MY KIDS ARE EATING EVERYTHING!!!!
Is this you?
“My kids are home from school from the summer and all they do is eat. I can’t keep up. My wallet can’t keep up. My fridge is either open or empty or both. My pantry is empty 45 minutes after I fill it. I have to hide food or I won’t have anything to eat for myself.”
If it seems like your kids have turned into Garfield, you are not alone! And, maybe you’re ok with it to some degree. Kids need to grow and have fun and all that stuff.
But, we may have some ideas to help you keep your sanity through it all.
5 TIPS FOR WHEN YOUR KIDS ARE EATING EVERYTHING:
Here are my top five ways to protect yourself from vultures, er, I mean kids-at-home.
1: FRUITS AND VEGGIES
Stock more fruit and veggies than cookie/cracker-like snacks. Whole fruits and vegetables fill the belly faster and keep it full longer than carb-based snacks like crackers or cookies. Full bellies tend not to seek out more food. Not to mention that whole fruits and veggies provide many more vitamins and nutrients that growing bodies need than refined grain snacks.
And I know you may feel like that particular food type might be more expensive than the “cheap-o” commercial snacks. Pound for pound or ounce for ounce, I think they’re either cheaper or equal. You do your own math with your own local prices and see. Make sure to compare price per pound or price per ounce to really know, though. (Not just price per package.)
Example: a package of goldfish might be $1.99 while a package of grapes might be $3.99. But the goldfish are 5 oz and the grapes are 32 oz.)
THEN, when you factor the price per cubic inch (the volume that a food takes up in the stomach), the higher fiber foods of fresh fruits and vegetables are WAY more bang for the buck.
I would also encourage you to factor in the price of healthcare, since fruits and veggies keep us healthier than cookies and crackers. “An apple a day” and all that!
To put it another way, you can buy cheap gas that costs less per gallon doesn’t fuel your car efficiently, or you can buy quality gas that costs more per gallon but gets you farther. If you’re spending $1.39 on a gallon of gas that only gets you 12 miles, is that better or worse than a gallon of gas that costs $1.99 but gets you 20 miles?
I’m just asking you to to apply the same MPG thinking to the fuel that we use for our bodies. In general, better quality might cost more but it will likely get you farther, which actually costs less.
Kids can only eat what you buy. If you only buy fruits and veggies, then that’s what they will eat.
2: PREP IT
Kids are no different from adults in that convenience appeals. (In fact they’re probably worse in that regard!) So make healthy, filling foods CONVENIENT. Cut up veggies. Pre wash fruits. Package in to-go containers. Pretend you work for Nabisco and try to make healthy food that easy. “If you cut it they will come.” Make fruit and veggie and cheese platters and put them out.
It’s like that when you say “My kids are eating everything”, you mean unhealthy snacks. Maybe not always, but I’m guessing that’s true for many of you.
Well, if they like an unhealthy food, replace it with a healthy equivalent. Instead of Popsicle brand
popsicles, with their refined sugars, chemicals, and artificial coloring, make fruit popsicles. Popsicle molds are not expensive and fruit and yogurt and smoothie pops are NOT hard to make.
You could try these Blackberry Popsicles.
If they like bagel bites, buy whole wheat mini bagels and make pizzas out of them (sort of like these English Muffin Pizzas) and freeze them. If they like uncrustables, get some whole wheat bread, unsweetened peanut butter, and some all fruit and make your own. If they like frozen pizzas, make your own. Pretty much nothing the commercial food industry makes is its own concoction…it all stems from something that was was once homemade.
It’s a slightly offensive acronym but it’s also keeping it real. Simple is not bad and complicated is not always better. 57 ingredients is not better than 7. More is not always better; sometimes it’s just more.
So keep it simple.
- Cheese sticks: one ingredient (essentially)
- apple wedges: one ingredient
- grapes: one ingredient
- freeze dried fruit: one ingredient
- hard boiled eggs: one ingredient
- baby carrots: one ingredient
5: THE KITCHEN IS CLOSED
Everyone will have a different opinion on this, but I think it’s is 100% ok to “close”, just like restaurants do. If the kitchen is only open during certain hours, and it’s closed during certain hours, then mindless snacking can be kept to a minimum. If they’re truly hungry, they’ll eat during “open” hours. If they’re not, they’re just bored, then, and they don’t need food to suppress boredom. I’m giving you permission to send them outside so they’re as far away from the kitchen as possible.
I saw on one blogger’s page that she tells her kids to use their “school stomachs”. This makes a lot of sense to me. If they can not eat for hours at a time in school, they can manage to do the same at home. Now, I know you can’t lock them out of the kitchen like restaurants can, but you can enforce a closed kitchen just the same. (I promise they can last from meal to meal. Just remember they do need food at regular intervals.)
SUMMARY: MY KIDS ARE EATING EVERYTHING
The bottom line is this: just because the kids are home for the summer, doesn’t mean they have to eat everything in sight. You CAN fill them up on healthy foods, you CAN make healthy foods convenient, you CAN replace their favorites with similar healthier alternatives, you CAN keep it simple by limiting the number of ingredients on the packaged foods you buy, and you CAN close the kitchen.