These are my favorite 10 tricks and tips on how to help your child eat real food, cut back on the sugar and carbs and eat healthy food.
See how to remove processed food from their diet, ditch the bread and soda, cut out deep fried food, and make real food lunch boxes. Follow my action plan at the end of the post.
We all want our children to eat real food and healthy options, but how do we actually go about it? How do we remove the processed food, sugars and inflammatory oils without having a family mutiny?
Below are my 10 top tips to help transition your children, and how to help your child eat real food for life. My emphasis is eating tasty nutrient dense, whole foods and lowering their sugar and carb intake, especially from processed and junk food.
HOW TO HELP YOUR CHILD EAT REAL FOOD
1: START SLOWLY
I cannot emphasise this enough. Your household will not be a happy one if you clear out the cupboards overnight and suddenly change everything they have sadly come to love. Simply start one meal at a time. There will be setbacks along the way, but this will be a long journey and it is best to have everyone on board.
Your children are lucky. They will grow up knowing the benefit or eating low carb real food and a nutritional knowledge that not many adults have.
Start with their breakfasts. Explain how cereals are more akin to desserts so you are going to slowly remove them from the house. Begin with something to replace the cereals you know they will love. It could be scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon and eggs, last night’s leftovers, sausages, a low carb smoothie or you can start to make some grain-free granolaor low-carb waffles.
Don’t go too crazy at the start making special meals, this new way of eating has to be sustainable and if you think you are setting yourself up for a lifetime of making waffles each morning, you’ll resent it and give up. Be easy on yourself and your children. As each box of cereal leaves the house, don’t make a fuss, just don’t replace it.
2: LEFTOVERS ARE KING
You will quickly learn to make double or triple everything. It really doesn’t take much more time and effort but suddenly you will be organised for the days ahead. Think of leftovers in a different light, why have a sugary cereal when you can have a meal in the morning?
Why have a sandwich when you can have last night’s meal re-heated or cold roast meat to top off a beautiful salad? Leftovers can be frozen as individual portions for that emergency meal where you may have once relied on a takeaway.
When cooking sausages, chicken drumsticks, meatballs, roast vegetables, quiche, cook double and you’ll already be a step ahead having the school lunches organized for the next few days.
3: DITCH THE BREAD
This doesn’t have to be tricky. Set yourself the goal that each week you will create a bread free lunchbox twice a week. If your child is really resistant, try even cutting back to thin bread or thin wraps.
Eventually, bread will make less of an appearance in their lunch boxes until you get to the point where bread is no longer in the house, or it makes a very rare appearance. Some great healthy low carb alternatives to bread are lettuce wraps, cold meat wraps or low carb pizza waffles.
4: SCHOOL LUNCH BOXES
It can be daunting to think how to even start a school lunchbox if you have been relying on the standard muesli bars, packets of rice crackers, and a ham sandwich. You just need ideas and plenty of them.
Start looking at meals in a new way. Ignore the marketing hype that certain packaged foods are great for a lunchbox and go back to basics. Don’t worry, I’m not even going to suggest you start cutting little animal shapes out of cheese, or creating carrot flowers, we’re all too busy for that.
In the morning rush, we want to throw some things together that we know will be eaten and not thrown in the trash can. I can’t emphasize this enough, but cook double dinners and have vegetables already sliced in the fridge ready to go.5
5: INVOLVE YOUR CHILDREN
If you really want to know how to help your child eat real food, get them involved. Start asking them what they like, make a list. You may be surprised by how many real food options they will give you.
Add new foods to their list as they enjoy new flavours and textures. They will be so proud of themselves as their list grows.
Start looking through the low carb recipes and print/save recipes chosen by your child. Let them create their own cookbook. Take them to the vegetable store and allow them to choose whatever they would like and see if they can dream up a new recipe to use it. Make it fun and make it simple.