By Allan Richter | Edited by Elena Doxey
Let’s face it – kids will eat anything when they’re hungry, so keeping a well-stocked healthy kitchen full of on-the-go snacks is the first defense from them diving into bags of fat-laden chips and grabbing sugary drinks.
Get your kids involved
Dragging your kids to a crowded grocery store may not sound appealing to most parents, but turning it into a fun family outing could be a great move.
Here are some benefits to getting your kids involved in grocery shopping:
- Shows them healthy alternatives and introduces them to new food options.
- Gives them a hands-on experience to touch, feel and select their healthy snacks in addition to the opportunity of reading and deciphering nutritional labels.
- They may be allowed one “cheat” snack that they can pick themselves as a reward for a good report card, completing chores, or performing community service
It goes without saying that you know what’s best for your kids, but giving them the shared responsibility of choosing the best food selections for the family can bring a sense of unity and appreciation. After all, they’ll be the ones looking for that after-school snack.
What to stock up on
The beauty of having a well-stocked kitchen is that the basic staples for you to whip up various snacks and meals at any given time are already in place.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind while stocking a healthy kitchen:
Quick and easy snacks:
- Pre-cut fresh seasonal fruit (fruit satisfies the sweet tooth and is packed with vitamins and fiber)
- Pre-cut veggies (celery, carrots, broccoli and squash make great dippers)
- Hummus (this chickpea spread is a tasty dip for cut-up veggies or a spread on whole-grain crackers)
- Low-fat or fat-free Greek yogurt (yogurt is a calcium-rich food and a great source of protein to keep kids full before dinner)
- Low-fat cheese
- Skim or 1% milk
- Organic eggs (or egg substitute)
- Bagged salads and low-fat salad dressings
- 100% fruit juice
- Lean, reduced-sodium lunch meat (like turkey and ham)
- Whole grain crackers
- Low-sodium or no-salt pretzels
- Baked chips
- Fiber-rich whole-grain cereal (not the sugar-laden varieties)
- Quick-cooking oatmeal
- Reduced-sodium soup or broth
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Dried fruit
- Nuts, seeds
- Peanut butter or other nut butters
- Low-sugar jelly, jams or preserves
- Whole grain waffles (not the flavored varieties that contain too much sugar)
- Microwave pretzels
- Veggie burgers
We hope this basic guideline to stocking a kid-healthy kitchen will be a helpful tool in keeping your family on track to healthy eating.