Let’s face it, we all like to pretend we NEVER let our precious youngsters have any sugar or sweet treats. In reality, we are REAL parents and our kids do get some treats. How can we manage allowing a sweet tasty every now and then while still making the healthiest choice for our kids?
The first step to ensuring healthy children is to offer them 5-6 small, healthy meals each day. Each meal should consist of a variety of foods. It is your job as the parent to offer the healthy foods and your child’s job to decide what and how much of it to eat. Children who are offered meals in this manner, will consume a balanced diet. The second step is to get your child outside and active for at least an hour each day. This is great for parents also, some days the only exercise I get is while I’m out playing ball or walking with my kids. Once these principles are in place, the rest is simple. Don’t offer desserts daily or as an incentive to “finish your meal”. We provide sliced peaches, pears or applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon at the end of dinner.
There are times when we do give the kids dessert, or when we are planning a party or out running around and just want a treat. Our favorite way to meet these “sweet tooths” are with home made goodness. There are great recipes for healthier homemade brownies and cinnamon muffins that you can prepare and take with you in fabulous reusable bags. When purchasing ice cream (a favorite in our house), we opt for all natural and organic varieties.
Soda is a fun beverage to sip. If we are at home, I often solve this by mixing 100% juice (apple, grape or orange) with sparkling water or club soda. For parties, picnics or while running around town, we enjoy Hansen’s All Natural Cane Soda. It is made without high fructose corn syrup. Hansen’s sodas are also made without preservatives, artificial flavors or colors, caffeine or sodium. Hansen’s also tastes wonderful.
When the children are given candy or gum, we opt for those made without artificial ingredients and without high fructose corn syrup. Glee Gum is a kid friendly, all natural gum. At $.79 a box, we always have some on hand.
If chocolate is on the menu, we purchase organic, ethical or fair trade bars that are made with REAL chocolate, such as Endangered Species. These are often found in the natural food section of the grocer. For Teacher appreciation at school, we love to send some of these bars tied up with pretty ribbons. Everyone loves chocolate!
There are lots of options for treats while staying away from garbage foods (in our world, garbage foods are those that contain artificial ingredients or high fructose corn syrup). How are you going to treat your healthy kids this week?
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