddy’, a collection of guests posts from some of my favourite Daddy Bloggers.

This month I’m pleased to introduce R.C. Liley of the fab blog Going Dad, who is a health conscious Stay At Home Dad.

Here, he explores how to encourage kids to eat healthy, homemade fare.

Enjoy

After extensive research and numerous comparison tests, I have compiled the healthiest fast food restaurants for our children.

To some, the results might be shocking, while it may come as no surprise to others.

With all of the claims made on billboards, TV, and magazines, it’s hard to know what truly is best when it comes to going to a fast food establishment.

Hopefully this info will help you navigate the confusing hub bub and make the best decisions for your growing family.

Here is my list of the healthiest fast food joints to take your kids:

  1. NONE!

This concludes my list.

Nope, I didn’t forget 2, 3, 4, etc.; number one is the only answer. There is no healthy fast food restaurant for anyone, maybe there are ‘healthier’ options offered, but they will almost certainly lack the same nutrition as homemade.

I get that many parents are short on time, but I don’t see that as being a good reason to resort to fast food to feed your kids. True, I don’t know everyone’s life story or current situation, but our kids depend on us, their parents, to protect and properly provide for them.

Fast food restaurants may have you waiting in line either at the drive-thru or inside and can take upwards of 15 to 30 minutes depending on time of day.

Alternatively, you could prepare a healthy meal with whole foods at home and maybe even get the entire family involved.

And the argument over the cost of healthy food being too high is absurd.

The amount of money you spend on going out easily outweighs the cost of buying your own ingredients and cooking at home.

Factor in the gas it takes to go wherever you’re going (not to mention your car running if at a drive-thru), price for drinks and the lesser quality food that impacts health, it’s just not worth it.

And do you really know what all has been added to your food for flavour, looks, and to keep it from spoiling?

We show my daughter, Avery, how eating homemade meals gives us energy to get through the day with a smile on our face….usually.

Plus, preparing your own meals can be educational and fun for your kids. Avery watches me prepare healthy meals in the kitchen and then takes part in eating (or attempting to eat) whatever it is that I made for the day.

Her first foods were fresh steamed veggies, and now she’s eating goats cheese, raw sauerkraut, and loves spinach omelettes!

It’s important to start your kid on the path to eating healthy from the start, but I realize many of you have grown children who may resist your attempts at offering healthy food.

This is no reason to just give up and let them go about their way, we must fight for our kids’ health!

Here are 15 ways to get your kids interested in healthier food options and maybe even help you bond more as a result:

  1. Teach by example. As parents, we are our children’s role models, so when you eat healthily, they will want to eat healthily too.
  2. Take them grocery shopping. Sounds crazy, huh? Well, stay out of the middle aisles with colourful boxes promising ‘fun’ and ‘happiness’ and peruse the perimeters with your kid. Let them pick out a new produce item to take home, they will be more interested in trying something they chose themselves.
  3. Let them help. If your kids are old enough, get them in the kitchen to ‘help’ however they can. Just having the slightest bit of participation will make kids more prone to trying something they had a part in preparing.
  4. Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try again (and again)! A child may need to see a food several times before actually tasting it, so be persistent. We learned this with Avery: she wouldn’t look at the carrots we gave her, but now she’ll pick them up and eat them up!
  5. Make it easy. Kids (and most adults) tend to pick food based on what’s the easiest to grab. So when looking for a snack, most of us will pick that bag of chips instead of chopping fresh produce into bite-size pieces. Try cutting fruit and veggies and have them ready to grab right out of the fridge for your kids to snack on. You’ll be surprised at how they’ll opt for them now that they are easy to eat! This will also help encourage the adults in the house to snack healthily too!
  6. Classic airplane. Yeah, it still works. She doesn’t even know what a plane is yet, but just making loud sounds and moving the spoon all around (tip – don’t do this with soup) takes their attention off the food and sometimes they’ll just open their mouth. Use that time to get a bite in!
  7. Let them hold the lid. If you have a container like a Tupperware that their food is in, rinse off the lid and let them hold it while feeding. Tell them they need to keep it safe since it covers the food and maybe they’ll buy into it. Or just have something to play with as they allow the fork/spoon to feed them.
  8. Watch out for the flies!  Avery is quite the fly catcher and loves clapping her hands in the air any time I mention the pests. This is usually good for one or two bites, but if I say she needs to finish her food before the flies get it, sometimes she gives in and that’s a win.
  9. Give them their own utensil. Preferably a spoon since a fork can get a little pokey (Going Mom and I both know), and a knife because, toddler. Having their own utensil is empowering, and they love having “control”. Or, again, something to play with. But this does allow you to at least try and teach them how to use a utensil.
  10. Don’t offer, just do. Yes, this could be bad and result in spilled food as they quickly turn their head and shake their arms in refusal, but it can also work. I have found that when asked if she wants to take a bite, she usually shakes her head, but if we just bring the food to her mouth in silence, she’s more apt to take the bite.
  11. Read a book. This has been our go-to option during dinner every night lately. Kelley offers her food, she shakes her head and turns away, I open a Dr. Suess book to read a few lines and the magic gate (i.e. her mouth) opens. It has worked every time so far. Not sure how or why, but give it a try. Hey, I rhymed!
  12. Use sturdy produce to produce results. Something like an orange or small winter squash that can withstand toddler abuse (to a degree) keeps their attention off the task at hand, eating, and on the cool food in front of them. As they explore the food, take each chance you get to feed them. Plus, you can teach them about the food they are playing with and/or throwing on the floor.
  13. Wait for a yawn. Okay, so this one is not highly recommended, but I admit to doing it before and it works. Use it as a last resort and only on very soft food or liquids so the don’t choke. As they yawn, just sneak that spoon in there!
  14. Screen time. Again, not the best option as we have yet to really introduce her to watching TV, but she loves looking at the screen on our computer or phone. On those days you just don’t feel like dealing with a fussy eater, pull out your phone, turn on the TV, or bust out the computer and play something kid-friendly on YouTube or the like. I feel guilty for admitting it, but this works and it’s just so hard to quit!
  15. Make good food. Duh, make sure the food you’re giving them tastes good. I am by no means saying give them sugary and/or fatty processed food, but don’t expect them to take to that kim-chi right away. My wife has told me simple is better when I cook her dinner, and that approach works well for both of my girls. That, and adding goat cheese seems to work. Please, just keep it healthy too. It’s vital to how your kid grows!

If you truly want the best for your kids and want them to grow up strong and feeling their best, focus on healthy food.

Exercise is another important aspect, but for children, just getting them outside and active is the best way to encouraging fitness.

Limit time in front of a screen and hey, try joining in and playing with them too.

Lets teach our kids to eat and enjoy real food.

Their bodies are constantly growing and using the food they eat as building blocks for everything from their heart to their bones, and every follicle of hair.

Just like at home, feeding your kids junk is similar to building a straw hut that won’t withstand the wind, but give them fresh, wholesome food, and they’ll be like a mansion standing strong for a long time to come.

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2 Responses

  1. Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas

    Really enjoyed reading this post, and agree that there probably is no “healthy” fast food restaurant around. My older daughter has never been a fussy eater, but the opposite is the truth about Olivia. Will try some of the suggested tips. Thanks for sharing x
    Mirka Moore @Fitness4Mamas recently posted…How Sports Nutrition Supplements Can Help You Get Fit & HealthyMy Profile

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