“How can I feed my kids healthy food if I have zero time?” asked Cinthia, throwing her hands up in frustrated desperation. Like many of my photography client friends, Cinthia, a busy, full-time working mom, was overwhelmed by Pinterest-perfect families and felt like a failure when it came to keeping her two kids, ages 2 and 5, eating balanced, nutritious meals. And she’s not alone! Seeking a solution to her problem, I telephoned my friend Adriana Carvajal, a healthy-eating advice guru boasting more than 22 years working as a professional nutritionist in Costa Rica. Adriana’s happy, bubbly personality shone even over the staticky phone lines as she filled me in on her newest passion for Ayurveda and graciously agreed to share her top tips on quick nutrition for busy moms of tots and a simple list of on-the-go healthy snack ideas.
When life gets hectic and schedules overbooked, we sometimes forget a key element that Adriana emphasizes:
What we eat every day defines our health throughout our lives and how we feel each day.
When we take just a few minutes a day to focus on what’s going into our bodies, it can make a world of difference, in the well-being and even in the attitudes of our children throughout the day.
Keep it simple!
This is the stage when children are familiarizing themselves with flavors, foods, textures, and their own preferences.
- Make your best effort to keep foods as natural as possible. For instance, steam fresh veggies rather than sauteing in butter.
- Encourage your children to move! Engaging in team sports and active playtime are great for children’s well-being and make for a good appetite.
- Offer healthy snacks (see snack ideas below!)
- Teach your children to drink water.
- Prepare food with a lot of condiments. The fewer, the better!
- Reach for processed foods (artificial coloring, fast foods, sodas, sweets, etc.). Opt instead for fresh fruits and vegetables.
Promote mealtimes as a time for social interaction among your family members, an enjoyable time for your children. This not only means instructing youngsters in good table manners but also teaching them about eating at appropriate times throughout the day and how to enjoy mealtimes. It’s important minimalize distractions that might compete for your child’s attention during mealtime. Avoid disturbances such as television, cell phone use, and avoid the urge to force your child to clean his plate.
What healthy snack ideas would you suggest to moms of young children that she could prepare quickly and share with her kids too? Try Adriana’s suggestions below.
Healthy Snack Ideas
- Natural fruit drinks
- Fresh fruits and vegetables. Slice them up in fun ways. Presentation can make or break your success when it comes to kids. Here’s a great article packed with 25 food art ideas for serving kids healthy snacks, including the frog prince pictured above.
- Change up your child’s snacks throughout the week. Plan snacks ahead of time to save you time during the week and to keep your child looking forward to snack times.
Adriana Carvajal Sancho
Tel.: (506) 8319-9994 / E-mail: Adriana.firstname.lastname@example.org
San José, Costa Rica
Adriana es nutricionista de la Universidad de Costa Rica con más de 22 años de experiencia. Es graduada de honor del Programa Master Scientiae en “Ciencias del Movimiento Humano” de la Universidad de Costa Rica, Auditora de Calidad ISO-9001, Auditora en Inocuidad Alimentaria ISO-22000, Inspectora en Inocuidad Alimentaria certificada por el Instituto Nacional de Aprendizaje (INA), entre otros. Ha cumplido cursos de ¨Plant Nutrition¨ en la prestigiosa Universidad de Cornell, y en los últimos años se ha dedicado al desarrollo de ¨Lifestyle and Wellness Programs¨ y el Ayurveda.