There are never enough hours in the day when you have children under the age of 5. There are nap times, play times, doctor visits, family outings, tantrums, sibling rivalry and the social challenges of starting pre-school just to name a few. Just thinking about those years makes me exhausted.
When it comes time to decide what to eat the never ending battle begins between a parent’s logical desire for their child to eat healthy and the child’s desire for the simple things like pizza and chicken nuggets. What is a parent to do in this dilemma? Having been there too many times myself this scenario often ended with pizza, but what if there is a better way for both sides to get what they want while giving kids healthier alternatives to those high sodium, high fat comfort foods that we all love but don’t necessarily need.
The hectic schedule of a young family often dictates the choices of what to feed our kids. After a long day of running at top speed it is difficult to find the time or desire to cook “from scratch” homemade meals every night and often I hear my fellow parents discuss their tendency to give in to their exhaustion and grab a pre-made food item from the freezer or pantry only to feel guilty when discussing with others what they are feeding their kids.
There are many alternatives available for the exhausted home cook that are made in the spirit of those “from scratch” meals our mom’s and grandmothers use to make. Amy’s Kitchen, Morning Star Farms, Boca, and Vegi Patch offer many food options from pizza and mac-n-cheese to microwave burritos and soups to bacon, sausages and corn dogs all made from vegetable sources. Available at national retailers nation-wide (Wal-Mart, Target, Costco) these alternatives provide all the taste and less of the guilt providing a win-win for parents and kids.
So I leave you with this question: Are our kids as “picky” as we think or have we conditioned them to believe that junk food is as American as apple pie? With 2/3 of the US population overweight or obese it is our responsibility to raise a healthier generation that enjoys the freedom to choose and still makes the decision to have healthier choices on their plates. After all children only know what we expose them to and they learn by the examples that we provide. By making a habit out of giving them healthier options from a young age they will learn by practice what they should be eating and the choice will not be such a struggle when they have kids of their own.