Healthy Kids First: It’s Sports Night! How “Not” to Eat Out.

By Mandy Curry on January 29, 2013 from Healthy Kids First via

For parents that want their family to develop healthy eating habits, two road blocks always come up every time: Picky Eaters and a lack of Time.  We tackled picky eaters last weekend as difficult as that can be, it doesn’t even compare to the burden that “lack of time” seems to have on families.  Parents love to talk about how busy they are in the evening.  In fact, it’s becoming a darn near competition.   From kids sports to school events to work meetings to board meetings…the work-day is no match for what happens between the hours of 5pm and 10pm.
Today, 35 million kids play an organized sport each year.  Out of necessity, a family often eats for convenience, not health and nutrition. 
So what’s a family to do that is torn between health and convenience?  This topic is so big that we are devoting the entire month of February to tips and techniques to help. 
“Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.”       ~William Penn
We all have the same gift- 24 hours a day.  Why is it that some can accomplish so much in that time span and others can’t seem to get anything done?  Well, it all starts with a Plan.  If you really want to raise health and nutrition a little higher on the priority list with your family, then we need a Plan. 
Did you know that most American’s wait until just a few hours before dinner to decide what they want to eat that night?  What’s wrong with that?  Well, EVERYTHING!
It’s proven that our willpower decreases as the day progresses.  In fact, most healthy eating efforts start off strong in the morning but as the demands and stresses of the day hit, our willpower diminishes and by dinner time most healthy efforts fail.  Without a plan, and by the end of the day, the drive thru or takeout is just too tempting.  Sheer exhaustion has set in and what’s worse, we have 2 hours of sports practice tonight. 
Set the Plan:
Setting a weekly plan ensures that your hectic week is accounted for and planned around.  The concept is simple.  Spend 10 minutes with the family on Sunday jotting down your activities for the week.  Determine which nights you can actually sit down for a family dinner and which nights are grab-n-go.  Then plan your menu accordingly. 
“Under 30 Meals” can be made in less than 30 minutes.  It’s still very easy to pull off a healthy meal in 30 minutes.  Just takes a little organization and preparation.  “Family dinner” nights are meals where we’re not watching the clock. “Grab-n-Go” nights are 15-minute meals that generally require no cooking. My favorite grab-n-go is a veggie wrap (recipe here).  Simply mix your ingredients up the night before so that your wrap is rolled, ready and served in 5 minutes. 
This seems like such common sense, but you would be amazing at how many families “wing it” and end up with either fast food or cereal for dinner. 
So spend a little time this week on your plan.  This ten-minute step will go a long way in pulling off a hectic week. Next week we’ll go over tip #2 in pulling off your crazy week.  Relief is just around the corner…

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