We all want to do what’s best for our kids. But we still want them to live their best lives and enjoy every minute of their childhood, right? So how do we indulge them with delicious sweets and treats without setting them up for failure later in life? Well, we have some sweet solutions for you.
How We Develop Taste Preferences
The majority of our taste preferences are developed in the first two years of our lives. Some of these are innate, but most of them are learned. This directly affects our eating behaviors both as children and later in life. It’s important that in our first two years of life we are exposed to a variety of different foods in order to prevent unnecessary exclusions. This refers to whole foods however, and not every item in the sweets aisle!
Convenience food companies and advertising agencies know that the earlier they get your kids onto sugar and sodium, the better for their business long term. High intakes of sodium and sugar early in life are not only linked to childhood obesity, but also health issues later in life such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Indulge Your Kids in a Healthy Way
Kids will naturally enjoy sweet and salty foods, just like we do. Despite your best efforts to avoid giving your child treats, at some stage (the next birthday party or school break time), they will get a taste for chocolate, ice cream and all sorts of salty treats. Here are some tips for success in raising healthy children:
1. Make it Yourself
Convenience foods are attractive by their very nature, but they will almost always contain excess salt, sugar or unhealthy fats. This is especially true when it comes to treats! Pinterest is a literal goldmine of recipes for you to make healthier alternatives to almost any treat on the market. See our recipe below, and visit www.lifestylehealth.co.za for more delicious recipes.
2. Normalize Balance
It is okay to have “regular” treats from time to time. We never want to create negative emotions (guilt, fear, anxiety) in relation to foods. Eating healthy foods should NEVER be seen as a punishment or restrictive type of diet. Make every effort to avoid creating negative emotions when it comes to healthy foods by allowing your children to have some store-bought or so-called “regular” treats when it comes to special functions, within reason, of course.
3. Prepare for Success
Wherever possible, try to start early with introducing healthy foods to your child and speaking positively about their role in everyday life. Healthy foods should be commonplace in the home and preferably be a part of normal life. Simply present healthy foods as ones that you as a family eat the majority of the time, and your children are more likely to grow up with the taste for them.
4. Set an Example
Ever heard the saying “do what I say not what I do”? Well, this is not the way to encourage our children to choose a healthy lifestyle. It is important that the main role models in your child’s life (generally the parents) also do their best to mostly eat healthy foods and engage in regular activity. This again serves to make sure that a healthy and balanced lifestyle is the norm.
5. Encourage Activity
Following on from the above, family activity is a must. Go for walks together, cycle together, play sports outdoors, get down to the beach, or get to park run as often as you can. Not only are these important family bonding moments, but they also will encourage activity from an early age. Again, we want regular activity to be the norm for your children. This sets them up for success later in life.
6. Teach at All Times
Now I’m not saying you should ever give harsh lectures to your kids on healthy foods. Encourage them to rather be curious about the benefits of different nutrients. Just get a handle on the basics of why vegetables for example are included in your own diet (i.e. for fiber, vitamins and minerals to help your body be strong and avoid illness). Then you can convey this to your kids so that they have a basic understanding from an early age.
7. Upgrade Household Snacks
“But mom there’s nothing in the fridge to eat” has got to be one of the phrases driving parents to madness. Keep fresh fruits, nuts and seeds, homemade granola bars or other healthy snacks around at all times. If you keep fruit in bowls on the counter in the house, your children will be more likely to reach for these and hopefully avoid asking the madness-inducing phrase above.
Take Away Message
Encourage healthy food and regular exercise the majority of the time. That way your children can also have treats in their lives and enjoy special occasions without fear of punishment or guilt. When we are overly restrictive, we may encourage an unhealthy relationship with food without meaning to. Treat your children with healthier options wherever possible, but don’t go into a panic over them having one slice of cake at a birthday party.
LOW CARB EASTER EGGS
These easter eggs are a delicious treat for your family. They’re low carb & guilt free.
Instead of spending too much money on chocolate you will only regret eating, how about making your own healthy Easter eggs?
• 3/4 cup almond flour
• 250g almond nut butter
• 3/4 cup desiccated coconut
• 2 Tbsp coconut oil
• 3/4 cup powdered eyrthritol
• 180g dark chocolate (70% or darker)
• 4 Tbsp ghee/butter
1. In a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut, and erythritol.
2. Over medium-low heat melt almond butter and coconut oil.
3. Once melted, add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
4. Spread onto a parchment lined baking tray to desired thickness.
5. Refrigerate for about 2 hours or until set.
6. Using a small oval cookie cutter, cut out as many egg shapes as possible (either eat or reform any scraps into a single layer and cut out more eggs.)
7. Place the eggs back in the refrigerator to harden again.
8. Over a double boiler, melt the chocolate and ghee. Whisk to combine.
9. Dip the eggs, one at a time and cover with chocolate.
10. Place the dipped eggs on a plate/dish lined with parchment paper and place in the fridge to set (about 30 minutes).