Want Happier, Healthier Kids? Start in the Kitchen

Image: Ben White from  Unsplash

Image: Ben White from Unsplash

Now that it’s August your thoughts may have started to turn from weekends at the beach, to hectic early mornings before school.

As we start the march towards September, you may have plans to improve your kids’ health by making them healthy lunches, being more active as a family, or even introducing some larger changes like cutting out sugar.

I’ve done a lot of work with mothers and fathers seeking to support their kids’ health,  and I have a few suggestions that make a big impact on kids' health - and your own happiness!

My no. 1 suggestion? Start in the kitchen.

Batch Cooking

Ever heard of batch cooking? It's a dream come true for busy moms & dads.

The premise is simple: spend a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon getting the basics of good meals cooked (in larger portions) to cut down on prep time throughout the week.

Some easy things to start with are baking chicken breasts, cooking a big portion of brown rice, washing and prepping lettuce for salads, roasting veggies, and making any salad dressings or sauces you might want to use over the course of the week (it's often these little pieces that really pull a last-minute meal together).

One of the best examples I've seen of batch cooking for a family is an Instagram user called Nourished Not Famished. Jen, a nutrition student from the Boston area, has kids, a job, and a gorgeous online presence - and still manages to put together great meals for her family. She offers tips to help pull together meals, and everything she shares has simple, nourishing ingredients.

Make-Ahead Breakfasts

Eating a healthy breakfast has a ton of health benefits, but often people skip out on this crucial meal due to the morning time crunch.

The solution? Make breakfast for your kids (and yourself) the night before (or even on those batch-cooking Sundays).

Things like overnight oats, chia puddings, and egg cups will keep in the fridge and work wonders when all you can do is grab and go.

My go-to resources for healthy make-ahead breakfasts are Joyous Health and Two Peas & Their Pod - both show you how to make breakfast convenient for you and your kids.

Get your Kids in the Kitchen With You

You know that old saying:

Give a man a fish, feed him for a dayTeach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime

It applies doubly for kids.

Everything I've suggested in this article will make a massive impact on your kids' immediate health, but nothing will affect their long-term health more than having them alongside you while you do all that prep. By teaching and empowering kids in the kitchen, you're setting them up with life-long skills that will make healthy eating a breeze.

You probably don't want to keep cooking for your kids when they're in their twenties, right? So make Sunday afternoon sacred meal prep time, teach them what you're doing and how to help, and watch them grow into happy & healthy adults!