I’d like to think that I’m the kind of parent who knows exactly what her kids should eating at any given time, and how much. The kind of parent who’ll—for example—whip up homemade date-and-nut energy bars or lemon sports drink before heading out on the trail or slopes. Or like the French parents in the red hot bestseller Bringing up Bebe, who only let their kids snack once a day. Très bien!
But the truth is, I'm still learning to cook, and most days it’s hard enough to get two young girls and their gear out the door. So I settle with stuffing so-called “healthy, organic" store-bought bars, cheese sticks, and dried fruit into their packs, which I then shamelessly use as bribes: “Let’s walk out to the river overlook,” I said yesterday in gale force winds on a hike above the Rio Grande, “and you can have some snap pea crisps when we get there!” And juice boxes? Guilty. Only in our house, we call it “river juice” or “adventure juice" in an attempt to limit it to true outdoor epics.
Trail running on Trader's Trail, outside of Taos, really takes it outta ya. [photo: Katie Arnold]
Fortunately, for those of us who need a little assistance in the feeding department, the blog Raise Healthy Eaters is crammed with practical, sensible advice for nourishing active, outdoor kids. Written by registered dietician and mother Maryann Jacobsen, it also has great recipes, like this one for easy homemade granola bars, when you need portable snacks for long days on the go. If you’re a newbie to the blog, start with today's post, “The 10 Essentials to Raising Happy Eaters.” It’s a superb intro to pretty much everything you need to know on this topic, including how to reverse bad habits now before they’re ingrained, how to (re)establish Snack Authority, and how to plan simple, nutritious family meals (without losing your mind). Crucial stuff if you want to raise kids who are strong in their bodies, curious, healthy, and kind. We like to call them Rippers.
Here's a taste of Jacobsen's top 10 tips:
1.Divide Responsibility: Parents decide the what, whenand where of feeding and kids choose the whether and how much of eating. When feeding gets off track, ask yourself if it’s because you are trying to take over your kids’ job (controlling their intake) or they are taking over yours’ by dictating meal choices.
2. Schedule Meals and Snacks: When kids don’t know when there next meal is coming they can get insecure about food, but if they have unlimited access to food (and they graze) they may never build up an appetite for meals or end up overeating.
3. Eat together: Family meals don't always have to be dinner. Look at your schedule and eat together as often as you can, including weekends. Here are some tips for maximizing the power of family meals.
Read the full post at www.raisehealthyeaters.com.