It can be incredibly difficult to get your kids eating healthy meals and snacks. When they leave for school, who knows what they are eating. A lot of kids will trade their food during the lunch break, meaning you can never truly know what your child is eating throughout the day. A lot of the time, your child is trading their food because it’s become monotonous and repetitive. Finding creative inspiration in the kitchen, however, can be an arduous task. Throw in a full-time job, dinner preparations and other domestic chores and let’s face it, lunch the next day is the furthest thing from your mind. So, if you’re struggling to get your kids to eat convenient and healthy lunch meals, here are several tips on how to improve the situation.
Have regular family meals
One of the best ways to get your children eating healthy and consistently is to have regular family meals. Now, this might sound like a lot of effort and time, but you can prepare some delicious, nutritious meals with limited ingredients and effort. Take for example this serrano and rocket risotto, which takes only about 45 minutes to prepare. All you need is a bag of rice, some rocket, parmesan, garlic, serrano ham (great for the kids), red onion and vegetable stock.
Cooking a delicious risotto is a great option for many reasons. Firstly, you can easily use the leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch, so you’re effectively cooking for two meals. Secondly, serrano is an incredibly delicious type of Spanish ham, certain to go down well with any picky-eater. Having regular, set meal times will minimise how often your kids are snacking, meaning they won’t go reaching for those potato chips after school.
Talk to your kids about what they like
You could put hours and hours into preparing a delicious, home-cooked meal, only for your children to turn their noses up and want something else. Naturally, this can be incredibly frustrating for you as a parent. Time is limited when you have a family to provide for. To speed up the process, talk to your kids about what they like and dislike. Children can be quite picky about specific foods, so ask them!
Furthermore, get them involved in the actual cooking process. When you go shopping for ingredients, start teaching your kids about what they need to be looking for (the good and the bad). A lot of kids will like being given responsibility and thrive off being able to help in the kitchen.
Home-cooking is better than ordering in
There’s no doubt that there are some healthy and convenient local restaurants to order takeaway from. However, you don’t want to create a home environment where your children prefer ordering in food as opposed to a genuine, home-cooked meal (pre-prepared option). Ordering takeaway should be a luxury, not a necessity. Indeed, there is a direct link between families outsourcing their daily meals and a large fall in healthy eating habits.
At the end of the day, you want to be preparing most meals for your family. This gives you greater control over what your kids are consuming and will help maximise the health content of every meal.
If you’re sick, keep away from the kitchen as much as possible
If you come down with a stomach bug or a head cold, it’s important that you keep away from the kitchen. If you simply can’t get out of bed, ask your spouse or one of your older children to sort out something simple, like a breakfast smoothie or some fried rice. There are plenty of kid-friendly recipes that are healthy and easy for kids to whip up – could be the perfect option for Mother’s Day. You don’t want your kids getting sick, but at the same time you want to be preparing their food for them. If you are the only one that can cook, then remember the key is to minimise your time in the kitchen to reduce the spread of bacteria. Make sure you wash your hands before handling the ingredients. Just because you’re sick doesn’t mean your kids’ diets should suffer.