The Frugal Guide on Healthy Eating for Your Little One
Encouraging a healthy lifestyle on children always start with the example their parents set for them. Including them in bike rides, running with them in your jogging stroller, and making healthy choices in snacks.
When children make decisions, it will often reflect on the options their parents gave them. If you give fruit, the child will most likely choose fruit. If given snack cakes, a child will probably want junk food.
Encouraging your child to eat healthy on a budget can be difficult, but I have got a few tips to help you help your toddler to eat healthily!
Healthy Eating on A Budget
Money is always something that crosses our minds when we are trying to eat healthily. Planning your finances to work around coupons, ads, sales, and the food you want your family to can be overwhelming and take up much time, but it will be worth the savings!
There are some tasks you can do before even heading out to the grocery store!
Fresh vs. Frozen
Some parents believe that fresh fruit is always better than frozen. That is not always true. If you get real fruit that is frozen for smoothies, then use it for smoothies! Smoothies are healthy drinks and taste like dessert!
Fresh fruit does make an ideal snack. Fresh fruit is colorful, sweet, flavorful, and full of vitamins and nutrition. Bags of apples are almost always cheaper than apples by the pound, but you should always check your local deals to save the most money.
Seasonal and Local
Buy what’s in season, so that the fruit that is grown in that season is usually cheaper than off-season produce. Because of the weather, off-season produce costs more since some of the harvests are killed throughout the season.
Try to buy locally, if that is possible. Local farmers will tend to give you produce at a discounted rate. You can usually find local produce at Mom & Pop shops or Farmer Markets.
Premade vs. Homemade
Premade food is a time saver and is super easy to prepare, but it is not healthy. Canned foods and premade meals have lots of calories, carbs, ingredients you cannot pronounce, and sodium levels that are through the roof.
Homemade food tastes better than premade meals, and you can put in what you have in the kitchen. The best thing about homemade meals is that they usually cost less per serving than a premade meal or a canned product would.
If you feel like you do not have the time to invest in homemade meals every day, you can often find meals you can make ahead of time, about a week in advance, so that you can come home and heat up a delicious and nutritious meal for your family.
Budgeting and Coupons
Budgeting is something we all do, even when we hate doing it. It keeps our spending down and our money where it needs to be. Budgeting might stress us out at the store and when purchasing but we like seeing our bank account green.
Making a plan on how much you want to spend before you go shopping, clip coupons, and look at ads can keep your impulse buying at a minimum. If your store does not price match, you should visit multiple stores to get the best deals. I visit various stores to make sure I can get veggies, fruit, and meat cheap for my family.
Getting Your Kids to Eat Healthily
I have taught you how to buy food without spending an arm and a leg; now I need to show you how to get your kids to eat healthily. It is straightforward and easy; if it tastes good, they will eat it.
I know, I know. I can hear you telling me, “I love broccoli, but my son will not touch it!” Of course, he won’t. Did you know that broccoli is bitter when it is uncooked? It also smells and feels strange. Some kids take an instant liking to raw veggies, but other children need more encouragement to try new foods.
Making Healthy Food Fun
Toddlers are just like adults; we like to eat with our eyes first. The food needs to be appealing, and for a toddler that usually means fun to touch, play with, and then eat.
If you are trying to encourage your child to eat broccoli and carrots, try cooking them in a flavorful sauce or seasoning and then placing them on opposite sides of the plate. In the middle of the plate, use pretzel sticks or thin slices of meat to make a tic tac toe board. This will encourage their mind and their brain to build logic skills and entice them to eat their game.
Ants on a log, as I remember as a child, always got me to eat celery and raisins even though I did not like them. A celery “log” smeared with peanut butter and topped with raisins. Simple, weird, but kids seem to like that.
This can even be simple things, such as renaming sauces, making images with food, and eating food off the same plate as your toddler.
Encouraging a Healthy Diet
Getting your child to play with other kids is easy. Children love to run, play, and enjoy themselves, but keeping to healthy snacks also means talking to other parents and having the options available. If other parents give their child snack cakes, pack your child a snack to bring.
To teach a child about good food, you must start where the magic happens, the kitchen. Have them ‘help’ you in the kitchen. Have them hand you a spoon, stir the bowl, or wash the dishes. These things keep the child in the kitchen with you which engages them to try to understand what is going on. Answer questions, bond, and develop a healthy child.
It Is Possible to Eat Healthy on A Budget
While it seems impossible to buy healthy food on a budget, it is possible. It may take more time and more preparation, but it is feasible and easy to do.
Encouraging your toddler to eat healthily, can help with their hygiene, behavior, and attitudes towards foods. Try always to have your child try something new and encourage healthy eating. A healthy lifestyle does not have to cost a fortune. It will take time and dedication, but you will gain a lifetime of a healthy child.
I am Alanta who the mother of two beautiful children. I have been writing informational blog posts for parents for a few years now. I hope I can help you with your questions and concerns with parenting. You can visit my blog at TopTenStrollers.