Making sure your kids are eating well is a challenge all parents face at some point or another. With so many unhealthy options available, encouraging a nutritious diet is difficult, and it only becomes more difficult as your kids get older and have more choice over what they eat.
Study after study has shown that a purely negative focus just doesn’t work — if you only emphasize what your children can’t eat, they will never develop the kind of balanced relationship to food that is fundamental to health later in life.
Eventually, your kids are going to leave home, and if you really want to help them be smart about their eating choices, you need to model a holistic approach that values flavour and nutrition while avoiding heavily processed foods and ingredients.
In this article, we’ve outlined just a few ways that you can incorporate more healthy meats into your children’s diet. It’s completely normal for kids to have strong feelings about their food, and blanket rejections of certain ingredients or foods are pretty common, so one of the best strategies for helping your kids find healthy foods they like is simply to try lots of different things.
Between grass fed beef burgers and shrimp curry, there are hundreds of ways to get your kids excited about healthy meat — and with truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, getting the sustainable, local meat that will help your children grow is easier than ever!
1. Choose Grass Fed Beef
If you want to turn your kids on to a healthy, low-fat diet that also tastes delicious, then grass fed meat is an option you cannot afford to ignore.
Grass fed meats — and grass fed beef in particular — have rapidly become one of the best options for people who want to eat heart-healthy meat that won’t lead to spikes in cholesterol. The health dangers of too much red meat in this regard are well-known, but if you serve grass fed beef helping your children eat well doesn’t necessarily mean cutting red meat out altogether.
The difference between grass fed beef and other kinds of beef lies in the fact that grass fed cattle are on a pasturage diet for their entire lives. Most conventionally raised cattle switch from a grass diet to a feed diet at some point in their first year.
This is not only because this kind of diet fattens the cows up faster and doesn’t require the wide open ranges that grass feeding requires, but also because grain-finished meat tends to be richer and fattier.
When a cow spends its entire life only eating grass, its meant isn’t as fatty — but that isn’t the only difference. Grass fed beef is also richer in the right kinds of fats, like omega-3 fatty acids which have been consistently shown to be linked to be better heart health and lower overall cholesterol.
And one of the greatest benefits of grass fed beef is that it can easily be swapped in for other, less healthy or less sustainable meats. Do your kids love burgers? Making homemade hamburgers using ground grass fed beef — or ordering artisanal grass fed beef burgers through truLOCAL — lets your children enjoy one of their favourite meals, and lets you feel good about feeding it to them.
2. Make Bone Broth a Regular Part of Your Diet
If you pay attention to organic and health food news, you’ve probably heard about the bone broth craze currently sweeping North America.
While bone broth is an ancient food that we have been using since before recorded history to get the most out of our meat, it has become a popular health food in recent years as chefs have explored the simple, traditional foods our ancestors ate before the rise of industrialization dramatically changed our food systems.
At its simplest, bone broth is exactly what it sounds like: a broth made by boiling animal bones and connective tissue to remove the healthy marrow they contain and create a nutritious, fortifying, and flavourful soup base.
The health benefits of bone broth are numerous and well-documented, but bone broth is particularly valuable for children as a source of calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus — all of which are nutrients and minerals that growing kids need in abundance.
If you want to turbo-charge its health benefits, you can create a broth with organic beef bones ordered from sustainable farms through truLOCAL. We offer a variety of bones (chicken and buffalo as well as beef), and in some provinces, we even partner directly with bone broth specialists to provide you with pre-packaged sustainable bone broth.
3. Focus on Low-Fat Poultry that Tastes Great
Chicken is one of those foods that most kids instinctively love. With its simple flavour and hearty texture, chicken can be used in countless different ways, from whole roast chickens to chicken strips or nuggets.
Not only is chicken delicious, but it is also one of the healthiest meats you can eat. This isn’t just because it is extremely lean, and therefore low in harmful fats — chicken is also loaded with phosphorous and calcium.
Calcium, in particular, is absolutely essential for young children due to the fact that they are growing so rapidly. If you want your kids to have strong, healthy bones, you need to make sure they have a sufficient calcium intake.
And because calcium is a relatively difficult mineral to include in your diet if you have a low tolerance for dairy, chicken can be a fantastic way to ensure that your children get enough of this vital mineral.
Unfortunately, while chicken is naturally a very healthy meat, it is often heavily processed in ways that reduce its beneficial qualities. Chicken nuggets, tenders, and breaded strips from large food companies not only contain unnecessary added sugar and preservatives, but they are also often sourced from chickens that are raised in extremely brutal conditions. Inevitably, this also has an impact on the meat.
This means that as a parent, you are often caught in the difficult position of wanting to ensure your kids are eating plenty of chicken while also being concerned about the quality of the chicken they are eating.
Ordering one of our whole roasting chickens can be a great way to guarantee that your kids are eating minimally-processed chicken raised in sustainable ways, but for busy parents on the go this isn’t always a realistic option. This is why truLOCAL also offers a range of artisanal chicken products that can quickly be defrosted and cooked for a healthy snack.
For example, in addition to classic options like ground chicken, bone-in skin-on chicken breasts, drumsticks, and wings, you can try our special marinated chicken breasts, or the unbreaded chicken strips or chicken sausages we source through Hidden Root Farms.
And with truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, you can also order turkey online to give your kids a taste of another kind of lean, healthy poultry. Encouraging your kids to eat better is easy when you have such tasty options to offer them!
4. Eat More Fish and Seafood
Seafood has been part of the human diet for many millennia, and in cultures, the world over it is even the dominant source of protein. There is a good reason for this (aside from the fact that many people have historically had easier access to seafood than to livestock); seafood is packed with nutrients and healthy fats.
But while the benefits of seafood (especially for growing children) are well-documented, plenty of kids find fish to be unappetizing. So how can you get them to fall in love with cuts like salmon, pickerel, cod, haddock, and snapper?
The first thing you need to do is to make sure you’re getting high-quality fish. Many grocery stores sell seafood that is no longer really fresh, so if your children complain that fish is mushy and flavourless, they may have just never had the right kind of fish before.
With truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, you can buy fish online and have it delivered directly to your home. This not only guarantees not only that you get a superior product, but also that you get fish that have been either wild-caught or sustainably raised, sourced from sustainable fisheries.
Once you’ve got your first order of truLOCAL fish, the best thing to do if you want your kids to develop a taste for it is an experiment.
There are hundreds of easy, simple fish recipes available online, so try different things out and see what your children are drawn to. In many cases — especially with white fish like pickerel and cod — the problem is simply to do with seasoning. These fish have very delicate flavours and a very particular texture, which means that bringing out the taste requires some creativity.
While some kids will be perfectly happy with a cod fillet pan-fried in butter with lemon and dill, this isn’t going to appeal to everyone, and if your kids turn up their noses at the first attempt, don’t take it as a sign that they are just never going to like fish.
Between Canadian classics like maple baked salmon and cod cakes and exciting new favourites like curried, you’re bound to find something your family will fall in love with!
5. Incorporate Healthy Meat Into Their Favourite Foods
While there is no shortage of options for healthy meats that will help your children get the protein, nutritious fats, vitamins, and minerals they need to grow up strong and healthy, the end goals should always be making sure that your children develop a smart lifelong relationship to food.
This means encouraging them to develop positive associations between health and flavour. If kids grow up eating a diet that is balanced but also delicious, they are far more likely to maintain these habits into adulthood. If you train them to think of nutrition in terms of self-denial, on the other hand, they could spend adulthood swinging between strict diets and unhealthy bingeing.
For this reason, the most important thing to remember when trying to incorporate more healthy meat into your children’s diet is simply not to push any one thing too hard. If they don’t like beef burgers, see how they will feel about chicken, or buffalo. If they don’t care for haddock, see how they respond to salmon.
You should also try to introduce new foods in a way that is comfortable and familiar. If you want them to eat more seafood, try introducing shrimp into their mac and cheese. If you want to move away from grain finished beef, make their favourite meal but substitute grass fed beef instead.
Not only will this approach centre the foods they already love, but it will also encourage them to realize that cooking is a creative and experimental process, one that is enjoyable for its own sake.
Parents have one of the hardest jobs in the world: the formation and nurturing of new human beings. Balancing all the demands of being a good parent is never going to be easy, and without question encouraging a healthy relationship to food is essential.
Finding good, healthy meat that has been raised in environmentally friendly and sustainable ways is a key part of helping your kids find nutritious sources of protein, and with truLOCAL’s fresh meat delivery service, getting the right meat on the table is a little bit easier.
Not only do we partner with a wide range of local farms and producers, but we also tailor our innovative delivery service to the needs of ordinary Canadians.
If you want to get great local meat delivered to your door anywhere in Ontario, Alberta, or British Columbia, start your first truLOCAL meat box today, and find out how fresh, high-quality meat can change your life — and the lives of your children!
August 10th, 2023