Every parent wants their little ones to grow up healthy and strong, and they know the path to a healthy lifestyle begins at home. You must teach your children how to eat healthily and nutritiously. The problem is that most children crave sweets and unhealthy carbs, so how do you ensure their diet is healthy while still satisfying normal childhood cravings? The answer is simple: shop smarter and cook healthy alternatives to childhood favorites.
Start Shopping Smarter
Many people struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children because they need to learn how to prepare before going to the store. If you go to the grocery store without a list, you may put many things in the cart that you usually want to avoid, like sugary cereals, simple carbs, and heavily-processed foods.
If you want to avoid grocery store mistakes and start shopping smarter, only go to the store with a list. Also, keep the list consistent. If you must deviate, stick to the outer edges of the store because this is usually where fresh produce and healthier choices are.
People often bash grilled cheese as not being the healthiest meal option for families or children, but that is a skewed view. In truth, grilled cheese is a good source of minerals, vitamins, and protein. The nutrients in a traditional grilled cheese sandwich contribute to healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. The primary issue with the classic sandwich is it also contains high levels of sodium and an increased number of calories with little fiber content.
You can improve the healthiness of a grilled cheese sandwich by swapping out regular cheese for low-sodium options. You can also include multigrain or whole-grain bread to increase fiber content and contain complex carbs. Finally, you could add a slice of avocado or add other veggies.
Mac & Cheese
Like grilled cheese, mac and cheese is not the healthiest option for a diet, especially as the main course, because it contains empty calories and high levels of sodium. That said, you can make healthier versions of macaroni and cheese. To improve the nutritional value of mac and cheese, you can use whole grain pasta, low sodium cheeses, or a non-dairy alternative. Finally, you can add veggies and healthy proteins, such as chicken, to make the side dish more of a main course.
Peanut Butter & Jelly
Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not the most healthy lunch choice, but they are also not without some redeeming qualities. Thanks to the peanut butter, the sandwich is full of heart-healthy fats, and the relatively high fiber count makes it more filling than other lunchtime meals. Still, there are ways to improve the healthiness of the sandwich.
To make a healthy PB&J, you must start with a better foundation. Too many people opt for classic white bread, a chock of refined grains. Choose a 100% whole grain or whole wheat option. You can also experiment with different nut butter, preferably natural butter with no added ingredients. Also, look for reduced sugar jams or substitute jams for fresh fruit slices or preserves. Finally, add a little crunch with some flax, chia, walnuts, etc.
Brands To Look for & Avoid in Buying PB & J
Avoid those with multiple added ingredients when looking for peanut butter and jelly brands. A good rule of thumb is to select products with a list of ingredients you understand. The safest and best products stick as close to the natural ingredients as possible. You should also avoid added sugars.
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