Fans of actress Jennifer Garner know how much she loves to cook, especially healthy recipes. The star hosts a Pretend Cooking Show on her Instagram, and she's always sharing her latest drool-worthy dish.
So it comes as no surprise that when it comes to serving up meals for her three children, she's all about them eating whole, nutritious food. The "Peppermint" star told People magazine that she's "pretty strict" when it comes to junk food in the house.
"I’m not worried so much about junk food, because we don’t have it in the house—although I don’t want to be a freak about it, so that they just want to get their hands on it at all costs," she said. "It’s more that you just want to make sure they’re getting a rainbow of flavors and of foods."
Looking to follow in Garner's footsteps and keep your kids away from the sugary and salty stuff? Besides not keeping it in the house, the Once Upon a Farm shared some other of her smart and sneaky tips.
She Has Healthy Snacks Accessible
Let's face it: when kids come home from school, they're hungry and are in desperate need of a snack. To keep them well satiated before dinner, Garner keeps a plate of fresh chopped veggies on the kitchen table while she cooks dinner.
"My mom always said that if the house is smelling good and everyone is hungry…Your kids will get their veggies that way by eating a bunch of raw broccoli and carrots and tomatoes," she said.
There are many reasons why eating a balanced diet of veggies and fruits is so essential to a child's well-being. Not only are they rich in a wide of array of minerals and vitamins which will help them grow and develop, but they also will give your child sustainable energy without those "sugar highs" associated with many processed snacks.
A diet rich in vegetables also reduces the risk of many chronic diseases, including childhood obesity, which has more than doubled over the last thirty years. Overweight children are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems, as well as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
In fact, one study has shown that schools that offer fresh fruit and vegetables to their students reduce childhood obesity rates, which means having access to them at home would decrease the risk even more so.
She Shows Them How Food is Grown
If you follow Garner on Instagram, you are well aware that the actress keeps a pretty spectacular garden. It's important to the star that her kids partake in the garden's upkeep to show them how their food is grown so that they are able to better appreciate and value delicious whole food.
"I think growing your own food helps," she says. "When I was a kid, I didn’t like tomatoes, but then my mom grew cherry tomatoes, and if I picked them straight off the vine, they tasted so good. My oldest didn’t like blueberries until we had blueberry bushes. Now in blueberry season we take colanders down every night and they bring their friends over and we pick."
Research has shown that children who are repeatedly exposed to healthy foods are more likely to continue with the same healthy diet as adults. So how many times does a child need to be exposed to a new food before they like it? Up to eight to ten times.
With childhood obesity at an all-time high, it's imperative to start kids early on a diet that consists of whole, nutritious foods so that they can maintain a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. By repeatedly exposing your kids to yummy and healthy snacks, and keeping them as accessible as possible like Garner does, your child has not only a greater chance of optimal health but of also consuming a plate of veggies without any hassle.
Even brussels sprouts.
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