healthy fats

Five ways to feed the little people in your life

Smoothie Face

If you’re a parent, you know the struggle that exists around mealtime - multiple snacks, every hour it seems, if your children are anything like mine.

Despite your greatest efforts, does convenience allure you, convincing you to purchase the bright-colored, health-touting packaged food items at the grocery store?

It doesn’t have to be that way!

As a parent, I’m all too familiar with the day-to-day stress, hangry kids, and too much to do in too little time. Stressing about how to nourish not only my body, but these growing children, should  not be a burden, but rather an empowering choice of health. There is freedom in creating routines and committing to discipline. Your health and the daily meal times are no exception. 

Since feeding our family does not need to be difficult, you may wonder where to begin.

Let’s start with a few basics that are good for you and your littles:

1. Be a healthy model

Make mealtimes fun by setting a good, healthy example - eat your veggies and try new foods. Nosh on sauerkraut with your breakfast sausage; wrap a big, leafy green around a piece of chicken; sauté green apples in coconut oil or ghee and sprinkle with cinnamon for dessert (it tastes like apple pie, folks!).

The more your kids see you enjoying healthy meals, the more they will want to join you. If your kids lean toward the picky side, hiding veggies in meatballs or egg muffins is a great tool to have under your belt. Also, make sure they know you’re not their personal chef; cook meals for the family not for each individual person.

 

2. Include protein with every snack or meal

Since protein is satiating, be sure to add protein to every meal or snack. Include hard-boiled eggs or egg muffins, sugar free deli meat or protein-laden leftovers, whole-milk yogurt or chia seed pudding, sugar free jerky or smoothies with collagen.

 

3. Involve your kids

You might think taking your kids to the grocery store or having them help in the kitchen is a nightmare waiting to crash and burn on your family dreams. On the other hand, if you preface the outing as a treasure hunt allowing them to pick out healthy items, such as 2 - 3 vegetables or fruit they will eat during the week, you may have success.

Including your children in the kitchen with meal planning, cooking a meal – if old enough – or simply letting younger kids stir in some spices while you’re preparing dinner, encourages them to try new flavors and makes them curious about all the combinations they could create . Better yet, planting a garden with seeds your kids pick out and watching your garden grow, takes the learning experience to yet another level.

Regardless of whichever approach you take, exposing your kids to whole, nutrient dense foods and including them in decisions will get them excited about buying, preparing, and eating real food.

 

4. Utilize dips for healthy fats

If you have a picky eater, including some dips might be the game changer. With a dollop of almond butter, any green apple or banana gets an extra kick. Use avocado or guacamole, along with kalamata olives to spice up carrots, cucumbers, celery sticks, and other veggie slices. Drizzle warmed coconut butter and cinnamon on a mashed sweet potato.

 

5. How much to eat

It takes a sufficient amount of energy to swim, have dance parties, and jump on the bed. In general, children have no limits when it comes to eating whole, real food. They also eat more often for a good reason – their minds and bodies are growing. While high-quality (ideally grass-fed, organic) proteins, healthy fats and nutrient dense carbohydrates are good for all of us, for kids, extra carbohydrates in the form of starchy vegetables and fruit, are important.

 

Keep it simple with these snacks:

raw

Apples
Bananas
Berries
Carrots

Cucumber

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi
Tomato
Zucchini noodles

  

roasted

Asparagus

Beets
Broccoli

Carrots

Delicata squash

Parsnips

Zucchini slices

  • Coconut butter stuffed Dates

  • Banana and almond butter sandwiches

  • Whole Milk, grass-fed yogurt (with a dollop of raw, organic honey)

  • Avocado with salt

  • Egg muffins or crustless quiche

  • Hard-boiled eggs

  • Chocolate Pudding (made with avocado and coconut milk)

 

When convenience reigns, these packaged items are, well, convenient:

  • Sausage (we like applegate or aidells)

  • Deli meat (we like applegate)

  • Plantain chips

  • Trader Joe's Apple Fruit Bars

  • Larabars or Kit’s Organic fruit and nut bar (Clif Bar)

  • Epic bars and bites

  • Chomps

  • Applesauce packets

  • Individually packaged nuts

  • Siete chips

  • RX bars

 

So far this has worked for me. My kids are adventurous eaters, love helping in the kitchen and honestly don't know how spoiled they are when it comes to the delicious food I feed them. Now if only I could get them to do more chores!

What other tips do you have? Want some of these recipes?

Coco for coconut

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!

Right before it became pumpkin spice coconut butter!


Back in the day when I used to shop at Costco, the bi-weekly staples were bacon, meat, fish, veggies, fruit, a huge ass jar of coconut oil, and bags upon bags of nuts – almonds, walnuts, and pecans. On special occasions I’d splurge for macadamia nuts and proceed to nosh on them on the ride home to appease my traffic woes through downtown Seattle.

The superfluous amount of nuts was a two-fold dilemma: 1) our favorite chocolate chip cookie used solely nuts as the base instead of flour, and 2) being a SAHM, I basically survived off of nuts, smoothies, and the leftover bites on itty bitty plastic plates (yep, I know, disgusting).

Then one day it happened. I had hit my quota and my body purely rejected nuts.

If I feel like getting a headache, having my stomach distend as if I was 7 months pregnant, and have gut issues for a few days, I may partake in a nut. But let’s be honest, it’s not a nice predicament to willingly put myself in.

I say all of this because perhaps you have mild symptoms of eating too many nuts also. They’re
delicious, full of healthy fats and vitamins, and an amazingly easy snack to consume. But let’s face it, it’s easy to overdo it. I only say this so that you’ll pay attention the next time you reach for a nut. Stop and see how your body truly feels when you eat them. If you think you may want to eliminate your handful of almonds (like every health magazine has told you to eat at 3pm), you may want to turn to another lovely fatty friend and my favorite nut replacement - coconut.

Fun fact, coconut is not a nut. I repeat, it’s not a nut! It’s in fact, a fruit.

Back to the story - not knowing how I’d replace my beloved nut fetish, I quickly discovered my love for coconut butter. Okay, okay, I guess I did have an adjustment period, and it did take some time to acquire a taste for it. But once that all fell into place, there wasn’t a week that went by where I didn’t make my own coconut butter and have fun with different flavors.

A spoonful here and a spoonful there, and I barely missed my crunchy nutty friends.

Now that I’m working again and eating real food throughout the day, I don’t make it as often anymore. Which, when I think about it, is such an oxymoron. These days I have less time yet I meal plan and therefore have a stocked fridge. Unless of course you come over on a weekend and I haven’t gone grocery shopping.

Anyway, when I do make coconut butter, it’s usually to make chocolate coconut cups. I love
myself some Eating Evolved coconut cups, yet my budget does not. I can’t just buy one package you know. So I make my own.

When I saw that they had pumpkin coconut cups, I felt up for the challenge.

First things first, I don’t understand the pumpkin spice craze come fall. I do have a soul
and like pumpkin bread but I by no means run out as soon as the first yellow leaf succumbs to the season change and frantically buy every pumpkin spiced item in town. But that’s beside the point. Making your own pumpkin coconut butter may just be the easiest thing in the world. Making the chocolate pumpkin cups on the other hand, can be quite the feat. Not hard, but difficult for this impatient heart of mine.

Are you ready? Here's what you do:

  • Grab a bag of shredded coconut.
  • Fill food processor - nearly to the brim
  • Blend until smooth – 5-10 minutes
Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Get yo'self some shredded coconut. Trader Joe's has the best deal!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

Throw a pinch of sea salt in there and let it whirl!

You can proceed from there and add fun things such as:

  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Dehydrated fruit – strawberries are a favorite
  • Cacao powder
  • pumpkin spice

From there, drizzle it on everything, replace your mid-afternoon snack attack with a
spoonful, or try one of these recipes:

  • Warm coconut butter on a freshly roasted sweet potato with cinnamon. Yes please!
  • PaleOMG’s apple pie bites. Hot damn!
  • Make mint chocolate coconut cups. Mmmmm.
  • Drizzle over berries or coconut oil sauteed apples. Sure thing!
  • Add 1-2 tbsp and blend into your favorite morning drink. Bring it!

Do note, unless it’s summer or you live in a sauna, coconut butter will harden.


If you don’t want to do any of that, try Eating Evolved and use my code (ERINHTMT) for a special treat when you place an order.

What else do you do with coconut butter??