Being a mom can be challenging sometimes, well, a lot of times. When I first had our daughter, now 8, I learned that feeding her was my greatest challenge. I had no idea what “healthy” was and yet, I thought I did. I’m embarrassed to say that many of her meals once weaned from Breast Milk and Formula, then jarred baby food… consisted of those processed meat links in a can, processed (bleached) breads, pastas and cheeses, overcooked veggies, and occasional fruits like grapes and bananas. For snacks she would have those fruit chews full of sugar and food coloring. These were her foods during the day, but I would feed her a decent part of our “home cooked” meal for dinner.
I’m so thankful for the people who have spoken wisdom and knowledge into my life over the last 8 years! I resisted it often, but I’ve only come to better understanding and improvement!! We feel so much better and our 3 kids are thriving these days!
There’s a recent article that stated that children who ate processed foods scored lower in their IQ tests. If a 3-year-old eats too much processed food, it might lower his or her IQ by the age of 8, a new study suggests. Researchers in Britain tracked what 14,000 children ate and drank at the ages of 3, 4, 7, and 8.5 years of age, by asking parents to complete questionnaires detailing their child’s diet.
You can see the full article here.
I wanted to help us moms on our journey to teach our kids to make healthier choices. I’ve researched and created some alternatives. Let me know if you try these or if you have more suggestions and we’ll post them!! Pure Goodness is all about a community of people helping one another become healthy in all areas of our lives. One huge area is training our children to be healthy as well. My friend Julie Cox, a personal trainer in Oklahoma, says “if nothing changes, nothing changes”.
At our house now, we try our best to feed our kids as many raw foods as possible each day. We have trained our kids to ask for yogurts, fruits and veggies for snacks. One of the biggest tips is IF YOU DON’T BUY IT, YOU WON’T EAT IT. And neither will your kids! With a little prep at night or on a slow day, you can have some of these snacks and meals waiting for you when you get the munchies!
Swap that … for this:
Sugary cereals —> Homemade granola served with a nut milk (almond or coconut) or Greek Yogurt
Frozen Waffles or Pancakes —> Homemade Whole Grain Pancakes or Waffles made at night and frozen to pull out and heat up! Serve with a “drizzle” of honey or Pure Maple Syrup (a little more pricey, but has some great health benefits)
Sugary, Food Coloring Yogurts –> Plain Greek Yogurt with Frozen Blueberries, or honey, or cinnamon
Instant Oatmeal Packets —> Baked oatmeal is an easy, make-ahead recipe that you can simply mix up at night and then pop in the oven for a warm, filling and healthy meal in the morning.
Toast with Butter or Jelly –> 100% Whole grain toast with an almond butter and banana slices (use your cookie cutters to make it even cuter!)
Salty Snacks –> Your own spiced Mixed Nuts
Fruit Gummies –> Real Seasonal Fruit (put it on a stick, make a nut butter dip, make a fruit salad)
Ranch Dip –> Hummus or this Yogurt Ranch Dip (kids won’t even know they are getting extra protein and healthy oils!), try introducing all sorts of veggies to them each day (seasonal). My kids recently liked Radishes.. I would have never thought they would
Mac and Cheese –> Whole Wheat Baked Pasta, make ahead and heat it up when you need it. You can even bake it in cupcake pans for easy portion control.
Old PB&J –> We changed the bread we use (100% whole grain, organic). If you want to go a step further, go to Sprouted grains or make your own whole grain breads, yum!! And use natural, no sugar added nut butters (Almond, Peanut or Sunflower seed). I also try to buy jellies that are low in sugar or no sugar added.. I will attempt to make my own this year!
Grilled Cheese –> Use Whole Grain Bread and Raw Cheese. Add in spinach or other veggies for added vitamins
Sandwiches –> Make a wrap up instead!! Try hummus, cucumbers and carrot slices rolled up into a whole wheat wrap. Cut into little “sushi” rolls for a fun look for kids. I have a friend who loves to make PB&B (peanut butter and banana) roll-ups!
Store Bought Chicken Nuggets –> Make your own, like these…Health’d Up Chicken Nuggets
Pasta –> Try a whole wheat pasta salad, I love Dellalo Whole Grain Organic Pastas. You can add a bunch of veggies and make your own dressing. We like Farfalle which look like butterflies.
Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, that’s where the freshest or frozen items are, this way you are buying foods with the most nutrition. Don’t forget to take your kids sometimes… they need to learn how to shop too!
Read labels! I have resigned to the fact that I will need to buy some processed items such as bread, tortillas, yogurts, and some chips… but I do my best to find ones with the FEWEST ingredients and legible ones at that! When I can pronounce the ingredients, I feel they are more digestible.
Make your own sauces, marinades and spice mixes! I will help you as time goes on, but we can use the internet to find ways to make our own flavors. Many of the packets you find are filled with MSG, too much Salt, and other preservatives. Simple flavors are relatively easy to achieve with dried spices. You can do it!!
Shop local! Try out your farmers’ markets. They will have the freshest, seasonal ingredients for quite a bit cheaper than the grocery store. Food grown in you area has so many benefits. You know it’s been properly grown, you can get to know your farmer, and you can get the allergy prevention in things such as local honeys and eggs.
Look for Grass Fed Beef for your family. You can check out EatWild.com for a farm near you.
Chop ahead. Wash your veggies in Basic H2 to get the dirt and pesticides off, and prep them into baggies or container in your fridge. This way your kids can reach for a healthy bag of veggies all ready for them. Of course, chop them in appropriate sizes for your child’s developmental stage.
Make a hummus a week. Once you see if your kids like this yummy dip, you can have it in your fridge ready for wraps, sandwiches, or dip.
Check the Dirty Dozen app and website, this way you can still buy some fruits and veggies non-organic and just wash them properly. Save money!
One last thing. We have been diligent in taking supplements and teaching our kids to enjoy them too. They now take 2 Incredivites a day, a chewable Calcium Magnesium, a probiotic, and Vitamin C. All through Shaklee.
This isn’t easy. It’s rewarding. It may cost more, and the manufacturers don’t send great coupons… but your health will thank you. “Pay now or Pay later” right?!
Send me your thoughts and ideas as well! Let’s continue to encourage one another in this journey!