By Melissa Carrier-Damon, MA, CCC-SLP, BCS-S, Therapy Manager, LifeScape Rehabilitation Center
With busy schedules, it is often difficult to eat a healthy, balanced diet. We often resort to easy, ready-to-eat foods by either grabbing fast food or making quick, unhealthy foods that lack nutritional value (i.e. processed chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese). While these foods are acceptable to make on occasion, it can also promote and prolong picky eating in our children. Below are some tips to help with preparing healthy meal options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Don’t wait until morning – prep lunches the night before.
- Get together with a friend and prepare healthy freezer meals/lunches in advance.
- Make hard-boiled eggs and keep them in your fridge for the week for a quick breakfast or lunch.
- Clean and cut fresh vegetables when you get home from the grocery store. Make sure they are completely dry and then you can store them in Ziplocs or storage containers for the week.
- Meal plan – plan out your meals for the week and complete early prep for any of the items that you can.
- Make waffles, pancakes, egg bake (in muffin tins) – and freeze them. You can place them in the microwave or toaster for 60 seconds for an easy breakfast option.
- Instead of frozen/processed chicken nuggets, make your own. These also freeze well, and they are easy to make! Not to mention so much healthier!
- Double a recipe, so that you can eat the same meal for two nights.
- Keep bedtime snacks healthy – nuts, fruits, applesauce (without added sugar), deli meat, sliced cheese, Greek yogurt, etc.
- Sit down and eat as a family as much as possible. If you are not eating with your children, try to at least sit down with them, and make sure the TV and electronic devices are off. This allows you to have your children understand the social aspect of meal times, and also allows you to work with them on eating new foods.
Here are a few favorite websites for ideas on healthy eating and meal prep.
For the most part, kids eat what they are raised to eat, so make sure you take the time to teach good habits. It will benefit your children for the rest of their lives. Bon appétit!