I’ve been struggling to get my kids to eat better. They like all of the junk food, and I can’t afford to buy them organic everything at this point in our life. I know it will be a challenge for me as well as for them, but we need to start somewhere. That is why I was so happy when someone told me about the “ABCD Method” of eating healthy!
It turns out that there are four steps you can take with your kids (or even just yourself!) every time you sit down for a meal that will make eating healthy easier and more fun: A-Appetizers; B-Beverages; C-Casseroles; D-Desserts. When you follow these four steps, eating healthy is actually fun!
The A-Appetizer step may be hard for kids since they are used to their snacks. Just about anything would qualify as an appetizer in terms of nutritional value, but if you make it like a game or like magic at dinner time, your kids will love it even more. One idea would be to cut up whole-grain crackers in interesting shapes (hearts, stars, animals) then put vegetables or fruit puree on top of each piece that you serve. You can also do like I like to do and chop up some veggies really small and mix them with your kids’ macaroni and cheese, putting maybe some cheese on top of each serving so they don’t notice.
The B-Beverages section is a big one for kids since they love to drink soda and sweetened fruit juices. If you start out by making homemade lemonade or iced tea, your kids will get used to drinking healthier beverages. You can also experiment with different flavors of sparkling water like coconut pineapple or even just plain strawberry in order to give them something they’re used to, but healthier. Then maybe after a few weeks, you can start giving them carbonated water with fresh fruit juices mixed in!
The C-Casseroles section is important because it is where you can sneak all of those healthy things that your kids won’t eat into their favorite dishes. The best way I’ve found to do this is in the form of a casserole using things like brown rice or whole-grain pasta. You can also add things like pureed carrots, cauliflower and squash into your noodles, bolognese sauce, pizza sauce, etc. Once they get used to it you’ll be surprised how much healthier your family will eat!
The D-Dessert section is where you can make the same kinds of changes without them noticing. Again, use things like pureed fruit instead of sugar in the crust when making a pie, or add whole grain flour and oats to your cookie recipes. You can also leave out the egg yolks and substitute soy yogurt in your baked goods in order to cut the cholesterol and up the protein in each serving. These changes will help them get used to not having sugar-laden desserts all of the time, which is important for their health!
I hope you find this guide helpful. Eating healthy does not have to be hard or boring when you follow these four easy steps.