Tag Archives: healthy foods

12 Naughty Holiday Foods

holidays-holiday-foods-fullThe holidays mean parties and family gatherings. And it means a buffet of delicious holiday treats. Lots of holiday foods are healthy – filled with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. However, they can also be loaded up with calories.

Don’t assume that foods are healthy just because they are normally low in calories. Many dishes have been modified with additional ingredients, such as added sugar and fats, to create a fun and festive treat. That also means additional calories.

Here are 12 foods that are on the holiday naughty list and healthier options you can enjoy instead:

Turkey Skin
The skin of turkey and chicken is loaded with saturated fat. Dark meat also have more fat per bite than white meat. Serve yourself turkey or other white meat without the skin.

Stuffing
Stuffing is filled with butter and high-fat meats like sausage. A single scoop of stuffing may have 550 calories. Use low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter, and try low-fat chicken or fruit instead of fatty meats. Or, you can even make stuffing with wild rice instead.

Green Bean Casserole
While green beans are a vegetable rich in vitamins and fiber, the casserole doesn’t offer as many health benefits. The onion toppings, butter and cream that are used to create the dish can contain over 750 calories and over 4,000 milligrams of salt. Stick with plain green beans and skip the rest.

Buttery Mashed Potatoes
Homemade mashed potatoes often contain whole milk, butter and salt. Instead, mash the potatoes with low-fat milk or low sodium, fat-free chicken stock. Then, skip the butter and salt.

Swedish Meatballs
Meatballs may be high in protein, but each meatball can have as many as 400 calories with eggs, bread and cream added to make them. Beef broth can also add up to 50% of your daily recommended allowance of sodium. Choose lean meats without the added fattening ingredients.

Cranberry Sauce
Cranberries may be a super fruit, filled with antioxidants and fiber, however a serving of cranberry sauce contains around 200 calories and twice as much sugar as homemade pumpkin pie. Stick with the pumpkin pie!

Pecan Pie
Although pecans are packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, pecan pie is filled with sugar and calories. A slice of pecan pie can have more than 500 calories. Try nibbling on a bowl of mixed nuts or a small slice of pumpkin pie instead.

Carmel Popcorn
You may receive a gift of a large tin of carmel popcorn. While popcorn on its own is a healthy, whole-grain snack, adding sugary carmel only packs on calories. Try plain popcorn instead – it’s just as satisfying without the extra fat.

Cakes and Cookies
You may crave carbohydrates in the fall and winter. You want to avoid sweets, but you also know that carbs taste so good and make you feel good. Snack on whole-grain cereals and crackers to satisfy your carb cravings.

Eggnog
Mix together alcohol, heavy cream, eggs and sugar, and you’ve got a recipe with about 340 calories and 19 grams of fat. Make a low calorie eggnog with skim milk, egg substitutes and artificial sweeteners. Or skip the eggnog and have a cup of green tea.

Mixed Drinks
Cocktails can also be surprisingly high in calories. Mix up a wine spritzer by adding a splash of wine and sparkling water to pomegranate or cranberry juice. You cut calories and include fruit in your diet.

Chocolate
Milk chocolate is high in fat and low in nutrients. Go for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, but still eat it in moderation. Even better, choose dark chocolate with heart-healthy nuts.

‘Tis the season for tasty foods. If you know which foods are naughty versus healthy, you can make good choices and enjoy yourself during the holidays!

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14 Healthy Foods You Should Be Eating

healthy-greens-1369011-mLast year, before Thanksgiving and the start of all the holiday festivities, we posted about the best and worst foods for fall and winter.

I was thinking about all the yummy foods that will be piled high on the table for Thanksgiving dinner, and I decided it might be good to add in a few healthy super foods to my eating habits this holiday season.

Here are 14 of the healthiest foods that you should be eating but probably aren’t (especially during the decadent holidays):

Lean Protein
Lean sources of protein can help speed up your metabolism and encourage your body to burn more fat. Some good examples include turkey, chicken breast, pork and leaner cuts of beef. You get muscle-building protein without the extra saturated fat.

Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene and decrease your risk of bladder, lung, prostate, skin and stomach cancers. Tomatoes also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Red tomatoes are the best, and processed tomatoes are just as good as fresh.

Yogurt
Yogurt gives you calcium and protein along with millions of bacteria that are beneficial for your body. These bacteria help boost your immune system and provide protection against cancer. Not all yogurts are probiotic, so check the label for “live and active cultures.”

Carrots
Carrots are filled with carotenoids, which are fat-soluble compounds that reduce the risk of a wide range of cancers and combat the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma and arthritis. They are easy to prepare and can be added to pastas and salads or enjoyed as a snack while on the go.

Cruciferous Veggies
Fruits and veggies should be a large part of your diet – you should strive to make them half your plate. Cruciferous vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber as well as essential nutrients. Great options include cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and bok choy.

Black Beans
All beans are good for your heart, but black beans can boost your brain power. They are full of anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound that gives you better brain function.

Berries
Berries are a potent source of antioxidants that fight free radicals, slow down aging and reduce your risk of cancer. Berries are a healthy, refreshing snack that can satisfy a sweet craving. They also go great with your morning cereal, in smoothies and on yogurt.

Bananas
Bananas are an easy, on-the-go treat. Pack in your gym back as a quick snack, or cut it up on your cereal or oatmeal. Foods high in potassium – like bananas – can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Pomegranate
This colorful fruit is full of antioxidants that can help prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and cancer. You can even get the benefits by drinking a glass of pomegranate juice.

High-Fiber Cereal
Fiber is essential to maintaining a healthy body and can help in losing weight. It fills you up and keeps your digestive systems working properly. Whole-grain cereals digest slowly and keep your blood sugar at a steady level. Cereals also give you B vitamins, antioxidants, iron, zinc, copper and magnesium.

Oats
Oats are packed with soluble fiber that helps reduce heart disease. While they are loaded with carbs, like cereal, they are released slowly to keep you full and satisfied.

Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A, calcium and potassium. Other great dark orange vegetables include pumpkin, carrots, butternut squash and orange bell peppers.

Eggs
Eggs have gotten a bad rap in the past, but they are nutritious, economical and a great way to fill up on good protein. Studies have shown if you eat eggs for breakfast, you eat fewer calories through the day. Eggs also contain 12 vitamins and minerals that are good for your brain and memory.

Nuts
Nuts are full of protein, heart healthy fats, fiber and antioxidants. A handful of nuts can help lower cholesterol and promote weight loss. You can mix it up with pistachios, walnuts, almonds, peanuts and pecans. Enjoy them as a snack or add them to salads, side dishes, cereals or yogurt.

So, if you’re feeling a little guilty after Thanksgiving dinner or holiday parties, add a few of these healthy foods to your regular diet. Put some diversity and color on your plate!

8 Secrets to Eating Smarter

empty-plate-with-forks-and-knifes-1357304-mLike most Americans, my eating habits need help. I am addicted to fast food, decadent desserts, sweet drinks and unhealthy snacking.

Most adults and one-third of the kids in this country are overweight. You can change your eating habits, but it means changing your lifestyle and learning to eat healthier on a daily basis.

You can replace the worst food offenders with healthier choices. It’s also important to watch portion control and pay more attention to your snacking.

Here are 8 secrets to eating smarter and changing your eating habits for life:

Control serving size
Most servings in fast food chains and even restaurants are over-sized. We have become accustomed to large servings and assume that this is the right amount of food to eat at a meal. Unfortunately, many of these meals contain almost all the calories and fat you need to eat in one day – packed into one meal.

You can learn to judge the right portion size of the foods you eat. Here are some common foods, and the size you should picture in order to judge portion size:

  • Medium baked potato = a computer mouse
  • Pasta = 1/2 a baseball
  • Cooked rice = a light bulb
  • Waffle = size of a CD
  • Muffin = tennis ball
  • Bagel = hockey puck
  • Cheese = four dice
  • Meat or fish = deck of cards or palm of your hand
  • Peanut butter = golf ball
  • Portion of fat = poker chip
  • Dessert = 1/2 a baseball

Plan for dining out
It’s important to remember portion sizes when you are eating out at restaurants. As we mentioned earlier, when dining out the meals can be enough food for two or three people.

Here are some tips to curbing portion size at restaurants:

  • Order a half portion or kids’ meal
  • Box up half of a full-size entree before you even start eating
  • Split a dish with your partner or a friend
  • Eat a healthy appetizer with a soup or salad instead of a main entree

Use a smaller plate
As a kid, you may have been told to clean your plate. You may have been taught not to waste food. The problem is that dinner plates – at home and in restaurants – have gotten bigger. We also load them up with more food than we need. If you are cleaning your plate, you are probably eating too much.

The secret is to use a smaller plate. It may seem silly, but it can help. You are forced to take smaller portions, and you may make better choices knowing you have less room on your plate. Even if you go back for seconds, you are still eating less than you did with bigger plates. Put leftovers away right after the meal, so you aren’t tempted to come back and graze.

Look for whole grains
Pizza, pasta, rice and tortillas can load on calories and fill you up with white flour and refined grains. These flours and grains have been processed to remove the bran. The bran is full of fiber and vitamins. Choose whole grain wheat, rice, barley and other grains when you can.

Watch our for solid fats
Most saturated and trans fats are solid at room temperature. These fats are found in butter, margarine, shortening, coconut oil and animal fats. Creamy dishes, fatty cuts of meat, some cheeses, bacon and chicken skin all have solid fat. While some fatty foods are good for you, you may want to learn the truth about good and bad fats.

Cut back on sugar
As a whole, we eat too much sugar. It’s just so easy! We have sodas, sports drinks, cookies, cakes and every kind of yummy pre-packaged treat. Desserts have also become over-sized and packed with sugar and unhealthy fats. The average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar a day when we should only eat about 6 to 9 teaspoons. Artificial sweeteners may not be any better for us than real sugar. Read more in 6 Truths about Sugar and Artificial Sweeteners.

Eat more nutritious foods
As you cut back on portion size, you can also add in more healthy and nutritious choices to your diet. Instead of fatty meats, choose lean protein and seafood. Fish is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Choose whole grains instead of refined white flour and grains. Add in more fruit and vegetables, eggs, low-fat dairy and beans. Cut back on butter and margarine, and choose olive and canola oil. These oils are good for your waistline and your heart.

Keep an eye out for food frauds
Many healthy foods can wreck your diet if you go overboard on the serving sizes. Here are some good for you foods that should still be consumed in moderation:

  • Avocado
  • Red wine
  • Chocolate
  • Nuts
  • Trail mix
  • Dried fruit
  • Energy bars
  • Smoothies

It’s hard to change eating habits that may have been developed when we were kids. It takes practice and hard work to create healthier habits. By starting with portion control and thinking about the foods you eat each day, you can learn to eat smarter and create better habits for life!

10 Healthy Foods to Stock in Your Pantry

Best foods to keep in your pantryI keep a lot of junk food in my pantry. I have three kids involved in multiple sports, and it seems like we are always running somewhere. We grab a snack bar or a prepackaged, sugar-loaded treat. If I fix a meal, it comes out of a box or a frozen package because it’s quicker than cooking from scratch.

One of the easiest ways to improve your diet is to stock your pantry with healthy foods. Keeping nutritious yet convenient staples in your cabinets will encourage you to make healthier choices.

First, let’s clean out the bad foods to make room for the healthy foods. Here are some of the worst offenders you should ban from the house:

  • Sodas and sugary drinks – give you added calories without any nutrients.
  • Potato chips – contain bad fats and salt.
  • Cookies, snack cakes and cupcakes – these sweet treats include refined flour, sugar and saturated fats, all ingredients we need to cut out of our diets.
  • Cereal, muffins and cereal bars – these breakfast foods are full of added sugar.
  • Buttery microwave popcorn – contains large amounts of trans fat and salt.
  • White breads, white pasta and white rice – the refining process removes most of the nutrients and leaves empty carbs and salt.
  • Vegetable and corn oil – small amounts of oil are okay, but extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil are better choices.

Now, we can stock the pantry with 10 healthy and nutritious food choices:

Canned tuna, chicken or salmon
Tuna and salmon are filled with omega-3s and protein. Chicken is also a good source of protein. Canned or in a pouch, you can make a quick sandwich, add it to salad or create a healthy casserole.

Oatmeal and whole grain cereals
Oatmeal is high in protein, low in salt and packed with fiber. You can use low sugar instant oatmeal for a quick breakfast. You probably have boxes of cereal in your cabinets. However, the best cereal choices have whole grain as the first ingredient and are a good source of fiber. Stay away from any cereals with more than 8 grams of sugar per serving.

Whole grain pasta
Make a quick meal with whole grain pasta and a zesty marinara or spaghetti sauce. You can also add vegetables to your pasta for even more healthy benefits.

Marinara sauce
Marinara sauce is a great source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. You can use sauce with pasta, homemade pizza, or with whole grain tortillas to make a healthy wrap. You can even add it to chicken dishes or use it to top burgers. Marinara has vegetables in every serving!

Canned beans
Beans – including white, black, kidney and garbanzo – are a good source of protein, fiber and phytochemicals. Make sure you choose “no salt” or “low salt” options. Just rinse and drain the beans before you add to soups, salads or casseroles.

Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Olive oil contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and phytochemicals. Use olive oil as a dip for bread or an ingredient for salad dressing. You can use flavored olive oils for dipping vegetables or crackers, or when cooking fish, chicken or vegetables. Balsamic vinegar has a light flavor and can be mixed with olive oil to jazz up salads and vegetables.

Green tea bags
Green tea provides many health benefits, including being a source of two powerful flavonoids – anthocyanin and proanthocyanidin. These flavonoids have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Green tea is also a healthy drink choice, instead of grabbing a soda or sugary drink.

Canned fruit and veggies
Select no salt added canned vegetables for good nutrition and convenience. You can eat veggies as a side or add them to soups or salads. Canned fruit – in its own juice – is also a good staple for your pantry.

Low salt snacks
Add some unsalted nuts to your pantry so you can grab them for a quick snack. Nuts have three times the fiber and protein of potato chips and much less salt. You can also make your own trail mix by combining different types of nuts and dried fruit.

Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants. Dark chocolate and cocoa may also help you relax, reduce the risk of heart disease and lower blood pressure. However, chocolate still has fat, sugar and calories so a little bit goes a long way!

By keeping healthy staples in your pantry, you can make nutritious food choices even when you’re in a hurry. What are some of your favorite healthy must-haves to stock in your pantry?

12 foods that reduce stress

Citrus fruits help alleviate stressWhen I feel stressed, I want to indulge in food choices that are bad for me. I start craving comfort foods like candy bars, potato chips, cookies or even iced coffee.

Those foods we like to grab when we’re having a rough day can actually increase our stress levels. You should avoid too much coffee and other caffeinated drinks. They can cause anxiety and make it harder to concentrate. Salty snacks and sweet treats can be full of simple carbohydrates that will spike your blood sugar, and then cause you to be tired and unmotivated when you come down from the sugar rush.

The good news is there are foods that can help you lower your stress levels. Here are 12 healthy foods that can alleviate tension and are good for you:

Turkey
Turkey contains tryptophan, which is a feel-good amino acid that triggers the production of serotonin and melatonin. These chemicals have a calming effect and can help you feel more relaxed.

Citrus fruit
Oranges, grapefruit and other citrus fruits are rich in vitamin C and can help boost your immune system. The vitamin C also brings down your blood pressure after a stressful situation, helping relieve anxiety.

Nuts and seeds
Nuts are packed with Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids and can help reduce stress. Almonds have B and E vitamins, which are good for your immune system. Walnuts and pistachios help lower blood pressure. Sunflower seeds have that feel-good tryptophan.

Salmon
Salmon has Omega 3 essential fatty acids and helps boost your serotonin levels. Salmon and other fish also help keep the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, at a steady level.

Avocados
Avocados sometimes get a bad wrap because they are high in fat. But, it’s a good kind of fat. They also contain potassium, which helps decrease blood pressure and has a relaxing effect.

Spinach
Spinach gives you magnesium – a mineral that helps you feel more calm. Magnesium can also prevent headaches and a feeling of fatigue. Spinach is also a good source of fiber and can boost your energy levels.

Oatmeal
Oats have magnesium, which we know is calming, and potassium to help lower blood pressure. In addition, the complex carbohydrates in oatmeal can help you produce more serotonin.

Sweet potatoes and carrots
These orange, root vegetables can help you boost your serotonin levels with fiber and carbohydrates. They also have beta-carotene and other vitamins that are good for boosting immunity.

Green vegetables
Green veggies, such as broccoli and kale, are great sources of vitamins. These nutrients can help replenish your body in times of stress.

Bananas
Bananas are known for potassium which helps fight fatigue and are good for your blood sugar. Bananas are also a great source of carbs and can help produce serotonin. Choose a banana over other sugary or starchy options.

Whole grains
Brown rice and whole wheat choices are better for you than white rice or bread. Whole grains are full of B vitamins and serotonin, which help you relax without feeling fatigued.

Dark chocolate
If you’re hit with a chocolate craving, opt for a dark chocolate snack. Dark chocolate contains magnesium which helps alleviate tension. It also has theo bromine and can naturally elevate your mood. Just remember to indulge in moderation.

The next time you feel like hitting the vending machine or ordering french fries, consider one of the healthy options above. Not only can you help reduce your stress levels, you will also feel good about making a healthy food choice.

14 healthy foods that boost energy

1411446_empty_and_full_1I start to drag in the afternoons at about 2pm. I crave foods that are not the best choices, such as cookies, cake, donuts or any prepackaged sugary treat.

Most of us suffer from fatigue from time to time. We are stressed, often sleep deprived and eat fast food on the go. Our bodies simply run out of fuel. One of the best ways to fight fatigue is by eating foods that boost energy. Smart and healthy food choices can help improve your overall health and well-being. They can also help you feel more energized.

All foods give you energy, but how the energy is released determines which foods are better at helping you feel more invigorated. Caffeine and energy drinks can give you a quick energy boost, but the right foods can help keep you going all day long.

Our fuel comes from the food we eat, but some foods can provide a richer and more long-term source of energy than others. Here are 14 healthy, energy boosting foods:

Vegetables
Green vegetables contain vitamins and minerals – including vitamin B, magnesium and iron – that help boost energy. Some examples include spinach, asparagus and broccoli. Cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, watercress and kale are all high in nutrition and act as energy boosters.

Cereals
Cereals are typically digested slowly so they release over time and help keep your blood sugar more level. Many cereals, such as shredded wheat, corn flakes, bran flakes and oatmeal are good energy boosters. They also contain fiber which helps your body release energy steadily.

Eggs
Eggs are a good source of protein. Protein helps with almost all of your bodily functions so you experience improved energy levels. Eggs also contain iron which is good for sustaining energy throughout the day.

Nuts
All nuts are a good source of minerals and are high in nutrition. Nuts have vitamins A, B and E, potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron. Almonds are a good source of healthy fats and have protein that helps balance out blood sugar. Almonds also improve heart health and may lower risks of some cancers. Walnuts also have energy boosting properties and overall health benefits.

Seeds
Many seeds, including pumpkin and sunflower, are rich in minerals and contain protein. They are also a great source of magnesium and iron.

Fruits
Fresh fruits – apples, oranges, grapes, peaches, watermelon, pineapples, bananas – can give you an energy boost. Fruits have simple carbohydrates or sugars which are easy for your body to break down and use for energy. Fruits are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and water.

Citrus fruits, such as lemons and limes, contain vitamin C which is good for your immune system. Dark berries, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, are full of antioxidants. They can be good for your heart health by helping to lower blood pressure.

Beans and lentils
Beans and lentils are good sources of carbohydrates and potassium. Lentils and other legumes, such as kidney beans and chick peas, help level out blood glucose levels so that you avoid that mid-afternoon crash.

Honey
Honey has been called nature’s energy booster. It is great for building up your immune system. Honey is also a natural remedy for many ailments, such as sore throats, sleeplessness and may even have cancer-fighting properties.

Green and other teas
Green tea gives energy to your entire body. It’s also a great source of antioxidants. Green tea offers many other health benefits, including fight cancer and heart disease, lowering cholesterol, burning fat for weight loss, preventing diabetes and stroke, and staving off dementia.

Chamomile tea is great for calming the mind and reducing stress. Black tea may help lower levels of cortisol when you drink it on a regular basis. Ginger tea is also fused with nutrients and can help you avoid afternoon fatigue.

Yogurt
Eating yogurt gives you both protein and carbohydrates – both of which can give you energy and a feeling of fullness. Yogurt also contains probiotics which are known to aid in healthy digestion.

Water
Our good friend water has so many health benefits. Water keeps your body hydrated and allows it to work at optimum levels. It helps you digest, absorb and process nutrients. If you don’t drink enough water, you can become dehydrated and may experience a feeling of fatigue. So, drink more water!

Peanut butter
Peanut butter that contains monounsaturated fat can be a healthy choice for a snack. It has protein, potassium and iron. Smart snacking with smart carbs and protein-rich foods can help keep your blood sugar level throughout the day and give you the energy to tackle whatever comes your way.

Salmon
Salmon is great source for omega-3 fatty acids as well as protein. Cold water fish, like salmon, sardines and tuna, give you more omega-3 fatty acids than warm water fish. Omega-3 fatty acids aid in energy production, brain activity and are good for heart health.

Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate provides energy by supplying your body with magnesium and iron. It contains flavenoids that help keep your blood vessels healthy and reduce inflammation. Dark chocolate may also lower cortisol – a stress hormone that can lead you to eat more and gain weight. That’s plenty of reasons for me to eat chocolate!

So, fuel your body with energy boosting foods. You’ll feel better throughout the day and be on your way to creating a healthier, more balanced you!

How to get your kids to eat healthy

help kids eat healthyEvery parent struggles with getting their kids to eat healthy foods. You may have heard, “Eww, broccoli is gross.” Or, “I don’t like it – it tastes mushy.” And my favorite, “I’m not eating that!”

I have three kids with very different eating habits. My oldest daughter has always been a great eater. She loves fruits, vegetables and almost anything. My son eats nothing. Seriously. He survives on bologna, bacon and macaroni and cheese. My youngest daughter is somewhere in the middle. She eats most types of foods, but is picky about some things.

I think most parents worry about whether their kids are eating a balanced diet. With my son, I wonder sometimes how he eats enough to stay alive. I have battled with my kids about what they eat for 15 years.

Here are some tips to getting your kids to eat healthy foods. Most likely, they won’t all work, but maybe you can add a few into your routine and improve your kids’ eating habits.

take your kids grocery shoppingTake your kids shopping
I have found that if I let my kids pick the healthy foods, they are more likely to eat those foods. Yes, they still try to sneak donuts and honey buns into the shopping cart, but with some guidance they will select healthy foods.

Also, we can plan the meals we will make from the foods they selected and that helps get them more excited about their choices. They learn how to create a more balanced meal with lean meat, a fruit and vegetable, and whole-grain bread, rice or pasta.

Cook with your kids
Another way to get kids more excited about the foods they eat is to let them help you in the kitchen. If my kids help fix it, they are more likely to eat it because they have pride and ownership of the healthy meal they created.

In addition, you have the opportunity to educate your kids about the health benefits of different foods. My son plays sports and lifts weights. I talk to him about the importance of protein to build muscles and eating a well-balanced diet to grow and get stronger. He has started eating more and a greater variety of foods because he understands how it can benefit him in the long run.

make healthy foods funMake it fun
If every meal is a struggle and a fight to get your kids to eat, it isn’t fun for anyone. Make trying something new fun. You can create a chart with your kids and add stars every time your child tries a food they don’t think they’ll like. It may take several times of trying a new food before your child acquires a taste for it. So, try not to get discouraged or make a big deal if he or she doesn’t like it the first time.

You won’t be able to change your children’s eating habits overnight. It is an ongoing process. Try not to nag about unhealthy choices. You can let your kids know you are pleased when they make healthy choices. Never use food as a reward. This could lead to weight problems later in life if they associate food with emotions. Avoid placing restrictions on food. Your kids will still eat junk food, but they will learn to limit it in favor of more nutritional options.

Give choices
With my kids, it seems like everything is a power struggle. If I can give them choices, it makes all of our lives easier. When we have tacos, they can choose the toppings they want to add. I also give them a choice of snacks: apple slices, a banana, or crackers and peanut butter.

Keep healthy food handy
I try to keep good snacks in a cabinet that my kids can all reach. I have granola bars, crackers and fruit cups on the lower shelves. In the refrigerator, I keep fresh fruits and veggies in the bottom crisper and yogurt cups on the lower shelf. If healthy foods are easy to grab, my kids will typically choose these foods.

visit local grower farmers marketVisit the source
If you can actually take your kids to a local grower or farm, it can be a great way to learn more about where foods come from. You can also visit a farmer’s market so that your kids can help you pick out healthy foods. Even better, if you have the outdoor space to plant a small garden, it gets kids even more involved when they grow their own food.

Be a role model
We all know that nothing gets past a kid. If you want them to eat healthier, then you have to set a good example. Kids want to imitate their parents. Your good eating habits will encourage them to do the same. You can also help shape your kids’ relationships with food. If you call yourself fat or constantly count calories and beat yourself up over food choices, your kids may pick up these habits.

Don’t give up
For whatever reason, the stuff that’s bad for us tastes really good! And there are so many unhealthy options available today. Teaching your children to make good food choices is an ongoing process. For that matter, it can be a life-long journey for us grown ups, too. So, keep offering those nutritious foods and your kids will develop good eating habits!

Are your kids picky eaters? Do you have tips for getting kids to make healthy food choices?