Healthy Eating Tips for Families
As I get older, I’m becoming more and more aware of my body and what goes into it. No longer is it okay to survive off of all things greasy, sticky, and instant. And I can’t help but to now look at hot dogs with a mistrustful side-eye. (Check out the video below to see the disgusting hot dog making process. Anyone up for encased animal fat and corn syrup? Yum.)
As a relatively new matriarch of my family (my kids are only two) I’m just beginning to accept my role as the example setter and general leader of the group. What mommy does, the family does. This has become most apparent when it comes to what it is my family eats. My children, in particular, can of course only eat what I make available.
I realized very quickly that that mega box of variety chips that I kept in the house for my kid’s “after nap” snack just wasn’t going to cut it; and I was the only one who could change it. I kept reading studies online about how there’s a direct correlation between the foods that kids eat and their subsequent behavior. Tons of sugars and starches equal higher chances of tantrums and breakdowns. With twin 2-year-olds, I dang sure didn’t want that.
With all this being said, I’ve always been a firm believer that no sugar meant no taste, and less fat meant… less fun; and all natural equated to more expensive. I’ve recently discovered, though, that this isn’t always true; and thanks to a few friends’ suggestions, I started to explore some other snack food options to see if I could find something better and more nutritious for my family and me to eat.
Here are a couple of the pleasant surprises:
Now, I know what you’re thinking, ‘Seaweed chips? Gross!’ I said the same thing at first. A friend of mine yanked them out of her purse one day to munch on, and I thought that she was insane; but I’ve always been one to try a food at least once before I knocked it; so I tried it, and I loved them. Believe it or not, they’re very addictive.
They’re slightly salty and wonderfully crispy. I liken them to eating the perfectly seasoned and grilled skin of a fresh fish. Yes, liking seafood is a prerequisite for enjoying these. My kids and my husband absolutely LOVE them. We all were around to try the ones that my friend had brought. By the time we got past the initial shock of the first bite, we were eager for another… and another… and another. We made easy work of her entire package and were dying to run out and get our own.
The health benefits of these little crispy wafers of seafood goodness are numerous. If you eat a 6g package of seaweed chips, you’re only taking in 30 calories. If you eat the same amount of potato chips you’re taking in almost double the calories. Not only that, but seaweed chips are a great source of potassium, iron, and the thyroid regulating mineral iodine. Win, win!
The only downside to these treats is that you probably won’t find them at your commercial grocer. You’ll have to take a trip to your Whole Foods, or Farmer’s Market to get them; but they’re super cheap (like three or four dollars for a pack of three). So I’d say they’re well worth the trip.
This kid friendly snack you may be more familiar with. Vegetable fries have become my families new favorite snack. They’re an easy “after nap” snack for my kids that I don’t have to feel as guilty about.
Now, by no means can these chips replace any real vegetable intake. They don’t have even a third of the vitamins and general health benefits that eating real vegetables has, but a regular serving has half the fat and carbs that a serving of potato chips does. I’d consider that a win in my book.
These you can find at pretty much any grocery store. My family happens to be partial to the Sensible Portions brand of straws. The price is comparable to purchasing a bag of regular potato chips, so I encourage you to give them a try.
The family and I wanted to take our healthy eating a step further, so we decided to explore reasonably priced restaurants that provided all natural, healthy food options. The results were interesting to say the least. Tune in tomorrow for part II of my healthy family eating series!