Fun with Food: A Powell Pack Guide to Healthy Habits

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No matter what your family make-up is—from one to twenty-one—good nutrition can truly be a family affair! And when the whole family is involved, it can be fun, educational, and life changing. There are few things I feel more passionately about than teaching my kids how to feed their bodies, because I know having a healthy, good-nutrition-filled body makes it so much easier to make your dreams come true!

While some of these ideas are definitely kid-centered, hopefully everyone in every type of family can take away some ideas that are useful.

Family Nutrition

Educate everyone

Teach the kids about proteins, smart carbs, veggies, and healthy fats, and how they all work together to keep you feeling healthy and happy. Teaching kids good nutrition from a young age is crucial and will set them up for a lifetime of good health. Teach your kids why veggies are better than potato chips, or why fruit is better than fruit snacks!

Teach the kids by example that healthy = yummy.

Talk about healthy foods in positive ways, and make sure you have lots of healthy options available. Fruits, veggies, Greek yogurt, and gluten-free snacks are some of our favorites. Keep the junk food out! If your cupboards are full of unhealthy snacks, that’s what the kids will go for—don’t even offer them!

Eat together.

Yes, I know. Boy, do I know. Everyone—from kids to parents—is crazy busy! But studies show that there are so many benefits from simply enjoying a few family meals every week. And here’s a big plus, everyone will have a chance to unplug, unwind, and enjoy some human interaction!

Forego that membership to the “clean plate club.”

Yes, it’s important to not waste food, but let your kids stop eating when their tummies are full, no matter what’s left on their plates. They’ll learn to listen to their bodies to understand when they are hungry or full, and they’ll develop healthy eating habits too!

Always eat your protein first.

Protein is essential for those growing bodies. Protein helps keep the immune system strong and healthy, builds and repairs muscles, and also fuels kids up so they can continue to run at 100 miles per hour! So make sure they start with protein before filling up on all those healthy carbs. Protein is also very satisfying, so everyone stays fuller longer. :)

Don’t say “no” to any foods.

Make sure they eat their healthy foods first, and that the  “treat” type foods are eaten in moderation. We all know that depriving ourselves of something we really want only makes us want it more, and when we finally get the chance to indulge, we way overindulge! Kids are no different. It’s all about teaching them—and exemplifying—a healthy relationship with food.

Cook together.

What better way to teach your kids about healthy eating than to have them help you plan, shop for, prepare, and cook all those nutritious foods?! One of the bonuses? Once they’ve developed some cooking skills, you won’t have to cook as much! ;) Cooking the food themselves also gets kids “invested” in what they are eating, and they will have more interest in eating the food they’ve prepared! Already have some budding chefs in your kitchen? You can get your kids their own little Chef Hat, a Fruit and Veggie Prep Kit, and an Apron, and they will not only beg you to join in on the cooking, but they will be excited to eat the food they helped prepare!

Make food fun and get creative!

There are so many creative and easy things you can do to make mealtime fun, and you are only limited by your imagination. Try serving lunch in a muffin tin, or cutting a sandwich with a cute cookie cutter. Changing things up a little will keep your kids interested and they might even be more willing to try something new! I found these playful dinner plates where kids can create funny characters using their food. Imagine the fun kids they’ll have! And follow me on Pinterest for more kid friendly food ideas.

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Lastly, don’t give up!

It can take anywhere from 7-15 times of trying a new food before your child might like it. As frustrating as this process can be, remember that all your efforts will be worth it in the end when your kids want to eat lots of different healthy foods, so keep trying!

Make good nutrition a family affair—it’s a total win-win for everyone!

 

 

 


17 Comments

  1. Patricia Corripio - July 28, 2014

    Olá pessoal , nós brasileiros ainda não temos a versão do livro em Portugues. Eu gostaria muito de ler e realizar as atividades ,também preciso de um cardapio para seguir , pois sou iniciante e vegetariana. Será que voces, podem me ajudar?

    Obrigada

    • Team Powell - July 28, 2014

      (Traduzido usando o Google Translator) Infelizmente, o livro só está disponível em Inglês agora.

  2. shannon - July 25, 2014

    The best smoothie I have found with Kale is this one.

    Kale,
    spinach,
    I add berries
    maybe an orange
    and some carrots.
    It gives the sweetness. If they ask why it is green tell them it is their favorite Cartoon characters special drink.
    Become creative. Like it is called the spongebob under the ocean drink.
    Batmans green batmobile drink.

    Then tell them to be like that they have to drink it. Then tell them that Mr. Chris said to drink it up and he/she will be strong like him. LOL seems to work.

  3. Tiffany Cavegn - July 23, 2014

    Can you provide some advice on protein sizes for kids? I’m assuming using the size of their palm and fist is just as good for them as it is for adults, but do they need the same number of servings? Are there some things – like dairy – that they need more of? If I let my kids eat their own portion sizes, then they eat 4 times as many non-veggie carbs and only two bites of protein, so that’s not teaching them a balance either. Do I need to even worry about this if my own plate is balanced?

    On another note, I have heard that children of two obese parents (like me) have an 85% chance of being obese themselves. Have you heard any statistics like that?

    Cheers, Tiffany

    • Tiffany Cavegn - July 23, 2014

      BTW – they eat their veggies just fine! I’m so proud of that accomplishment. My 5-year-old eats raw sweet peppers like they were apples! But, he won’t eat any cooked veggies. Is it a problem if they only eat the ones that are good raw (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, 4 colors of peppers, celery)? They eat just about any fruit. Are they missing some essential nutrients on this short list? I haven’t found a kid-friendly shake that adds kale or spinach, so if you have one of those too, that would be great.

  4. Bethe - July 22, 2014

    Great tips for this new mama (especially the plates–those are destined to make dinner more fun)! I’ve learned with my one-year-old to feed her all of the best foods first (like her grilled chicken, veggies, and fresh blueberries) and only after she’s done to give her bread. Otherwise she’ll ignore everything on her plate. Ps–I’m down 19 pounds in 3 months and below my pre-baby weight by simply counting calories and switching to a healthier eating lifestyle–no crazy diets! Your show has been a huge inspiration to me–thank you!

  5. Meg - July 20, 2014

    This is great. I live with a 3 year old and I love making him healthy versions of kids favourite foods and enjoy watching him eat them. We have plates that have faces on them too and even I like eating off them :)

  6. Amy - July 19, 2014

    These are some GREAT tips, and I plan on using these when I can. Thank you so much for sharing!

  7. Heidi - July 19, 2014

    Thanks Heidi this is fantastic info! Wondering if you have any ideas how to help change habits of older kids and get them to embrace eating better? I recently got married and my stepson is 12 :) … he won’t eat anything ‘healthy’ other than green beans and strawberries. :( Unfortunately his father is the same way … HELP!

    • Team Powell - July 19, 2014

      That can be a tough one! Maybe try introducing new things gradually, and asking him to at least take one bite. Does he like salad? That’s often a great way to help kids get the veggies they need. Hope that helps…and good luck! :)

  8. Faith - July 19, 2014

    Hi Heidi, thanks for being such an inspiration! I am down 28 lbs and counting by carb cycling. I have been running into something that seems to derail my progress for a week or two every month. Something only a woman can understand, and something I can’t in any way avoid! I stay on track, drink well over a gallon of water every day, make sure to watch my sodium, and I still gain. It is discouraging. What do you suggest?

    • Team Powell - July 19, 2014

      This is pretty common, unfortunately. :( During those times, stick to the plan, don’t give into those cravings, make sure you’re exercising as outlined in the plan, and know that this, too, shall pass, and hopefully any weight gained is only temporary. And know you’re not alone. ;)

  9. nadia - July 18, 2014

    Hi heidi
    Thanks for all your tips on nutrition! You re so inspiring. I have three boys 5,3 and 4 monthes and i m trying to teach them the importance of healthy food. I m overweight and i don t want them to face that problem when they grow old. I have opened my eyes when i started looking at your show and realize how important it was to get fit and healthy. Thanks to you i started to cook real food and introduce for the whole family veggies… It s gonna be a long journey to change all those bad habits but i know as well that it s crucial for my kids future! I ve already lost 15 pounds in 1 month without diet as i m still breastfeeding and just by getting real of junk food ( trust me there is a lot here in france as well!!!) and eating healthy meals. Thanks again for what you do you and your husband. You have no idea how you have helped me feeling better and help me set up goals to get a healthy life for my kids and i! The more i watch you show the most i m motivated and i didn t happened since at least 10 years now. You re a wonderful woman and a great mum a real model for all of us. God bless you and you re whole family. A french fan :-) xo

    • Team Powell - July 18, 2014

      This is awesome – thank you for sharing it with us! And congrats on your weight loss! :)

  10. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward - July 18, 2014

    Heidi, You have some excellent tips here. Your kids are going to grow up healthy and strong! The ideas to not have “the clean plate club” and to continually introduce novel fruits, vegetables and whole grains are definitely rules for families to follow! As for eating the protein first – that’s a great idea, if the plates are separated into protein/veg/carb. My husband and I have a new and fun salad before every dinner, every night, which is another great way to get the most out of your meals! I make my own vinaigrettes to keep it clean. Cheers, Shanna

  11. Em - July 18, 2014

    What are your thoughts of squash “spaghetti” noodles rather than real pasta? I find I am gluten intolerant and I heard this type of “spaghetti” was a great alternative. I have never tried it. What are your thoughts?

    Love your tips on healthy eating AND the fun food pictures. I’ll have to give those a try! =)

    Thank you!

    Kindest Regards,
    Em

    • Brenda - July 22, 2014

      I am also gluten intolerant. I like the “veggie” pasta (spaghetti squash) but my husband doesn’t. I bought one of the string slicers and used it on a zucchini to put on a GF pizza last night. He likes zucchini, so I will use this instead.

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