March Break is a fantastic time to enroll your kids in the benefits of healthy food choices. Ask most kids what their favourite food is, and you may hear pizza, mac and cheese, penny candy and pop. These foods are high in sugar, flour and salt; these ingredients give them such a rush, that it is no surprise that they crave them. Low in nutrition, these temptations can rob their bodies of key nutrients needed for growing, learning and emotional well-being. Most parents do a great job of feeding their kids healthy food at home but struggle to find healthy food on the road.
Dining out while on vacation with kids can feel like a nutritional minefield. One solution is to download an app on your smart phone (e.g. Urbanspoon) that looks for healthy restaurants. This takes all the mystery out of the menu. Instead of defaulting to the kids’ menu that is often full of items such as deep fried chicken fingers and fries, suggest sharing a classic roasted chicken or roast beef with a broccoli side dish. Instead of looking at the menu in the restaurant, you can give your kids a few healthy choices that you see on the phone and that way, you speed up ordering when you arrive and the greasy fries or ice-cream floats don’t become eye candy that wrecks their young appetites.
The cheaper and fun option if weather permits is packing a picnic and stopping at a government-sponsored rest stop with a nice grassy field where they can safely run around and work off some energy. Make sure to pack a cooler bag with lots of ice so that the food stays safe!
10 ideas for the road:
- Cut up large chunks of fruit and make a natural “Fun-Du” sauce that encourages dipping.
- Sugar free apple and banana chips, or 100% organic fruit leather.
- Organic edamame pods, boiled before you leave home and sprinkled with a bit of sea salt.
- Carrot, zucchini and celery sticks, with nut butter or hummus
- Crunchy dehydrated snacks, e.g. kale chips, chickpea or pea snacks
- Individual green salad or bean salad pre-dressed with herb vinaigrette in glass lock and lock containers.
- Roast chicken or natural roast beef, cut into strips and served with gluten- free tortilla
- Trail Mix or Low sugar/gluten-free granola made into baggies
- Apple sauce cups and yogurt cups
- 100% natural nut and seed bars - sweetened only with honey (watch for symptoms of nut allergy such as airway restriction, rashes, red cheeks)
By adopting some of these great tips you can introduce the power of “The Force” in living foods and build them a foundation that will set them up for a healthy future.
Daniluk, J. Meals That Heal Inflammation, 2012. Random House. Toronto Ontario
About Julie Daniluk
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts The Healthy Gourmet on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her first book, Meals that Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
Check out more amazing recipes, nutrition tips and her Anti-Inflammatory Quick Start Program at www.juliedaniluk.com
Check out Julie on Facebook at Julie Daniluk Nutrition and on Twitter @juliedaniluk