I know some moms that truly want to give their children better food options but just don’t know where to start. Before you read any further, you should know….I totally feed my child store-bought chicken fingers (gluten free in our case…we don’t eat fast food because of allergy restrictions). We eat french fries. We eat desserts. We do not eat ultra healthy every day, BUT I do give my child healthy snacks and a lot of vitamin and super healthy protein meals every day. I swear this is why she is hardly ever sick. I thought I would share a few of the quick things I make for her that every mom has time to make. Healthy kids = happy kids = happy mommy and daddy. Do it for your kids..and for yourself.
Another thing you should know is that I give my family very little dairy. Somewhere in the last however many years, the idea that cow’s milk was the best source of protein got shoved into our thought process. It has been found by many pediatric studies in the past 10 years that cow’s milk is really NOT good for the system. In fact, the reason so many people are lactose intolerant or are so sensitive to milk is because our digestive systems simply are not made to break down the protein. Additional studies have shown that kids who have an excess of milk products in their diet have many more ear infections and digestive problems, which frequently lead to colitis type issues later in life. That being said, you will notice my food for her does not have a lot of dairy but I give her other forms of protein and calcium-rich foods.
And one more thing, we eat very little sugar. Not just our daughter, but us too. I know a lot of adults do sugar cleanses, etc. and take it out of their diet. Why is that? Because sugar isn’t good for you – it makes you feel like crap eventually. So why, why, why, WHY do we give SO much of it to our children?! This is the one thing that totally baffles me. Sugar isn’t good for the immune system. That leads to sick kids, which leads to sick parents, which leads to everyone being grumpy. So – cut back on the sugar…really.
1. Smoothies (I give her about 8 ounces of this every morning)
- 1/2 banana
- handful of baby spinach – great source of calcium (I always pick the stems off if there are any. They don’t blend up as well)
- frozen organic mangoes or berries (I do frozen because it takes more time to prep fresh ones)
- a few ounces of whatever milk you use (we use calcium enriched vanilla rice milk)
- I also mix in her supplements: omega 3 and acidophilus. One less thing to make her take later
Kids like smoothies. They are frequently sweet tasting and the good news is you can hide all sorts of stuff in there. I have been making smoothies for Asha since she was about 10 months old. If your child has an aversion to certain colors of food (i.e. they won’t drink or eat green), then get them a sippy cup and straw they can’t see through. Or if they are REALLY picky and have to look at it before they drink it, pick colors you know they will like. This is what I give Asha every morning. TIP FOR BUSY MOMS: If you think you do not have time to make a smoothie for your child/children every morning, just make a whole blender full on Monday morning and then you can just give it a quick stir every morning before putting it in their cup. Sometimes I drink some of it too! In fact, you could make it for the whole family.
2. Super Oatmeal
Oatmeal is certainly excellent by itself. I personally hate oatmeal, but I am ecstatic that my daughter and husband eat it because I have something healthy to give them in the morning instead of a bowl of box cereal. BUSY MOM TIP: I cook a cup or two of oats on Sunday night or Monday morning. Then I put it in the fridge for the week and warm it up each morning and add the other stuff in. So this is a few ways I make it for them.
- Instant oats or rolled oats (We use GF rolled oats because of their gluten allergy)
- a little bit of milk (again we use vanilla rice milk)
- almond butter – great protein (amount varies depending on how much they are eating)
- a little bit of chocolate hemp powder (another great source of protein)
Other versions of oatmeal when we feel like having something sweet:
- warm up their oatmeal with some fresh pears and maple syrup or brown sugar
- add in bananas and brown sugar
- add in any other fruit you want: fresh or dried.
You can let your child pick from three options of additions. Giving kids an option when it comes to what they eat will take a few extra minutes, but also gives them ownership over their food. They picked it. They eat it. It’s a good lesson for life.
3. Lara Bars
Some of you might be familiar with these bars. They are frequently in the “raw food/vegan” section. This also frequently means that they are expensive. Obviously, our grocery bill is costly due to the gluten free foods and amount of cooking I do at home; however, we spend little to no money on eating out. We think it’s an easy exchange. We also frequently count in the fact that we spend almost no money on antibiotics and trips to the doctor because we are all rarely sick, which we largely attribute to our healthy diet. Yes, you may make fun of me for my “hippy” thoughts if you want. But don’t complain to me about being sick all year if you eat nothing but fast food. There you go, let’s have a fight about it Back to the Lara Bars. They are nothing but dates processed in a food processor with other things mixed in. NEWSFLASH: dates are super sweet. Kids will like them. Here you go…
- Start by pitting the dates (takes about 5 minutes depending on the number of dates)
- in a small food processor, process the dates. they will turn into a big sticky glob
- add a bit of cashews, or dried cranberries, almonds, dried cherries, chocolate chips OR any combination that you think sounds good.
- When you process this stuff, the dates will roll up into a big ball of stuff . When you have blended it up enough, take out the ball, but it in a sandwich bag and smash it down. Put it in the fridge. Every time you want some, just cut a piece of and eat it. Super easy. Takes 10 minutes.
So there you have it, I have lots more of this kind of stuff. If you want to know about it, let me know and I’ll be happy to share The beauty of all of these things is your kids can eat them AND YOU CAN TOO! Snacks for everyone. Life is so much happier with good snacks…isn’t it?!