No doubt, I struggle feeding my kids food that I don't feel guiltily about. Every parent I know of, does too.
From the beginning
When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I ate whatever I wanted. This included Arby's and ice cream regularly, gluten, dairy, sugar and kids cereal. I had no shame and I also had NO idea what good eating looked liked. Surprisingly, I was the most happy I've ever been in my life-when I was fat and pregnant. I was seriously on cloud 9 for nine months, until the first contraction began. That's no joke. Being pregnant was a genuine joy to me!
During this blissful time, I allowed myself free reign of food. I ate in joy and celebration. And I put on almost 60 pounds. But the weight didn't bother me, and it actually came off quickly after she was born, no biggie. Post birth, once I started eating paleo, my body knew right away what to do to get me back on track.
What did bother me, only later, was realizing the long term impact of my eating on my daughter's health. I've read from multiple books now that my genetic expression and her's, stems from the food we eat, even when they are in the womb. I would add our DNA expression also comes out from the thoughts we think, but that's another post entirely. I reference a book for this, used in my nutritional schooling that I highly recommend. This book will help you, if you're interested in making life changes or changing your view of health in a radical way. Deep Nutrition
Thus, it is my goal to inspire and support rightful eating that helps maintain good health. It starts with the youngsters that we love so much. No longer can we close our eyes to the damaging effects of processed foods. No longer can we shrug our shoulders to the industrial industry that manipulates food with petrochemicals and tries to morph it into something that they call food. No longer can we trust the FDA to protect us from the toxicity that they approve for sale and consumption. The change has to start from us, from our access to information and our physical reactions to these substances.
Don't get me wrong, I still feed my kiddos the dreaded boxed mac and cheese that they LOVE so much. But I do make it green mac n cheese when I can, where I use pureed broccoli instead of milk and add it into their final product. They don't taste the difference and I know they are just happy to have mac and cheese. (recipe below) And I don't do it every time. We all just do our best. Don't judge! Here are my suggestions of current, here to help you and your little ones.
How to help your kids eat for Vitality!
1. Small bites. I was taught this from a guy who took me for my first sushi date. He said you don't want a big bite of fish in your mouth your first time, instead, to cut it into small pieces. And kids like this too. I still like sushi in small bites to this day, it's non committal.
3. Sit down with your kiddos. Make eating a social, fun experience. Don't just shove a plate of food at them and walk away. Make it pleasurable. Make it enjoyable. Kids want nothing more than to be with you, to bond with you. Begin fun conversations about funny things, about what you love about them, anything to invoke conversations that bring joy.
|Help with fishy fish|
because I know my cells sing in delight when I eat it. The key here is to marinate fish for at least 4 hours in lemon juice and coconut aminos to reduce the fishy taste. And again, cut up small bites here.
5. Prepare your veggies! Have cut up veggies ready for them after school or during the day. Keep them cut up and put them on a silly plate, maybe with some guacamole or hummus dip. When veggies are prepped, they will get eaten. Prepare bell peppers, radishes, sugar snap peas, celery with almond butter, or cucumbers with salt. Roast some carrots or steam some asparagus - cooked veggies activate different nutrients and are easier to digest.
6. Have conversations with them about the importance of vitamins. Tell them that bell peppers are loaded with vitamin C. Tell them their body needs vitamins to be happy and to grow. Tell them carrots help with their eye site so they can see like Superman. Show them you like nutritious food too, lead by example.
7. Let your kids surprise you. I am still shocked, but my daughter loves mushrooms, olives, pickles, and tuna fish. Things I've never really cared for, but I let her love them enough for the both of us. Even if you don't love them, realize they might. I remember my daughter telling me she loves green beans that they served her at preschool. Being mostly paleo, I had never made green beans in my life but I was thrilled to serve them on the dinner table. Nothing makes me more happy than seeing my kids eat green things. I also believe our bodies will lead us to the vitamins it needs if we just give them the opportunity and stay open minded.
8. Teach them the adventures of changing their pee and poop! Asparagus and beets, even sesame seeds. How fun for kids to realize what they eat has a side effect on their excretions. I remember the day I feared I had blood in my urine from eating beets, haha. Have fun with this, unless you're too grossed out!
9. Involve the kids. Yes this takes more time, but this becomes an experience for you both to remember. Time flies by because we're trying to save it all the time. Instead, show time you have plenty by using it wisely. Let the kids come grocery shopping with you and pick out what veggies they want. Let the kids help you prepare the meals. When they are involved in the food, they will ingest the food.
10. Pull out the crock pot. Never before can you have someone cook for you while you're at work, unless you have a personal chef. The crock pot is the closest some of us will get!
*Healthy is a subjective term. Some people think organic cereal is healthy. Some people think the drive-through line at Wendy's is healthy. There is a game I like to call "good, better, best" with food. Use your own discernment. Of all the foods I have listed, you can find something wrong with each, but I ask you to look at the positive side of it all. More veggies is always beneficial, that's my goal.
Family Meals and veggie ideas for Healthy* Eating:
1. Steamed or roasted Beets
2. Spaghetti squash pasta - no pasta needed!
- Use spaghetti squash for noodles - no excuses here. You can even microwave a spaghetti squash in the same amount of time it takes to cook wheat noodles, using a microwave. When my kids were really young, I used to make this every week because it's fast and easy. Three ingredient pasta with Italian sausage, spaghetti squash and marinara. Wa-la, dinner in 20 minutes. Substitute chicken if you're not into processed meat
4. Easy guacamole
5. Salmon for the non-fish lover
6. Fruit/veggie smoothies -
- Fruit can cover up the taste of most veggies. Use these during warm months, since they are raw and require a lot to digest. No one wants a cold smoothie in the winter, it goes against nature. Make them yourself because the store bought ones have already lost most their nutrients. You want fresh smoothies to get the nutritional punch.
7. Primal pancakes - 3 ingredients!
8. Easy taco meat - you can even make the seasoning ahead of time and add into ground beef
9. Roasted carrots
10. Sweet potato fries
11. Chicken nuggets
12. Chicken in crock pot
13. Tuna salad- add celery for crunch!
14. Chicken broth. I can never have enough broth around the house. As soon as I have roasted a whole chicken, I get excited to use the bones in the crock pot with some water, veggies and apple cider vinegar to sit overnight. We wake up to the smells of broth that is knock your socks off delicious. And it makes a great add on for her lunches at school when I throw some in her Thermos. Now, we go through it so fast, I have to order chicken bones (and feet!) to make collagen-rich broth for all of us. I order pasture raised bones from here
15. Spinach ice cream! Recipe below
- I don't know how this is possible but you can make mint chocolate chip ice cream that is loaded with spinach and tastes like heaven. I don't bother using the bananas it calls for and it's knock your socks off good.
Chocolate Mint Ice Cream
- Pureed Broccoli for Green Mac N Cheese:
- Steam a cup or two of broccoli -in a steamer for about 10-12 minutes
- Put broccoli a food processor or blender with a little bit of water and blend
- Substitute the puree for milk called for in the boxed mac n cheese recipe
(but still add the butter/coconut oil)
- Freeze what you don't use in ice cube trays for easy access for next time!