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Healthy Routine for Your Children

By Dana Yarn, RDLDhealthy routine for children

If there is one thing that I learned after having 2 babies and 1 on the way is children are like little puppies they thrive off routine.  With my first baby I did not realize how important this was, but looking back my bedtime routine was all over the place, and she was the most difficult baby to try to sleep through the night.   When my second was born last Spring I made a commitment to try to keep his night time routine the same every night, with bath, music, feedings, timing, etc. and he is really easy to go down.  I have noticed that providing a healthy nutrition routine (similar to a bedtime routine) for my 3 year old and even my teenage step son has given successful results and they understand their daily nutrition requirements. 

The first thing that we do every day is have a balanced breakfast, I try to avoid the quick cereal option because it only keeps them full for a short period of time and more importantly the lack of protein and healthy fats will cause a spike then drop in insulin resulting in poor energy and concentration in school.  Balanced breakfast options include:

  • Egg and Ezekiel or gluten free toast with almond or peanut butter
  • Oatmeal or quinoa with chopped nuts, fruits and almond milk
  • Smoothie with unsweetened fruit, almond or coconut milk, and Greek yogurt (you can even throw spinach in there and they won't taste it).

Lunch is best if it can be packed and sent from home.  As much as the schools are trying to make healthy lunch options available it's hard for a child to make a healthy decision when chicken nuggets or pizza is an option. I usually pack both my preschooler and teenager a Ezekiel or gluten free PB&J, some fruit, carrots, a crunchy snack like gluten free white cheddar puffs, and if I have something sweet made like a homemade protein bar that goes too. My daughter does not eat everything at once she typically has snacks in the morning and afternoon, and my teenage athlete eats his large portions at lunch and saves some snacks for after his weight training class and for his last period before after school practices being. 

If we have planned out the week, dinner is always thought of ahead of the time so the meat is thawed and whatever prep needs to be done is done.  My kids know that there will always be a vegetable, protein and usually a starch.  Some staple balanced meals that we have are:

  • Bun less burgers, sweet potato fries and tossed salad
  • Gluten free lasagna with steamed green vegetable or tossed salad
  • Chicken skewers with rice

All of these options are kid friendly and balanced providing them with adequate calories, protein, fats and complex carbohydrates. 

Daily nutrition routines for your children could include:

  • At least 2 servings of fruit and 3 of vegetables
  • Protein at each meal
  • Drinking half of their body weight in ounces of water per day
  • A daily multi-vitamin
  • Healthy fats at each meal and snack including nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc.

If you keep this routine up your child will feel better, and more importantly they will know that they cannot beg for sugary processed snacks until they have consumed enough water, fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein each day. 

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