To lead a well rounded, healthy life may seem down right impossible at times. From healthy eating to getting the right amount of exercise. Don’t even get me started on drinking enough liquid! (Coffee counts, right?!) Between balancing work, family and the rest, it seems that something so fundamental as eating can become a challenge. Here are some tips to make healthy eating easy and enjoyable for you and your family:

1. Simple Meal Plans

How often do we look through magazine or blogs to find articles titled “Simple Meals in Only 30 Minutes”. When we finally find one that seems appealing, it really ends up taking over an hour and they did not mention how much of a mess it would make. When it comes to meals for toddlers and preschoolers, don’t forget the rule of KISS (Keep It Simple Silly).

Don’t over complicate lunch and dinner for your toddlers by making a gourmet vegetable melody with roast beef. They will be equally happy with a simple homemade soup with veggie broth, potatoes and lentils. As long as you can cover the basic food groups (fruits & vegetables, protein, grains and milk & alternatives) you and your toddler can eat in peace without the huge mess.

Check out the Ontario Eat Right website for simple AND healthy meal plans for Toddlers and Preschool children.

2. Drinking

We all know were suppose to drink 8 glasses of water a day, right? Wrong! Actually, we are supposed to drink as much that is good for us. How are we supposed to know how much is recommended? Check out this awesome chart provided by Eat Right Ontario:

Life stage Aim for (cups)*
0-6 months 3 (from breastmilk or formula)
7-12 months 2.5 (from breastmilk, formula, water or fluid milk)
Young Children
1-3 years old 3.5
4-8 years old 5
Older children
9-13 year old girls 6.5
9-13 year old boys 7
14-18 year old 7
19 years and older 9
Pregnant 9
Breastfeeding 12.5
14-18 years old 10.5
19 years and older 12

Now I don’t know about you, but 9 cups of water may seem intimidating. But on reading further, a cup is 250mL of liquid. This can include water, tea, soup or juice from fruit.

Staying hydrated can help your body feel energized, control body temperature and avoid dehydration (dry lips, headache, strong smelling urine). Don’t over complicate it by feeling you need to down your Swell every hour, on the hour. Work it out so you’re sipping at mealtime, eating fruit filled with juice and listening to your body’s needs. This is the same for your children too!

3. Eating Together

The best way your children can learn healthy eating habits is by example. You can simply do this by eating meal together whenever possible. Days are busy, especially weekdays. But when you can, take the time to get everyone to sit together at the dinner table. This teaches your children the foundations of healthy eating, table manners and social skills. In one simple meal, your children can learn so much. When they watch you eat your vegetables, it shows them it’s okay to try new things. When you’re eating chicken, they can learn how to use a fork and knife. When everyone engages in conversation, you’re teaching them how to patiently wait their turn to talk and listen.

4. Kids in the Kitchen

If you have picky eaters or Sam-I-Am’s, invite those naysayers into the kitchen! Kids want to help and, if you make it fun, you may be able to turn them around to try new foods. Show them how you prepare their carrots or get them involved by stirring the soup. When kids are a part of the cooking experience, they can expand upon their knowledge all while spending quality time with you!

To learn more about nutrition and kids, check out our other blog posts such as The Top 6 Eating Challenges for Toddlers and Preschoolers.