We are always looking to improve our eating habits over here and we recently came across a resource from Dr. Sears that made it click for my kids so I thought I would pass it along. It’s called “Traffic Light Eating” and it’s a fun way to help your kids think about their foods and portions. I introduced the idea one morning this summer over breakfast and the conversation went something like this:
“Hey kids, I learned something new! Did you know you can think of different foods like traffic light colors? What do you think “traffic light eating” might be about?” One of my sons said, “Ummm is that when you eat a happy meal in the car at a stop sign?” We were off to a great start right? I went on to explain that green means go, yellow means slow down and red means stop and think. Green light foods are foods that help us grow, we can eat lots of these foods. They are grown and don’t come in boxes or packages and are very colorful. We looked at our breakfast plates and named all of the green light foods. Yellow light foods are “slow down” foods. These are foods that we can eat every day but we should only eat about 1/2 cup or a cup of them. These are our meats, breads, pasta, tortillas, cheese and nuts. Finally, we have our red light foods. They were catching on now and guessed that red light foods would be foods that we should stop and think about before eating. These foods are okay sometimes but we should either make a different choice or eat only a tiny bit. These foods are sugary foods, fatty meats or white breads.
That morning at breakfast started a good conversation that continued on though the week. Later at the park we were getting frozen ice treats. The kids noticed that this was a “red light food” and ordered the small size instead of the large. One of my kids wanted to order a medium. I told him that I would pay for a small. If he wanted a bigger size he could pay for it. I don’t know if that was the right thing to do or not but if felt like a good compromise. He was happy about it and I was too and one of the little joys of summer was not lost on us.
When it comes to safety, we always insist that our children wear seat belts and bike helmets. Nutrition is not that different. Giving my kids a health start is important to me and I know it is to many of you as well. I hope this idea helps you get more green light foods into your children’s diet!
p.s. Dr. Sears is coming to St. Louis September 25th and 26th! I am so excited to hear him speak about kids and nutrition! Click here for more information – or find me on Facebook and send me a private message and I will be sure to get you an invitation. Healthy living is best done in community and I’d love to help support you on your journey!