whole food

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?

Wednesday Wisdom - Do you know what's in that?

EWG-logo-300x300.png

How many times have you heard that in order to begin your journey of health you should "read labels?"

Okay great, so you read labels. What are you looking for?  What are you avoiding?

When it comes to food, you want real ingredients, void of sugar and modified additives. In essence, you want to stock your fridge and cupboards with whole food that don't need an ingredients list. My grass-fed beef shouldn't have anything other than beef, my broccoli should be pure, 100% vegetable. Unfortunately it's not that simple. Breads, almond butter, tomato sauces, pickles, meat, even your beloved Kashi Go Lean, might be hiding sugar - in various forms, high fructose corn syrup, unpronounceable ingredients, pesticides, unhealthy oils, and therefore some unwanted "food" substances your body does not need nor want in order to thrive. 

Okay, so you've given up gluten and sugar, you shop the perimeter of the store, you're a food label reading ninja. What about your personal care products? Your shampoo, your toothpaste, your mascara, and deodorant? Do you know how to read those labels? Do you know that you're as susceptible to the chemicals in those products as you are to what you're ingesting? 

I love the Environmental Working Group (EWG) app to help me decipher labels, especially for personal beauty products. They take the guesswork out of the equation and allow me to make informed decisions. The EWG rates products from 0-10; ideally you're looking for products in a safe range, under 3. I also love Beautycounter for skincare and makeup due to their transparency, rigorous testing, and commitment to their NEVER LIST  - a list as comprehensive as the EU, which bans 1,400 toxic chemical from their cosmetics.

Beautycounter's NEVER List

Beautycounter's NEVER List

But if you want to be even more informed, what should you avoid? This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but take a look:

Formaldehyde

Propyl Paraben

Mercury

Bisphenol A (BPA) and Phthalates

Nitrates

Potassium Bromate

Pesticides

Lead

Perchlorate

Blue #1 and Blue #2

Yellow #5

Red #40

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT)

rBGH and rBST

Aluminum

"Natural" Flavors

Educate yourself and start making more informed choices - for your health, for the environment, for your children and grandchildren. What can you do today?

For reference:

http://www.ewg.org/research/ewg-s-dirty-dozen-guide-food-additives

http://www.parents.com/health/injuries/safety/harmful-chemicals-to-avoid/

http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/Food/11-foods-banned-us/story?id=19457237#9