Help Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits

Wellness expert Brooke Thomas shares her advice.

From Brooke: When I was a kid, I knew it would be a good day when a classmate had a birthday—before the day was over, a mom would show up with a big box of donuts or cupcakes. I mean, who doesn’t like a good celebration?! Now that I have kids in school, it seems like there's a celebration every other day, and treats are a weekly occurrence. Our kids face temptations at every turn. The solution is to teach them good habits while they are little so that they're equipped to make healthy choices for themselves as they grow.

Be a role model

I try to educate my girls on why I choose certain foods over another. When we're shopping or cooking together, I explain that certain foods can affect their moods, help their brains perform better in school or help their bodies perform better as athletes.

Take them to the grocery store

Kids often learn best when you show them, rather than tell them. Show them the funny sounding names of the ingredients in processed foods. Let them pick out their own healthy snacks for after school. Understanding how food works and what labels mean gives them power to decide.

Have fun in the kitchen

Go ahead and let your kids help with the meal planning. I understand that sometimes it’s easier to get dinner on the table if you just do it yourself, but if your kids help you make a healthy dish, they'll be more likely to eat it. My daughters and I blast their favorite music while we talk and cook.

Never use the word "skinny"

Talking about being "skinny" can send a dangerous message about food. We don’t want children to feel bad about their bodies. Talk about how food can make them strong, healthy, energetic and happy. Your kids won’t always make the choices you want them to make about food, but keeping the lines of communication open around their health, their bodies and how food relates to all of it is a good step toward a healthier future. I am all about living life to the fullest. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating on occasion and enjoying a treat. Just remember that not all treats need to be packed full of sugar and fat. There are healthier options that are every bit as delicious, like my easy weeknight bison cups or happy tummy lasagna.

Help Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Sweet Potato Fries
By Brooke Thomas
Ingredients 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into strips 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil ½ teaspoon sea salt Pinch of cayenne pepper
Directions Preheat oven to 450°.
Toss sweet potato wedges in oil, salt and pepper.
Spread the potato strips out on a baking sheet.
Bake about 20 minutes until browned and tender, turning once about.

 

Download recipe card here

 

 
Help Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Black Bean Brownie Cupcakes
By Brooke Thomas from 360YourLife
Ingredients 1 can black beans, drained ½ cup cocoa powder 4 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil ½ cup coconut palm sugar 1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract 3 large eggs ½ cup Shaklee Instant Protein ¼ teaspoon sea salt ¼ cup water ½ cup organic dark chocolate chips
Directions Add the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) all together and blend.
Add chocolate chips by hand and stir well.
Grease a muffin/cupcake pan with coconut oil and pour in batter.
Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes.

 

Download recipe card here

 

 
Help Your Kids Develop Healthy Habits
Fabulous Fudgesicles
By Brooke Thomas from 360YourLife
Ingredients 1 can full fat coconut milk ½ cup cacao powder ¼ cup pure maple syrup
Directions In bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
Pour into molds and freeze.

 

Download recipe card here

 

 

For more from Brooke, see her recent columns and visit her online at 360 Your Life. She offers free recipes and practical solutions for healthy living each month in her weekly newsletter. Sign up on her website. Images courtesy of Brooke Thomas.

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