Eat This Not That – 3 Healthy Swaps For Kids
With the everyday rush of school drop off (here’s how to make mornings stress free with kids fyi), work, activities and dinner it’s no wonder that we as parents look for quick, easy solutions when it comes to feeding our kids! Unfortunately, many of these quick solutions contain hidden sugars, preservatives and other ingredients that are less than beneficial for a kids developing system. But there’s options! Eat this not that gives you three awesome ideas to swap in place of your kids favorites.
Let’s face it, kids need a lot of nutrients. They’re bodies are constantly growing, recovering and fueling. Between everyday function and staying active, kids need proper nutrients to keep their systems running.
When choosing food for your little ones, the goal is to aim for a snack low in processed sugar and additives but high in nutrients. You want to stimulate their brain development, boost their immune system and of course, keep them full. Cheerios don’t really cut it!
Below are three everyday swaps (eat this not that!) you can make to give your kids a bit more fuel and a bit less sugar.
Yogurt – Go Greek & Go Plain
While we’ve all heard that Greek yogurt contains extra protein, you may not know why we need that protein. Protein is responsible for almost every function in our bodies. It boosts our immune system, helps build our muscles, develops our cells and aids in digestion. Unfortunately, we can only hold a limited supply of protein and thus, it must be replenished daily.
When choosing yogurt aim for a Greek option. Different brands have different consistencies though so you may have to try one or two before you find one your kids like! If you’re not down for Greek yogurt, go full fat.
On top of that, go plain. Flavored yogurts have a ton of added sugar in them (17-30g/serving!) and it’s not all good sugar. It’s easy to throw in some berries, pure maple syrup or honey into a bowl of yogurt at home (here’s a strawberries and cream yogurt parfait to die for!). By doing this, you’ll be giving them a natural energy boost and keeping the sugar content to a minimum.
Oatmeal – Real Oats Not Instant!
Instant oatmeal has been around forever- and with good reason! It’s quick, simple and we all know oats are healthy. However, to make those oats instant they’re often stripped of some pretty vital parts and thus their nutrient profile is diminished. On top of that, most instant oatmeal is prepackaged and comes flavored. This means that your kids will be missing nutrients and loading up on sugar- not a great combo.
Instead, opt for regular oats (or steel cut) and make your own bowls. It might seem like this is a much longer process but cooking regular oats either stove top or with just boiling water still only takes minimal time (check out this pecan pie oatmeal recipe and you’ll never go back to instant!)
To sweeten them add in dried or real fruit, pure maple syrup, honey, nuts, shredded coconut or coconut milk. Anything you make will be far more decadent and MUCH more healthy than instant packages.
Fun Tip: Have you tried overnight oats? This version is perfect as a breakfast or snack for warm summer mornings!
Muffins – Avoid Store Bought & Make Your Own
Muffins are one of my personal favorite snacks for my daughter. They’re quick, easy, portable and they freeze well.
But the best part about muffins is that they are so easy to sneak nutrients into! Store bought muffins, while convenient, rarely have many health benefits. They’re often made with bleached flour, poorly processed oil and loaded with sugar to adjust the flavor. While they may do in a pinch, they certainly don’t provide many benefits.
Homemade muffins are simple to make and freeze well. So instead of making weekly batches, make them in bulk, toss them in the freezer and take them out when you need them. Making your own muffins means you can cut back on processed sugar, use anti-inflammatory oils and sneak in hidden nutrients like zucchini, carrots, chia seeds or almonds. These Almond Zucchini Muffins and Seed Muffins are the going favorites in my house.
Eat this not that! Don’t forget to pin these easy food swaps for kids
Boosting your kids nutrient intake may seem like a bit step. But making small swaps for healthier choices makes a big difference. You’ll be cutting down on their overall sugar intake, reducing processed foods and poor fats and in turn boosting their energy. By making these small swaps your kids will be better fueled to run, grow, play and learn