Thanks to GoGosqueeZ for inviting me to share some tips on how I help my family make healthy choices as part of the #GoGosqueeZSquad.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself, it’s that the first thing that throws healthy eating off track is a crazy or interrupted schedule. So when you’re talking about four kids–two in school, two at home and all kinds of activities from theater to sports to 4-H–our weeks can pretty much be summed up by crazy schedules.
It can be the easiest excuse for us to hit a drive-thru or make bad choices because life just feels too busy to take time to pack our own snacks or meals. If life already feels a bit out of control, it can be easy to let that same thing happen for eating, too.
And while I’ve totally identified my family’s triggers, I still have to make a concerted effort to fight against them. But I’ve also identified three simple keys to keeping us all on track. When I’ve got things running smoothly and I’m prepared, my kids follow suit.
My husband recently told me about an article he read in the Wall Street Journal–when a group of toddlers were placed in front of a table of foods–proteins, fruits, vegetables, foods rich in fiber, calcium–they naturally reached for the things their bodies needed. And even with my own children, I see that same thing occurring often.
For my family, I know what I need to do to keep them going for the good stuff. Do I do it consistently, every time? No. Do we sometimes default to the drive thru? Yes. Is it the end of the world? No. Balance is key. Not beating yourself up is key. But making better choices the norm, not the exception is important.
Here are 3 keys that work for me.
Shop one big grocery shop per week. For me, I have to do this each weekend before Monday arrives. Starting the week with a stocked refrigerator and at least the beginnings of a meal plan sets us up for a week of good eating. If I find myself making 2 or 3 or 4 mini-shops during the week, I’m usually shopping for foods and meals that are quick and easy and last-minute, or I’m shopping hungry. All of which make me feel like I don’t have a good handle on the food I’m purchasing and preparing.
Don’t ask them if they want it, get it ready and present it to them. My mom was always about presentation when it came to meals. A pretty table, a nice centerpiece, a pretty plate of food. And when I use a similar approach to feeding my kids it almost always works. A perfect example was last night. For Christmas we received a box of citrus fruit. Several times since it arrived and my kids have been scrounging in the kitchen for a snack, I’ve suggested a grapefruit. And every single time, they’ve turned up their noses. Last night as I was getting ready to put dinner on the table, I cut up grapefruit halves, put them in bowls and set out some honey. Before I even managed to get the grapefruit to the table, my kids were standing around popping the sections into their mouths and squeezing out every last bit of juice. The idea of grapefruit never appealed to them when suggested, but when they were presented with them–ready to eat–they couldn’t eat them fast enough. I am now out of grapefruit, but I’m tickled to see them all devoured.
Balance convenience with stuff that takes a little more prep-work. I’ll admit, standing around making lunches at 6:30 in the morning is not my favorite thing in the world. But I’ve learned to balance the work of making a healthy lunch with the convenience of some pack and go foods. Not every grab and go food is a good choice, though. Fruit snacks and pudding cups aren’t always the best pick. So I go for the easy stuff that’s still good for them. One of our lunchbox and on-the-go staples is the GoGosqueeZ pouches. They are perfect to throw in our lunches or our bag when we’re rushing out the door. They have all natural, simple ingredients with no artificial anything. They use high quality ingredients and they taste delicious–which means my kids are reaching for them again and again. So while I may be chopping vegetables and fruits and slapping together sandwiches, it’s nice to have some healthy, easy choices, too.
The more I put these things into practice, the more they become second nature for our family. And the more we all crave the good stuff. I’m excited to start off the new year with new inspiration and motivation to keep this family growing healthy and strong.
Disclaimer: This post is #sponsored by GoGosqueeZ. All opinions are my own. Even better, we were already using and loving these! #GoGosqueeZSquad