This may look like a post about cooking, but it’s really about being a leader for your family. You want your kids to be healthy as they grow up, and too much fast food doesn’t fit well with that goal. Even if you have a challenging schedule, you can change the direction of your children’s habits with food. Not the legislators, not the fast food companies, not the advertisers – you, the parent.
The big hump that many parents may need to clear is the habit of reacting as opposed to planning. I know, planning takes work and that isn’t fun if you have a little part of you that wants to feel lazy. I’m saying this because I have that part and I fight the planning too, even when I know it’s a good thing! I’m with you folks, I really am. But planning, even just a little, can make SO many things better. More family time, less stress, and less strain on your wallet.
Here it goes:
Breakfast and snacks – Some fast items that are healthy
Eggs, dried cereals without too much sugar and at least some whole grains, hot cereal, whole grain with peanut butter, dried fruit, whole fruit. More ideas in a long list here.
For easy dinners – (this is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a good start)
Don’t forget about your crock pot. You do the preparation ahead of time and come home to a wonderful smelling meal. Add a bag of frozen veggies or whole grain bread and there you have it.
Check out this section – http://www.makehealthymeals.com/category/recipes/crockpot-and-slow-cooker/ and this entire website dedicated to the slow cooker http://www.slowandsimple.com/.
Another good tip – Take a favorite meal and make a double recipe. You have the fuss once, and you can pull it out of the freezer another time when you need the convenience. See? Now you are making your own fast food! Involve your kids in the cooking on your time table by using the double-recipe method. You could even freeze both portions by making them on the weekend with your kids.
Take It Easy With Baby Steps
You might want to avoid making this an “extreme makeover” by slamming into it all at once. That may be too much change for your family to absorb in one shot. I don’t want you to feel like giving up right when you are getting started. Consider how much your family is already used to the convenience/fast food option and take it from there. Introduce a couple of meals a week or some snacks. Set the alarms fifteen minutes earlier and eat breakfast with your kids. Just take it in baby steps and the transition will move along with you.
After some time, your family will start to see the convenience foods and fast food as a once-in-a-while choice. It’s not front and center anymore. You may do it here and there, but you have a different plan most of the time. And that mindset will keep fast food in its place in your children’s eyes.
Now you have some great tools to help you transition from fast food to good food. Best wishes and good family eating!