Do you ever serve your child to only have him or her not eat it all, making it end up in the trash? Are you over feeding your children? Do you know how many calories your child needs to consume per day? Do you tend to eat the same items over and over? It’s questions like these that leave parents feeling confused.
After a recent visit to the pediatrician, my doctor gave handouts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to all of his patients. The papers included a daily food plan for my child and tips for a healthier lunchbox. The food plan suggests the recommended daily allowance for a child of average height, of average weight, and physical activity level for their age and gender.
I was delighted to have a healthy eating blueprint given to me by my doctor. I’m guilty of giving them too much food. I have to stop myself from serving them adult serving sizes. No wonder why they weren’t eating it all. I also realized they were having too many empty calories. Without knowing a real number of calories to shoot for or knowledge of daily amounts to give, I’m thrilled to have these guidelines.
I didn’t want to shortchange my children. I also didn’t want to waste food and money in the process. The food plan made writing my grocery list much easier and gave me a better understanding as what and how much I should be giving my children. It also helped me save money along the way.
TIPS AND IDEAS
1. Use the Receipt Reference Technique. After grocery shopping, put your receipt on your fridge. Use it as an informal inventory to keep track of what you purchased. Cross items off once you finish eating them. You see at a glance, what is left and needs to be used before it expires. This will help you not to waste food. It also helps to plan your meals accordingly.
2. Bag Fruits and Veggies into Smaller Containers/Baggies. I find that I waste less if I wash, chop and put the fruits and vegetables into containers or baggies in advance. If it’s already sitting in a container with the proper portion inside, it will be less likely to go to waste if it’s ready to go.
3. Break up grocery trips for fruits and veggies. Go every three days if you are able or only buy what you can eat in the next three days so you don’t ended up throwing it out.
4. Purchase some fresh produce and some frozen. This way you can eat the fresh fruits and vegetables within the first three days of purchasing them. Then you can pull out the frozen fruits and vegetables for later in the week.
5. Frozen fruit is always tasty in yogurt. It’s easy to scoop out from a bag in the freezer and tends to melt quickly. It also keeps the fruit from getting too mushy, especially if your child tends to take their time while eating.
6. Use sample meal plans. Check out the US Department of Agriculture at ChooseMyPlate.gov . If you want creative lunch solutions, check out Momables.com. Make sure your children stick with the recommended calories for the day, these are portion control tips that I believe prevent unhealthy food habits.
Whatever you do, just watch what you are feeding your kids to ensure that they get the correct calories and the right types of foods (mixed in with the fun ones) each and every day.
Karen Cordaway has been a lifelong money-saving enthusiast with an MS in Education. She writes about money tips on her blog and is a contributor to Mamiverse.com. Her topics often include food, travel, education and DIY projects. She was recently featured on a Fox News website.