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How To Get Children To Eat Their Veggies

How To Get Children To Eat Their Veggies

As parents, we know that our children should be eating veggies every day to help them grow and keep them healthy.  It should be easy; feed them a variety of vegetables when they start eating solids and voila!  They will love eating them as they grow up.   Unfortunately, for most kids, it's not going to be so simple.  

Many kids dislike vegetables.  It may be the color, smell, texture or flavor.  Don't get frustrated or give up trying.  Keep in mind that what works with one child may not work with another.  For example, all three of my children liked veggies when they were babies and toddlers but as they grew each one's taste was different.  My eldest son (now a young man) as a child pleaded with us, asking to not have to eat his vegetables.  My teenage son always loved to eat salad with veggies while my youngest daughter cringes at the sight of anything green! 

So what can be done to encourage a child to eat his veggies?  Below is a list of recommendations that may help.  

  • Repetition - Offer the vegetable and if your child doesn't try it, offer it again next time it's prepared.
  • Enjoy eating vegetables yourself.   Does your child see you enjoy eating vegetables?
  • Try the sweeter vegetables, such as peas or carrots. 
  • Try different colored vegetables.  
  • Prepare your vegetables different ways.  Raw, cooked, baked, sauté, etc.  
    • Try with different seasonings or toppings
  • Get your kids involved. Have your child help you pick the vegetables from the market.
    • Older children can help with cooking their own vegetables
  • Blend vegetables into a fruit smoothie.
Meal Prepping

Meal Prepping

Meal prepping is important for the busy person (especially working moms and dads) that are trying to eat healthy. Here are a few tips to make meal prep day a little easier not only for you but for the entire family.

  1. Have your containers ready. Glass containers are our my favorite to use.  If you have room in your budget, I highly recommend investing in them. There are other options as well, such as BPA free, dishwasher safe plastic containers.
  2. Schedule your prep day.  For my family, Sunday is the big cooking day.  My husband is the “chef” of the house, and will have several pots, pressure cooker and slow cooker all going at the same time.  Pick what day will work out best for you and try to stick with it.
  3. Focus on meals that are full of nutrients, easy to digest and perfect to store in the fridge after cooked. Beans and grains are a great example of this. Beans are full of fiber and antioxidants.  Cooking a pot of black beans (add in disease fighting onions, garlic, and cumin) as well as a pot of brown or white rice, will give you enough servings for 4-5 people (2-3 meals week). Grains and beans are a perfect protein when combined, and easy to add to any meal.  Think tacos, burritos, brown-rice bowels, even salads.
  4. Begin with foods that need the longest time to cook.  While these are cooking, you can start with prepping the veggies and fruits.
  5. Wash and chop up your leafy greens. Spinach, kale, broccoli and cabbage are some of our favorites.  Add these healthy vegetables to any lunch or dinner.
  6. Wash and peel fruits.  Gather your smoothie fruits in containers for use later in the week.  Or use portion control containers for fruits that you like snacking on such as grapes, berries, and melon.
  7. Have fun!  Always remember, how you cook these meals, is much better than any meal you can order at your closest restaurant in town. Nobody is going to put the love you put into creating meals with valuable ingredients you personally selected based on your family’s needs.
  • Maday Labrador
  • Tags: Meals
10 Tips To Reduce Stomach Bloating

10 Tips To Reduce Stomach Bloating

We all know the feeling.  Swelling and discomfort of the stomach.  That uncomfortable feeling of being too full, that can last too long.  Bloating can be caused by intestinal gas as well as constipation, gut sensitivity, and gastroparesis (delayed stomach emptying).  There are things you can do to help prevent and reduce bloating.  Here are 10 tips to reduce stomach bloating quickly.

  1. Add anti-bloating food into your diet.  Such as celery, ginger, papaya, pineapple, zucchini, watermelon, cucumbers, asparagus, green tea.
  2. Find out if you have a food intolerance.  You may find that certain foods are harder for you to digest, such as food that contain lactose, fructose, or gluten.  Keep a food diary. If you notice that your bloating is occurring after eating a certain food, remove it from your diet or take a digestive enzyme supplement that will help digest that particular food (see#5).
  3. Slow down when eating.  Be mindful of what you are eating and really enjoy it.  As a result, this will help you to not overeat.
  4. Don’t drink through a straw.  You can avoid swallowed air that can cause gas and bloating.
  5. Take digestive enzymes.  Enzymes help reduce occasional gas and bloating by supporting digestion of foods.  I recommend taking enzymes at the beginning of a meal.
  6. Increase water intake.  Carbonated drinks, sugars and artificial sweeteners in drinks can cause gas and bloating.  Water is a much better choice! It helps flush out waste from the body.  Even better yet, add a lemon to your water.  Lemon water is a natural diuretic.
  7. Take probiotics.  Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can support a healthy balance of bacteria in the gut.
  8. Avoid greasy foods.  High fat, greasy foods can wreak havoc on your digestive system. Plus many of these foods are high in sodium which can make bloating worse.
  9. Exercise.  Try a walk after eating to help with digestion.  Exercise can also help prevent constipation.
  10. Reduce salt intake.  Too much sodium can cause the body to retain water therefore contribute to a swollen tummy.
  • Maday Labrador
  • Tags: Bloating
Inexpensive Superfoods

Inexpensive Superfoods

Unfortunately eating healthy can be more expensive but there are exceptions. Here is a list of tasty, superfoods that have a low cost per serving.

Lentils: High in fiber, plant-based protein and minerals like iron, magnesium and zinc. Also may help with digestion and gut bacteria. Easily add lentils to a salad or make a hearty lentil soup.

Kale: High in vitamin K and A, lutein and zeaxanthin. Besides using kale in soups and salads, you can add kale to your smoothie. Or sauté with vegetables as a side dish.

Red Cabbage: Part of the family of awesome cruciferous vegetable. Full of vitamins C and K, fiber, and detoxifying compounds. Contains anthocyanin, an antioxidant for heart and brain health. Great to add to a detox salad.

Chia seeds: Contains fiber, antioxidants, calcium, iron, a complete protein, high in omega 3 fatty acids. You must try chia seed pudding. You can also add them to yogurt or your favorite smoothie.

Broccoli: Similar benefits of red cabbage. Full of B vitamins, vitamin C and calcium as well as glucoraphanin – an antioxidant that supports your body’s detoxification pathway. You can buy frozen broccoli for extra cost savings. Easily add to any lunch or dinner, raw, steam or sauté.

Green tea: Delivers potent antioxidants, like EGCG. Also a natural source of l-theanine an amino acid. Sip on hot or cold green tea during the day.

Oats: Rich in thiamine, magnesium, phosphorous and manganese. The fiber in oats may also reduce your hunger by making you feel fuller longer and stabilize sugar levels. Easy to make for breakfast. Try to stay away from instant oats which are the most highly processed variety.

Sweet potatoes: Packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. One of the healthiest starches to include in your diet. There are lots of different sweet potato healthy recipes: oven roasted, soups, pancakes, and mash, to name a few.

Carrots: Rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, vitamin K, vitamin A. Easy to add to any meal raw, steamed or cooked.

Black beans: Like lentils, high in fiber and protein, black beans help with digestion and gut health. Also packed with antioxidants. Combine with brown rice for a complete protein meal. Can also be added to salads, and taste wonderful as a soup or bean dip.

Bananas: Provide not only potassium but a variety of vitamins and minerals. Great as a snack or an addition to a healthy dessert.

  • Maday Labrador
  • Tags: Meals