getting kids to eat real foodAs someone who's gone up-and-down in weight her whole life, I know now that eating healthy is ALL about keeping the weight off and I am absolutely determined to make sure that I do the same with my family. That's why I think it's very important to eat real food, instead of processed junk--and even teaching the kids to eat real food, too! Why? Well, good habits start early. If you constantly fight with your kids about eating their veggies and opting for healthier choices, I have a few suggestions on how you can teach them and make it easier for everyone involved. Read on and find out how!

Read more ¿Qué más? Preserve your favorite Latin flavors with these recipes perfect for canning!

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Lesson 1: Eat real 1

Lesson 1: Eat real

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First and foremost, you MUST make sure to teach your kids to eat real food--and why it's important. Instead of letting them pick out sugary cereals and convince you to buy candy, take them through the produce aisle, through the cheese aisle, through the fish aisle. Let them ask questions while explaining what "real food" is and why it's good for you. Emphasize that it tastes better and will make their tummies happier in the end.

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Lesson 2: Mostly plants 2

Lesson 2: Mostly plants

 

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Part of eating real food is making sure that kids (and you!) are eating plenty of veggies. I know kids don't always love vegetables, but there ARE ways to get your kids to eat more vegetables. When you're walking through the produce aisle, have them pick out something new they want to try. Then make sure to fill their plates with a balance of vegetables (half a plate), protein (1/4 of the palte), grains (1/4 of the plate) and a little bit of healthy fats.

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Lesson 3: Not too much 3

Lesson 3: Not too much

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I know that we Latinos have a habit of serving up big GIANT plates, but in the long run, that's just not helping anyone. Instead, serve kids balanced meals that aren't too big. They can always ask for seconds if they're hungry, right? But never, ever serve up a giant plate and then make your kid finish it like our abuelitas did. The only thing that you should have them clear off the plate is the healthy greens. Start there and your whole family will be healthy and feeling good!

Lesson 4: Navigate the environment 4

Lesson 4: Navigate the environment

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Remember when I said you should take your kids to the grocery store? The big reason for this is to use it as a way to teach them why real food is good, what it looks like and encourage them to participate. I especially encourage you to take the children to local farms or farmer's markets--that way they can learn what's in season and taste for themselves why watermelon is so great in August and not-so-good in the colder months. It'll make them appreciate it even more!

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Lesson 5: Be an advocate 5

Lesson 5: Be an advocate

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Last but not least, you absolutely positively MUST emphasize how good and delicious it is to eat real food. Most of all, I think this means that you have to spend some time in the kitchen cooking with the kids. There is no better way for them to learn to appreciate food than by learning how to make it themselves. I'm a big supporter of kids helping out in the kitchen. Of course, you just be careful and they can't do everything--but it's really the BEST way to learn!