Living Life: One Tantrum and Green Smoothie at a Time!
Become, stay, or be healthy as a stressed or overwhelmed mom. Life is busy and sometimes frustrating, especially when you don’t eat well. Give yourself a fighting chance; eat to the best of your ability so you can do the same in every other aspect of your life!!!
I get it; it’s hard to be healthy as a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom, or a work at home mom, is probably one of the hardest careers out there. You don’t get a break and work 24/7! That’s why it is so important to pay attention to your health. You need to get in some exercise, and more importantly, you need to eat well!
We only get one body; it needs to be treated well so it can work well. So we can work well. And, so we can take care of others!!
Gifts to Make Healthy Living in the Kitchen Easier
Have you ever heard that 70-80% of being healthy, or getting in shape, is done in the kitchen?
Well, it’s completely true!
You may not be able to get toned in the kitchen, but what you eat is quite a bit more important than exercising.
Because, again, there’s another saying that tells us that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet. Meaning if you want to be healthy; it all starts in the kitchen, and you can’t be healthy if you eat junk. Not even if you’re at the gym 24/7.
The gifts below are items that a health nut mom needs in her kitchen, either out of necessity to make healthy things she wants to eat, or to make life easier in the kitchen!
A food processor is one thing I went without for so many years. Now, I don’t know what I’d do without it! Did you know you can make your own bars with it?!? Like Larabars, Nakd bar, and more! I even use it to make the chickpea cookies my girls and I love, and vegan mac and ‘cheese’. There’s just so many things it can do to make cooking and baking, as a health nut of a mom, so much easier.
If a mom into healthy living does not have a peeler yet, do her a favor and grab her one! They’re not expensive, and they make life a whole lot easier in the kitchen. I can’t believe I went so long without one!
I went so long using the pathetic knives that came in the cheap knife sets, because I hate spending money on myself. But, if you’re a health nut, or know a mom who is; please, get her a nice chefs knife. Have you ever tried to cut up a melon or pineapple with a flimsy knife? It’s almost impossible! Make life easy for the health nut in your life and get them a quality chefs knife!
These may be more for the kids, but silicone baking cups are much easier to clean, and more earth friendly, than a regular muffin tin. Plus, they take up less space, can be used to make home made healthy reese’s, fudge, and a ton more! I love them, the heart set pictured above was the first set I got, I have regular round ones, too. Having 24 makes it possible to batch make and freeze your favorite baked good, or any other recipe that needs to be baked in the oven or frozen in the freezer in small portions!!
As a mom, it can be difficult to get in all the fruits and veggies we’d love to have in a day. Drinking it in the form of a smoothie or nutri-blast makes it ten times easier! Plus, this little machine can do much more, from grinding flax seeds and oats into flour, to even making baby food. It’s a health nut moms best friend!
Every mom who is trying to eat healthy, and is into healthy living, should have a salad spinner. With the amount of salads we should be eating, it’s not practical (or cheap) to always get the prewashed and chopped salads. Buy in bulk and wash and chop your own. It’s probably what she’s already doing, and a salad spinner will help keep her greens good longer!
Let’s face it, whether we work out or not, us moms love our yoga pants. They’re super comfy for when we’re home. Stretchy for when we need to squat down to our kids level, or pick up after our little ones. In fact, moms who do exercise should have many pairs of yoga pants; some for lounging around and housework, and some specifically for exercising. So, go grab her another pair, in which ever brand she prefers!
Water is vital to our health, any health nut mom can tell you that. So, why not surprise her with a brand new super large water bottle that she can take with her anywhere! I’m personally a fan of bubba water bottles, but to each their own.
High Protein Vegan Snacks: Chocolate and Dessert-like Recipes
Ok, so maybe you’re wondering why there are dessert-like recipes on this list of healthy after school snacks focused on filling up your kids and stopping them from saying ‘mom, I’m hungry’.
Well, it just so happens that some desserts, even of the chocolate variety, can actually be healthy, filling, and count as a nutritious after school snack!
Thank goodness! Right!?!
Especially if the ingredients in those snacks are in themselves healthy or whole foods, like dates and nuts, instead of processed sugar.
Check out the recipes below and enjoy eating ‘better-for-you’ desserts without the guilt feeding your kids a healthy after school snack.
*Hint- if you don’t already have this, you may want to look into investing in one. You will NEED it to make some of the recipes below. Plus, it’ll help you make tons of other healthy treats, snacks, and even meals to feed your whole family. It’s the easiest way to make banana ice cream & vegan mac and cheese!
My 5 year old snuck a peek at this recipe while I was putting this post together and was perfectly ok with the secret ingredient that helps make these protein rich and chewy. Go check out this recipe and find out the secret ingredient!
The 5 ingredients for these have made it onto our grocery list, and currently I’m more excited to try these than my girls, but only because they don’t know, yet! It’s going to be like protein bar meet chocolate and energy balls (but way healthier, of course)!
Sure, these may look like cheesecake, and your kids may think they are getting away with eating something too sweet as an after school snack. But, it does have quite a bit of protein in it to help keep them full til dinner!
These look delicious, I’m sure my girls and your kids will love these (as long as they like peanut butter- or replace with nut butter of choice). My girls actually call a single apple slice with toppings on it an apple cookie and they eat them like they would cookies, too!
High Protein Vegan Snacks: Savory Snacks
If your child isn’t into sweet after school snacks and looking for something a little more savory, check out the recipes below, some are even traditional foods from other countries!
Maybe it’s just me, but there’s an ingredient in this recipe that I had never heard of before, which is pretty neat! I’m not sure if it’s available in stores near me, or you, but Amazon does have it here. Psst…this is one of those snacks from another country, and will not only help you get more protein into your kids, but veggies, too!
If your kids are still craving tortilla chips to munch on after school, prepare this cheesy vegan dip! It’s high in protein and Vitamin B12 (one of the most important nutrients to make sure you get enough of, if vegan.)
Use the burrito filling as a healthy, filling, tortilla dip.
Who says vegans don’t get enough protein in their diets?
Vegans not getting enough protein in their diets is simply a myth. (Probably to encourage people to keep eating food that supports farmers, or big businesses, or they simply don’t know any better. I won’t go further into this issue in this post…)
Why You Need a Meal Planning System as A Super Busy Mom
If you’re a busy mom who also wants to be healthy and bring up healthy kids; then you need to use a meal planning system. Without one, you will likely fail and fall into the trap that many Americans do; eating out and relying on heavily processed foods.
Because you’re busy. You don’t have time to cook fancy healthy meals everyday of the week.
If you don’t plan an prepare what’s for dinner ahead of time; there’s a good chance it may be fast food or boxed mac and cheese…again. (Which, by the way, kids love, but it’s not good for them.)
So, maybe you’re wondering:
What’s a meal planning system?
How do I even start a meal plan?
How do you actually stick to a meal plan for good? I’ve tried so many times and have failed over and over again.
Do I need to meal prep? Why do people meal prep anyways?
And, all of these are great questions!
I know exactly where you’re coming from with these questions; I used to be the same way.
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I would try over and over again to get my meal plan to work for me, but every week it would end up failing; food would go to waste, money would be lost, and we’d end up eating the super quick (not so healthy) meals for dinner because I didn’t have time to make anything else before the kids started throwing tantrums about want being hungry and wanting dinner.
This is when I realized that a ‘normal’ meal plan would probably never work for me; I needed something different. Something to help me stick to the meal plan, I needed a fail proof system I could set up and use week after week.
This is where a meal planning system comes into play; it’s simply what you do with your meal plan (whichever kind of meal plan you create) to make it almost impossible to get off track with your meals for the week.
So, why do you need a meal planning system?
I hope you can see from above why it’s vital to yours, and your families health, that you set up a meal planning system in your home. But, just in case, I’ll give you a few more reasons.
Know what you will eat, and serve, for breakfast before you get up
With a meal planning system, there’s no guess work during the week for what you’ll eat.
You can either plan everything out on the weekend, or the night before.
It can be a discussion that you have with other family members, where they choose what they want for breakfast (from a list of breakfasts that were chosen for the week), or you could choose for them.
Breakfast should be healthy and easy, especially on busy mornings where you’re rushing out the door.
But, a quick breakfast doesn’t have to be unhealthy.
If you plan and prepare, you could be serving your family pancakes with fruit on top for breakfast, without having to wake up early to make all those pancakes. (I don’t know about you, but it seems to take me forever to make a batch of pancakes so they turn out golden instead of brown.)
Know the answer to the dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?”
One goal that a meal planning system has in mind is reducing the amount of times you hear the question “what’s for dinner?”
One method that can be used in a meal planning system is posting what all the meals are for the day, on the fridge for everyone to see.
I say reduce the amount you hear the question, because some people may not look at the fridge, or maybe you have younger kids who can’t read yet. I can’t guarantee you’ll never hear that question again, just like no one can guarantee they can stop your kids from saying “mom, I’m hungry”. But, there is a way to reduce that, as well!
Save your sanity during the summer with hungry kids
Or, anytime of the year, really! Especially if you have kids who are old enough to go into the fridge and get their own food.
Trust me, they can do this younger than you may think. If you have their lunch and a few snacks all prepared for them to grab from the fridge and eat, they will do so!
No more making food on demand because you hear the words ‘mom, I’m hungry’.
I call it the lunch box method. And, it’s truly amazing; the best thing I started doing to reduce the amount of work I have to do during the day as a pregnant work at home mom to two little girls! You can learn more about this method here.
Save you money
Having a meal planning system in place will save you tons of money.
It will save you money from having to buy fast food or eat out.
You’ll save money by actually eating what you bought at the store.
And, you may even save money on future meals by buying in bulk or making freezer meals!
There are so many ways to save money when you take control of your families meals and use a meal planning system to keep everyone on track!
Save you time
Maybe saving money isn’t your biggest concern, maybe it’s that you don’t believe you have time to eat healthy or feed your family healthy meals.
Well, you do!
A meal planning system helps you streamline the meals you and your family will eat, in whichever way makes sense for you and your family. You’ll spend a whole lot less time implementing a meal planning system than you would making a trip out to get food, or rushing to make a ‘quick’ unhealthy meal each night.
Plus, if you don’t take the time now to eat healthy, you’ll be forced to take time later in your life dealing with nutrition related chronic illnesses. And, you don’t want that, for yourself or your family.
Be in control of yours and your families health
Somehow, it always seems to be us moms who are responsible for what everyone is going to eat.
It’s up to us to feed our families, day in and day out. And, maybe you can get your husband to do it once in a blue moon. But, it’s rare, and possibly not very healthy, either. (Or, maybe that’s just how it is for me!)
Luckily, implementing a meal planning system will take the stress off of you day in and day out from having to decide what to give everyone to eat.
Sure, you’ll still have to decide and make the food. But, with a system in place you have more control over the food your family eats, because you’re not exhausted from the day and making decisions last minute.
You can plan and prepare to make your family healthier meals, meals that will improve their health, not diminish it. And, isn’t that what we all really want when it comes to feeding our families?
Need help starting your meal planning system?
Now, that you know why you need a meal planning system, the next question is…
Do you know how to create one or get one in place that will actually work?
If your answer is yes; good for you, why haven’t you started already?
Go start now!!!
If your answer is no, and you don’t even know where to begin; I welcome you to take my (FREE) 4 week course to Simplify Mealtime.
In it, you will:
determine what healthy means to you and your family
find out what your family actually likes to eat
learn how to make healthy swaps to the food you and your family eat
take inventory of your food
learn how to meal plan (a few different ways because one way does not work for everyone)
learn about 5 different methods you can place in your meal planning system to succeed with your meal plan
make a customized meal planning system that will work for you and your family
start using your system
learn about ways to overcome common obstacles when it comes to healthy eating
You’ll be provided with some free printables and templates through out the course and have a task to complete each day (5 days a week).
You’ll also have access to me via email to answer any questions you may have while going through the course.
Are you ready to start feeding your family healthy meals on a busy schedule?
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Raising Vegan Children: 6 Vital Questions Answered by a Nutritionist
My many thanks to Shawna for asking me to do a guest post and answer some reader questions. I love connecting with other vegans and enjoy helping people with nutrition on a plant-based diet.
What are the three most important things for parents to know when it comes to feeding their children?
I would say my top 3 suggestions would be:
Expose children to a wide variety of foods at an early age and encourage them to try new things. This will widen their palate and not fill them with pre-judgements of any foods.
Don’t make separate meals for parents and kids. It is fine to modify meals, such as leaving out spices (or something of that nature) but once a child is on solid foods, everyone should basically eat the same meal. This will help kids from being picky eaters and save the parents a whole lot of time and stress around meals.
Lead by example! If they see their parents saying “I don’t like vegetables/beans/etc.” or refusing to eat the same thing as the rest of the family, children will think that’s acceptable and follow suit.
What should I do if my child outright refuses to eat what I made for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Should I make them a different meal so they at least eat something, or what would you suggest?
Children can refuse to eat for different reasons. Usually saying “no” is an act of independence; a way for them to have a voice and start their autonomy. For young children, refusing to eat is considered a normal part of their development and this phase will pass. They will eventually get over their food fears and unwillingness to try new foods (especially if the parents and older siblings are leading by example). I would suggest giving them space and allowing them to figure this out in their own time.
I wouldn’t suggest making a separate meal. By doing so you would be catering to the child in ways that might lead to problems down the line, like picky eating which can then lead to nutrient deficiencies. It also will put more demands/stress on the parent who has to prepare these separate meals. As I mentioned above, once the child is able to eat solid foods, she/he should be eating what the rest of the family eats.
As parents, it’s your job is to create opportunities to eat several times a day (based on your child’s age) so that the child can meet his/her appetite and nutritional needs. You should offer a well-balanced meal (see last question for more on this) and set a positive environment at mealtimes so that children enjoy coming to the table.
I also want to add that it is best not to interfere with a young child’s eating habits by way of using pressure, rewards, punishment or other ways to get your child to eat. By engaging in these things, you could prolong the picky eating and damage his/her developing relationship with food as well as erode the trust the child has in you as a supportive parent.
If your children are older and just doesn’t feel like eating what you’re making, they might want to have more of a say in what they’re eating. Having them offer input into meals can help. Even giving the option of “would you rather have brown rice or quinoa with dinner?” gives them a feeling of having a choice (even though both choices are healthy). I find the most successful meals especially for older kids are the “build your own” style. This can be done with tacos, bowls, salads, etc. Mealtimes can go over better with kids when they participate and have choices.
Having said all that, if you think your child still isn’t eating enough or is not currently in that “picky/independence” age, check a children’s growth chart which will indicate if they are growing at a normal pace. You can also refer to this food portion post. While it’s not vegan, it gives you a reference and shows the appropriate portions of food for a child’s age. If you find your child is not in the appropriate height or weight on the growth chart or is dropping foods from his/her diet without adding them back in at some point, see a nutrition professional or feeding therapist that specializes in childhood eating.
My child is starting school in the fall and their elementary school is nut free; do you have any nut-free school lunch ideas that are nutritious?
Many schools are now nut-free but creating a healthy lunch that is vegan and nut free can be done. Below are a few ideas of “main” parts of the meal. You could also add in some fruit, low sugar granola, homemade trail mix, protein balls (with seed butter instead of nut butter) or a dairy-free (low sugar) yogurt to snack on as their “dessert”.
Veggie wrap, pita, or sandwich. Some options are:
Vegan deli slices, spinach, avocado, tomato and carrot shreds
Sunbutter & banana rolls (spread butter on a tortilla, top with thinly sliced bananas, roll it up & cut)
Hummus & veggie sandwich (use different flavored hummus and their favorite sliced/shredded veggies)
Mashed bean and avocado rolls (mash beans and avocado on a tortilla, add a few veggies, roll up & cut)
Baked tofu sandwiches with veggies and their favorite sauce/dressing
Hummus with dipping veggies
Veggie burgers or nuggets
Pasta salad (can sub in chickpea or lentil pasta to make it healthier) with beans and veggies
Vegan grilled cheese sandwich or quesadilla (add in veggies like fresh spinach)
Bean, brown rice, veggie & vegan cheese burrito
Vegan quesadilla with beans & veggies
Rice or quinoa salad using their favorite veggies
Leftovers they enjoyed from the night before
Bagel or rice cakes with tofu cream cheese or hummus and thinly sliced fruit or veggies
Pita or bagel pizza with vegan cheese
*If you’re using vegan cheese, be sure to get brands that do not use nuts.
Do kids need to eat on a strict schedule, or is it alright if they simply eat when they are hungry and graze throughout the day when our schedule allows it?
I would say it is better for them to eat when they are hungry, particularly when they are young/toddlers. It helps them to become attuned to the need to eat. When they are just starting out on solid foods, you could introduce a variety of finger foods in front of them that have a variety of tastes such as a few berries, piece of apple, and mashed beans which will encourage them to be more adventurous in their eating and to try different foods without pressure.
For older children, I would say it’s also okay to have them eating when they are hungry, especially if they’re active in sports and have to be on different schedules. This will give them the energy and nutrients they need for an active life even if their schedule doesn’t allow for strict mealtimes. That said, you don’t want kids overeating or grazing on foods because they are bored. If they’re not very active, I’d stick to mostly mealtimes (using your judgement) especially if you see them looking for snacks because there’s “nothing else to do”. This can lead to weight issues which are becoming more prevalent in our society. You want to instill good eating habits as early as possible.
How do I know what to feed my kids on a daily basis? With so much information available online, it’s hard to pick through and know what to trust.
I hear you about all the information online. It can get very confusing and frustrating. If you’re looking for nutrition advice, I’d look on the site’s “about me” page to see the person’s credentials. You want someone with at least a bachelor’s or master’s degree in nutrition. The word “certified” doesn’t mean much since people can get a certification after a 3 week course but “licensed” is a good word to look for because states have specific education and examination requirements. A CNS (Certified Nutrition Specialists) or RD (Registered Dietician) are both high nutrition credentials.
As for what to feed kids on a daily basis, well rounded meals with a focus on veggies is a great place to start. Try to have them eat a good mix of macronutrients (carbs, protein and fat) at each meal along with a large portion of colorful vegetables for their phytonutrients.
For a breakfast option, they could have a smoothie with their favorite fruit, a plant-based protein powder, dairy-free milk and some nut/seed butter (depending on any allergies they might have). You could add some greens to the smoothie as well (spinach and baby kale are the ones that don’t really change the taste of the smoothie). Don’t forget breakfast doesn’t always need to look like a traditional American breakfast of eggs with bacon and toast. Heated healthy leftovers can be a great breakfast…and kids often think it’s fun to switch things up.
For lunch or dinner they could have a veggie burger or tofu nuggets, a side of their favorite veggies with a tasty sauce/dressing and maybe some chickpea pasta or brown rice. Having salad as a side or starter is a great way to get more veggies in and get kids used to eating it.
Bowls are a great way to ensure the whole family is getting their macronutrients. For a healthy bowl you would choose a whole grain or starchy vegetable (brown rice, quinoa, sweet potato, winter squash), add a protein (beans, tofu, nuts, seeds, peas, seitan), add veggies (maybe even have them choose so they are already agreeing on what they’ll eat) and top it with a dressing or sauce of choice. The fat portion can be: a part of the dressing/sauce if it’s made with a fat, a bit of high-quality olive oil, some avocado, ground flax seeds, or a small handful of nuts/seeds. Bowls are an easy way to put a meal together and can be so versatile. You can make all sorts of combinations using different veggies, proteins and sauces. I’ve done Mexican bowls, Italian bowls, Asian-inspired bowls – whatever cuisine the family is in the mood for that night!
Shawna also has some great “Healthy Plate Templates” so take a look at those!
How can I tell if my child is getting enough protein and other nutrients they need? We eat mostly vegan, and lately I’ve only been able to get my kids to eat beans (chickpeas) when I bake them in cookies!
Those cookies sound good!
I would suggest looking at a growth chart to see how the child is doing physically. Going to get a checkup and do blood work each year can also be a good way to ensure the child is having adequate nutrients. You can check out my other post on some vitamins/minerals that vegans should keep an eye on. If your child is low on the growth chart, is feeling extra tired, or getting sick more often than those around him/her, look into seeing a nutritionist or physician that specializes in vegan child nutrition. Please note that most doctors do not get much nutrition education in school so unless they did extra education outside of school, a nutrition specialist working with your doctor is the way to go.
In general, if you can stick to the macronutrient info that I mentioned in the above question and having a good multivitamin can help with any other nutrients they’re not getting from food, your child should be getting the nutrients they need.
Protein is always the most concerning nutrient on a plant-based diet. Beans can be hard for some kids but it depends on what age group you’re dealing with. Once on solid foods, well-cooked beans (especially white beans) can make a great finger food that most babies will enjoy for their mild taste and soft texture. Just make sure to purchase BPA-free cans or tetra packs and rinse the beans to get rid of excessive sodium.
Once kids get older and have heard something like “beans are gross” it might be harder to get them to eat beans outright. A few ways to incorporate them would be to add them to soups (blended beans can make things “creamier”), veggie burgers or nuggets, dips/sauces, muffins, in vegan quesadillas, or roasted (like roasted chickpeas). Some beans are more appealing than others to certain people. Try offering kids all different kinds and see if they take to any (lentils, white beans, and chickpeas might be the easiest to “sell”. Tofu (always buy organic) and seitan can also be a good option for protein if the kids are not yet into beans. Even if they’re not loving beans right now, keep trying – they really are a very healthy food.
Another thing to mention is that there are a number of meat alternatives available in many supermarkets or can be ordered online. While whole foods are always best, kids are going to want “fun” foods no matter if they’re eating meat or not so don’t worry about giving them some of the meat alternatives every once in a while. I’ve listed some of my favorite alternatives to animal-based products in my Vegan Products and Resource post.
In wrapping up this post, I’d just like to say do your best but don’t overly stress unless you feel there is something really wrong (you know your kids better than anyone) and in that case, seek out a professional.
Stay positive and lead by example. You’ve got this!
The Best Food Bloggers to Follow for Healthy Kid Friendly Recipes!
Have you ever tried to healthy recipes online that your kids will actually eat? It can be tough! There are so many websites, beautiful images of food on Pinterest (that seem impossible to recreate), and then if your child scrolls through Pinterest with you; they’re probably going to pick out all of the ‘unicorn’ or ‘mermaid’ colored desserts! Finding healthy kid friendly recipes can be a challenge!
That is why I put together this list of amazing food bloggers who create healthy recipes.
Most of the food bloggers below are moms who understand the struggles of getting our kids to eat healthy.
Some have recipes that even my picky eater won’t deny!
All are focused on healthy kid friendly foods. (Even if that wasn’t their intention.)
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The amazing food bloggers below have so much to offer!
They come from different backgrounds, have different food preferences, allergies, and have to work around what they (or their kids) can eat, to come up with the recipes that they share with the rest of us.
So, whether your child will eat anything and everything, are picky eaters, have celiac disease, or allergies that you’ve been trying to buy or make food around; these bloggers below know what it’s like and will feel like a lifesaver when trying to figure out what to feed your kids!
“At Strength and Sunshine, I help families with celiac disease and food allergies navigate the free-from lifestyle with ease by providing delicious gluten-free, top allergen-free, plant-based recipes the entire family will love. Food and cooking can still be easy, fun, and healthy and I’m here to show you how through my recipes, tips, and celiac disease/food allergy coaching!
Rebecca started Strength and Sunshine in 2013 as an outlet to share her knowledge and recipes for those with celiac disease and food allergies. She was diagnosed with celiac disease 10+ years ago, as well as navigates other food allergies, like soy, and autoimmune conditions. She holds a BS in Public Health and has a mission to make free-from living easier, wholesome, and delicious no matter the dietary restriction!”
“Hi, I’m Rosa! I’m a mom of 2 young boys and always looking to create new and exciting family meals, while maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. I was born into an Italian household, so cooking is practically in my blood. Although fluent in Italian cooking, I love to experiment with different types of cuisines. My primary focus is on healthy recipes suitable for the entire family. Mostly plant based, and all under 400 calories per serving, with the occasional cheat day, of course!”
“I’m Melissa, the mother and creator behind Wee Little Vegans, a site dedicated to helping you raise a vibrant and healthy vegan family. On the site you’ll find tons of kid tested and approved recipes, as well as links to resources to keep you and your littles eating well and thriving – all without meat, eggs, dairy and animal by products.”
“Healthy Little Foodies is a site packed with healthy family-friendly recipes as well as finger food ideas for babies, toddlers and the lunchbox.
Amy, a Mum of two boys (age 4 & 7), is the recipe developer, writer and photographer of the site. She is dedicated to sharing recipes that are packed with fruit and veggies, low in salt and have no refined sugar.
Amy has a degree in Food Science and for several years she worked in the food industry developing new products for the leading UK supermarkets. She also has a Post Graduate Diploma in Education and worked as a primary school teacher until her eldest was born. Now she combines her experience of both jobs, in addition to her experience raising two children, to help parents raise their own Healthy Little Foodies.”
I love all of the food blogs above, and so do my girls! But, there are other food blogs focused on healthy recipes for kids, too. So, to give you even more options, and to help you find other food bloggers to drool over their delicious food follow and try out their healthy, for you and your kids; here are some more that I hand picked!
“Weelicious offers fast fresh and easy recipes for the entire family with over 1500 recipes, over 500 cooking videos, feeding tips and ideas to make kids great eaters from day one.”
Kelly from The Pretty Bee focuses on creating allergy friendly recipes for the whole family. And, believe me, you won’t miss anything with her recipes; they may be allergy friendly, but they don’t taste like it! She has even sorted all her recipes based on allergies, so if you or your child has a specific allergy, just look under that section under ‘Sort by Allergen’ in the Recipe Menu!
My girls are actually obsessed with one of her waffle recipes, and won’t let me use any other recipe for waffles!
I first found Karielyn’s food blog because of her Healthy Peanut Butter Cups. Yep, the chocolate brought me in, and the focus on clean eating kept me coming back for more! She has a huge assortment of recipes suited for all different types of diets, not fad diets, the regular kind, such as; vegan, vegetarian, paleo, gluten free, lectin free, and more!
Cassie from Vegan Insanity is dedicated to making healthy and delicious vegan recipes for all to enjoy! I’ve been following her blog and recipes for a few years now. But, I just took a look at the front page of her site and am already seeing new recipes that I’m adding to my meal plan right now to try making this next week, like her 3 Ingredient Vegan Gnocchi recipe.
If you can’t guess by the name of the blog, the food bloggers name is Karrisa, and she creates delicious vegan recipes. I’ve even features some of her recipes in other posts on my site which are focused on healthy food for kids, such as: 12 HEALTHY VEGAN SCHOOL LUNCH IDEAS
There are so many more food bloggers that you can find online, either by searching on Google or browsing Pinterest. Trust me, I have barely scraped the surface!!
It may even seem a tad bit overwhelming with the amount of delicious, and healthy, recipes available online, and maybe you don’t know where to start.
Start with one of the food bloggers above, maybe one catches your eye, or you’re looking for specific types of recipes and one of them creates it; take your time going through their recipes, one by one, and try them for yourself, and of course have your kids try them, too!
When you start digging through their recipes, I’d love to know which healthy kid friendly recipe you chose to try first! Leave a comment to let me know!
How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables: 12 Different Ways!
We all know that veggies are good for us and our children. It’s one of the first foods we give our children as babies, in baby food, along with fruits and baby cereal. But, once they become toddlers it can be difficult to get them to eat veggies, and parents will often ask How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables now?
Which veggies for kids do we try to even start with now?
**Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietitian or a professional nutritionist. I simply believe in eating well for people of all ages, and I believe that a whole foods plant based diet is eating well, whereas processed foods are not.
It was so simple back then when they were babies, right?
And, for some reason we forget how easy it was to get veggies into their diets; especially when our kids start being more independent and trying to choose what they eat all by themselves!
But, there are a few options to choose from when trying to help, or guide, your kids’ eating habits to those veggies you know are good for them!
Options for “How do you get kids to eat veggies?”
You could explain to them how important veggies are for them to grow healthy and strong.
Or, if they’re still young, you could just sneak the veggies into their food and avoid the ‘I don’t want to eat it’ fight, all together!
Then, explain to them, when they’re older that they actually do like the veggies!
Don’t forget to show them how you hid their veggies in their food, so they know how to do it themselves. But, you may want to wait to tell them this until they understand the importance of eating veggies, and will eat them willingly. Such as, what vitamins and minerals they contain and what would happen to them if they didn’t get a certain nutrient.
(And, you might want to expect for them to be a little irritated by your tactics, but don’t worry; they’ll thank you when they’re older and living on their own…hopefully!)
If you would rather have the fight with them every day, several times a day, about eating their veggies; go right ahead! It’s up to you!
I tend to do half and half with my two little girls. Half the time I hide my girls veggies, half the time they’re right there in the open on their plates. Can you guess which ones they eat first!?
Other Ways to Get Kids to Eat More Vegetables WITHOUT Hiding Them
If you’re dead set against hiding veggies in your childs food, you could try:
turning their veggie options into a rainbow (and challenge them to eat the rainbow everyday)
season their veggies, some kids don’t like them plain
experiment with roasted, raw, steamed veggies, or you could even turn the veggies into a sauce
have your kids help you in the kitchen
have them try ‘just one bite’
make veggies fun
add veggies as a side to a favorite meal
let them know that their favorite character loves veggies and trying new things
reverse psychology (tell them ‘not’ to eat it- learn more about this method here)
I am sure there are many more ideas for what you can do to get your child to eat veggies, but let’s get on to how to add veggies to food to actually help get veggies into your childs diet; whether or not they think they will like them!
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12 Different Ways to Get Veggies into Your Childs Diet
The best way to ensure your child is getting enough veggies is by adding them to food your child already loves. These foods may show that that the veggies are in them, and some may hide the veggies!
1. Start with Smoothies!
I love smoothies! I got a nutribullet almost 4 and a half years ago and have used it practically everyday since!
My girls also love to have what I’m having!
Even if they have the same exact food in front of them; they want my food.
So, instead of getting upset that I can never eat my own food, or drink my own drinks; I double the food, or in this case drink, and just share it with them!
Win-win; I get to actually have some of my smoothie, and I get tons of fruits, veggies, and healthy fats and proteins, into my girls!
You can put so many amazing things in smoothies, and adding in certain veggies won’t really alter the taste too much.
My girls will drink my all time favorite smoothie without a second thought! And, I put in at least half a cup of squished down spinach in it!
They love it!
If you want to really hide the veggies, using a green leafy veggie may not be your best choice. They tend to turn the whole smoothie green.
I’d recommend adding in softened beets, or another softened veggie that has the same color as the fruits in it. Unless of course, if it’s St Patrick’s Day, then go right ahead and keep it green and tell them a leprechaun did it!!
Find out why else you need a nutribullet and what other things you can do with it, in my posts below!!
If your kids love popsicles, whether in the summertime like most people do, or in the winter time like my girls do; you can certainly make your own and add in veggies!
It’s much better for them this way, even without the veggies! It’s always best to have complete control over what ingredients go into your kids food!
In fact, I usually make popsicles from the smoothie recipe above! It’s as simple as making a smoothie, adding it to a popsicle mold, and then leaving it in the freezer over night.
You could be as creative, or as lazy, with this as you want. If you’re kids don’t get offended with you adding veggies into these, they could even help make them!
Whether you want a sweet or savory breakfast, you can do so by adding in veggies!
You’re kids may not even notice a difference! (Depending on which veggies you add in.)
The pancake recipes I usually make for my kids, I thought were pretty healthy; until I came across the recipe below!
See, I usually add fruit to my girls pancakes; like bananas, and apples or blueberries. But, the thing is, I can get my girls to eat fruit plain, and anytime during the day. They love fruit, and if I ask them what they want for snacks; 9 times out of 10, it’s going to be a piece of fruit!
So, adding in a veggie, like sweet potatoes, instead of bananas is just brilliant! It’s still going to be sweet, but add in different nutrients.
In the recipe below, the sweet potato takes the place of eggs in the pancakes, which in my eyes makes them way healthier. It takes the cholesterol and saturated fat right out of them; and adds in healthy carbs, vitamins, and minerals. Yay!
Like pancakes, you can also make waffles with different veggie ingredients.
Take the recipe below for example. Those waffles won’t only give you more energy through out the morning from the extra nutrients from the pumpkin, it also just looks pretty!
Of course, what the waffles look like will depend on your waffle maker. Mine will have a spiderman spider imprint on it…always. Get it here to have some superhero fun at breakfast with your kids; they may even enjoy what you make with it more, simply because of the way it looks!
Both my girls are big fans of muffins, as am I! Hmmm….I wonder where they get that from….
But, in all seriousness, I make a couple dozen of muffins a month and keep them in my freezer for snacks or quick breakfasts. Or, early breakfasts, when we’re starving and wake up too early to think about what we want, or I just don’t feel like making anything.
And, I have a few go to muffin recipes. The two recipes below are always made every couple of months, along with my blueberry muffin recipe and/or a chocolate chip muffin recipe. We have to have some sort of balance; one muffin focused on fruits or veggies, and then one that is super sweet and healthy!
And, we absolutely love thisSweet potato muffins recipe. By the way, the recipes on this site are amazing, whenever I search for some healthy and vegan dessert, his recipes always come up; I try them, and I’m always super impressed by the outcome! I don’t know why I get so surprised by this anymore, I’ve been coming across his recipes for almost 2 years now!!
Kids love bread, or at least my kids love bread, especially when it’s banana bread, pumpkin, or even zucchini bread.
And, what’s not to love! It’s moist, delicious, and you don’t even taste the zucchini; perfect for feeding our picky eaters who claim to ‘hate’ veggies, or think they’re ‘disgusting’!
You could even make chocolate zucchini bread using the muffin recipe above! You may need to add some extra time for it to fully bake, though. The time, in general, just needs to be doubled. It’s usually about 20 minutes for muffins and 40 minutes for ‘quick’ bread, at the same temperature. Just check it with a fork or toothpick to make sure it’s done!
Just like breads, you can include veggies in cakes, too!
Ever heard of carrot cake?
Just cut the sugar in half if you can, and maybe make some other substitutions to make it a bit healthier. As parents, we don’t need our kids to have any more sugar than absolutely necessary for the cake to taste good.
When searching through recipes, I tend to find that I can easily cut the sugar in half, or even replace it with maple syrup to make it even healthier, and less harmful for our kids.
You could even take a bread recipe, cook it in a cake pan instead and add some frosting or icing to it. Do this with carrot cake, or a zucchini bread/muffin recipe. What kid is going to turn down cake?!
It’s kind of amazing how many different types of food we can make with the same recipe, simply by changing the shape and baking time!
8. Cookies (yes, I said cookies!!)
Cookies for breakfast!! And, no I’m not talking about Cookie Crisp; that cereal is horrible for you!
I’m talking healthy, nutrient filled, cookies for breakfast.
The kind that has some fiber, vitamins, and minerals to them.
The kind that you’re kids will ask you for in the morning, simply because they want to get away with eating cookies for breakfast!
Cookies that even you will approve for them to eat first thing when they wake up! Go ahead, and try out the ones below!
Either way, I find it hard that a child wouldn’t eat this; unless they’re just entirely against any type of cold treat, or despise bananas!
For the chocolate version; simply cut up a few bananas and freeze them for a few hours, or overnight. When they’re frozen, blend them with some soy milk (or milk of your choice), add in some peanut butter (or almond butter), some cocoa, spinach, and a drop or two of vanilla (optional) and blend!
If they like it extremely soft serve; use a nutribullet. If they like it thick; use a food processor. Or, you could always use a regular blender, but I honestly don’t even own a regular blender. So, I’m not sure on how it’ll turn out.
10. Home Made Vegan MAC
There seems to be a lot of ideas on this list about getting veggies into our kids through their snacks and sweet breakfasts, so I’m going to try to add in some actual meals for lunches or dinners!
So, for a lunch or a dinner, you could really hide veggies into this mac and cheese recipe. It’s just like macaroni and cheese, but a super food powered version (and without the cheese)! It’s from Vegan Insanity, and my girls actually beg me for this, and they’re 2 and 5 years old. If I use the small shell pasta to make this, my older daughter calls it the mac and cheese from Panera.
One food that your kids may actually eat without even having to sneak in the veggie, are fries.
If your kids are used to eating out, or love the occasional fast food trip; then they probably love french fries.
And, sure, french fries when from fast food chains or restaurants, aren’t all that great for you. But, what if you made them. At home. In your oven. With real ingredients! It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, time consuming, or difficult!
I make fries at home all the time for my girls, myself, and my husband, and no one complains that they’re eating veggies! Use white potatoes, or red, purple, or even sweet potatoes; it doesn’t matter! Or, if you want to try something really different, make them with eggplants or zucchini!
Pizza is a little different than other foods you can hide veggies in; the veggies tend to be a bit more noticeable on the top of pizza. Unless you eat cheese, like the majority of people in this country do; then you can go ahead and hide the veggies underneath the cheese. But, they’ll probably show through anyways.
Or, go ahead and make eggplant or zucchini mini pizzas! My two year old is a huge fan of these; they’re a little more her size!
Note on Hiding Vegetables in a Childs’ Food
I know there is controversy on whether or not you should hide veggies for kids. There’s certainly pros and cons to doing it.
kids get the vitamins and minerals they need and maintain optimal health
if they don’t know they’re eating veggies, they can’t get mad at you for feeding them veggies
they could get mad at you when they find out they are eating veggies
they don’t learn to love veggies on their own
All in all, it’s really up to you, what you choose to do for your kids; you can certainly use the recipes above whether you want to hide veggies in your kids meals or not. It’s going to depend a lot on you and your child and how they’re prepared.
I would highly recommend to not hide food if your child is a pre-teen or teenager.
They’re old enough to understand the importance, as long as you teach them about it!
Don’t just rely on your childs school to teach them about nutrition; good chance you’ll be disappointed in how little is actually taught. Plus, the older they get, the more independent they will want to be; they should get a choice for what goes into their body. But, you, as the parent, need to teach them how it will affect their minds and bodies; they won’t know unless they are taught!
If your child is little still, like 5 and under, and they ‘don’t like’ veggies because someone else said they don’t like veggies, then hiding them in other foods, at first, may be beneficial. Then, just make sure to explain to them how yummy those veggies actually are, and that they already eat them, they just don’t notice.
Make sure you eat veggies in front of them, as well. Otherwise they won’t want them if you’re not eating them; be a good example for your kids with your eating habits!
My 5 year old has been at a stage lately where she thinks about 50% of the food I give her is disgusting, so believe me, I get it! It’s hard to get kids to eat what we want them to. Whether it’s making sure they get enough veggies, or protein; it can sometimes be a real struggle.
So, take the food ideas from above and use them to your advantage; either in the way I suggested, or in your own way!
If you found How to Get Kids to Eat Vegetables: 12 Different Ways! useful, please share Facebook and save on Pinterest; or comment below with more suggestions or your thoughts on sneaking veggies into food for kids!
8 Tips for Eating Healthy on a Road Trip with Kids
I’m not going to tell you that eating healthy on a road trip is easy.
You have to plan and prepare for it, just like you do for any other part of your trip.
But, the benefits of eating healthy on a road trip will far outweigh the negatives of relying on fast food or eating at any restaurant you happen to pass by on the road.
Some of the benefits are:
not starving on the road and keeping your eyes peeled for the next place to eat
energy to stay awake and drive, or keep the driver company
not feeling horrible or having an upset stomach from not eating well
no hangry passengers
less cranky kids, because they are eating like normal and aren’t having any extra sugar or processed foods
being able to save your money for ‘fun things’, not just food
not feeling bloated from eating out
and I’m sure there are more!
Check out the tips below to help you reap some of the benefits above!
Cut up fresh fruit and veggies
This is the first thing that comes to my mind when thinking about going on a road trip and trying to eat healthy, especially if it’s summer time!
There are so many delicious fruits in season in the summer time. And, bringing cut up fruits and veggies for everyone to munch on in the car, or at rest stops, sure beats processed snack foods!
Plus, they’ll help keep everyone hydrated on the trip, which is super important, and many people may not even think about staying hydrated on a car trip.
So, do yourself and family a favor and fill some containers with cut up fruits and veggies, store them in a cooler, and eat those instead of chips or crackers in the car!
Some easy suggestions:
any kind of melon
Whether you’re trying to eat healthy, or not, you can’t go wrong with bringing fruit and veggies!
Pack sandwiches, or picnic like meals, for when you stop
If you’re able to, pack sandwiches, sandwich ingredients, or other food that is easy to make or eat at rest stops.
Pretend it’s a picnic and pack like that!
This way you have control over what food you and your family eats. And, you can bring any special foods that any of your family members need, say for example, if they have allergies or an intolerance to certain foods; you can account for that and pack accordingly.
Bake healthy treats, prepare your own trail mix, and prepare other healthy food, at home to bring with you
Just because you want to eat healthy on your road trip, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to snack!
Bake some healthy treats with whole ingredients before you leave and package them up so they’ll stay good the whole trip, or at least the first couple of days.
This could be healthy muffins, brownies with a hidden protein source, home made granola, fruit, or cereal bars, or more!
Make your own trail mix to bring, or other healthy food that will stay good in the car. Make sure to bring little bags or containers if you don’t portion everything out at home.
There’s really a ton of options, just choose something that you know your family will love. Something they’ll love so much that they won’t even want to eat out!
Avoid eating at fast food restaurants, or other restaurants, by stopping at a grocery store, instead
Even if you plan ahead and bring healthy food with you on a road trip there’s the chance that you may run out of food, depending on how long your trip is.
Unfortunately, some food will only last so long in the car; you can’t expect fresh fruit to last more than a day or so.
So, instead of stopping at the next fast food place, or restaurant, you see when you get hungry; find a grocery store instead.
Even if it’s a grocery store you don’t like, it’s sure to have healthier options, and cheaper prices, than eating out.
You won’t be able to make all the food you did before leaving home. So, you’ll have to look for more convenient options, such as pre cut fruits and veggies, and more ingredients for picnic like meals.
But, you’ll feel so much better doing this and after eating your healthy food, than you would if you went out to eat. Not to mention the amount of money you’ll save, and the headache you won’t get from the kids complaining of belly aches!
You need to stay hydrated when on the road. Well, at all times really, but a lot of people forget to stay hydrated while driving.
Luckily, the best thing to keep you hydrated is also the cheapest and least messy; it’s water.
So, go ahead and grab a large pack of bottle water to bring on the trip!
Or, if you’re really trying to save money and reduce waste; bring your own water bottle and buy gallons of water to refill your water bottle when you stop.
You could always do a combination of both, too. Fill your water bottle when you stop, but if you run out of water before you stop, use the bottled water.
Whatever works for you and your family
Plan your meals and snacks ahead of time
Like mentioned at the beginning, you need to plan the food you eat on the road just as you’re planning all other aspects of your trip, maybe even more so.
Unfortunately, meal planning for a road trip is a bit different than meal planning for a regular week at home.
You have to account for:
not having a freezer with you
the heat in the car if traveling in the summer
the size of your cooler
the amount of space you have available for food
how long things will last, which will determine the order you need to eat the food in
You also need to know whether or not everyone will get to eat inside the car, or if you’ll have to stop every time you need to eat.
I know if we ever take a long road trip in my husbands car, he’d want us to stop to eat so the kids don’t make a mess in his car with food. However, I also know that would change through out the trip as we try to make good timing and our sanity can only take so much when it comes to kids whining in the backseat that they’re hungry.
So, whether you decide to let everyone eat in the car right off the bat, or are ‘dead set’ on no one eating in the car; be sure to plan some food that doesn’t make a mess, or at least much of a mess!
Eat at the same times you usually do, unless the kids are asleep
I don’t know how your road trips are, but when we go on road trips, we’re usually up quite early and stay up quite late trying to make good timing on where we’re going.
This may require a little extra food for energy for us adults, but for kids; they should be able to eat at the regular times they eat at, for meals and snacks.
So, if possible, plan stops around the time they usually eat meals, unless of course if they are sleeping!
And, as a friendly reminder, make sure everyone uses the restroom and has a chance to stretch or run around when you stop.
Stop at rest stops for meals, so you’re not tempted to get fast food
One more tip to help you and your family eat healthy on a road trip is limit the temptation of eating fast food.
You can do this by looking for rest stops to eat at and use the restrooms at, instead of in towns. That way, when you pass cities or towns, you won’t be searching for signs for places to eat, just to get gas if you need it.
It is Possible to Eat Healthy on Road Trips with Kids
You may need to plan and prepare a bit more than you’re used to. But, it’ll all be worth it when everyone still has their energy and still feeling good once you get to where you’re going!
Just play it smart, stop at rest stops for picnic like meals, and only stop in towns or cities for fuel and to grab some groceries.
That is how to eat healthy on a road trip with kids! Do you have any other suggestions? Leave a comment below if you do!
We all know that peer pressure can make kids, and some adults, do some pretty dumb things! But, did you know that it can change what people eat, as well? Sometimes without even realizing that there are social influences on food choices.
And, without sounding like a sociology professor, what we eat is largely determined by who we eat with, or what others around us are eating.
Just think about commercials for food; usually someone in the commercial is eating, which is going to make you hungry and eat what they are eating.
As humans, the social animals that we are, we are constantly trying to fit in and stay within the norms of society, and that includes what we eat.
Unfortunately, our society, as a whole, eats quite poorly. More so than other countries in this world, too.
With the convenience of fast food, all the advertisements for processed food products, and then the social pressure to eat like everyone else. It’s hard not for people to eat the way they do.
Honestly, I’m proud of you. I’m proud of your for reading this, for taking an interest in healthy eating, and I’m proud of you for wanting to help raise a healthier generation. Because goodness gracious, boy do we need it. We need to do something to turn our countries eating habits around, and it’ll start with our kids being raised to tell the difference between food that is good for them and food that isn’t!
Want to Remember This? Pin Social Influences on Food Choices: Peer Pressure to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
So, now that you know just how important it is to help our children, and ourselves; stay strong and continue eating healthy despite peer pressure. Le’ts dig into how we can actually do this!
Start Young; Make Healthy Eating the Norm
If we raise our kids with healthy food in our home, and on our tables, from the day they start eating solid food; they’ll think that’s completely normal. So, by the time they go to school, they’ll think their friends are the odd ones when they eat unhealthy food.
If your children are still really little, this is the best route you can take for preparing your kids to eat healthy in the face of peer pressure.
My oldest is in kindergarten this year, and she’s so proud of the way she eats and that she eats healthy. She’ll even come home telling me what the other kids eat and how it’s not healthy, or gross.
…Alright, maybe she’s watched a few too many health documentaries with me and knows a little too much of the process animal products go through to become available to the general public.
But, she’s also the one asking me to make her avocado and tomato sandwiches for lunch next week, and split pea sweet potato stew for dinner. So, there’s that!
Make healthy eating a priority in your life
You don’t have to obsess over healthy eating and get mad at anyone in your family who eats something ‘unhealthy’ once in awhile. But, making healthy eating a priority in your life will show your kids just how important it is.
And, don’t just make eating healthy a priority, but learning how to eat healthy, too!
Watch documentaries about health, get a couple of books, and cookbooks. These can be resources for your whole family, especially if you have older children. If they start getting curious about why healthy eating is so important, but don’t want to listen to you; point them in the direction of the resources so they can understand better and learn.
If they learn why it’s so important, either by you making it a priority, or by learning more about healthy eating; it’ll make it easier for them to eat healthy, even when their friends aren’t!
Make a mental note of how you feel when you eat healthy vs. when you eat unhealthy
If you start to connect with your body and learn how you feel when you eat healthy versus when you don’t eat healthy; it’ll make it a lot easier to eat healthier under peer pressure.
So, make sure your kids do this, as well.
You could either make a mental note of it, or get a journal and start actually recording what you eat and how you feel; you may just be amazed!
And, you don’t have to wait til your kids are old enough to write to help them connect what they eat to how they feel. If they complain of a belly ache after eating something unhealthy; ask them what they just ate and ask them if that may be the reason they don’t feel good.
Kids are smart, sometimes they just need a little help connecting the dots. But, when they start to learn how horrible they feel after making poor food choices, they may just stop making them.
They can be stronger than peer pressure when it comes to food choices; sometimes it may just take them learning of the consequences of unhealthy eating first.
Ignore what other’s are eating, and focus on eating right for you
Ignoring what other’s are eating and focusing on what’s right for you is much easier said than done!
Believe me, I know first hand how hard this can be. My husband does not eat the healthiest of foods, and it is so tempting to eat the same way he does. But, I know I can’t. Or, shouldn’t. Because one glance at the ingredient list on the food he eats, and I’ll see things on it that are horrible for your body; like partially hydrogenated trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, msg, etc.
So, I have to simply ignore what he eats, knowing it’s not good for either of us, and just eat my fruit, trail mix, and healthy home made baked goods (which taste way better than his food anyways).
Understanding how your body feels after eating junk will help you ignore what others eat and eat right for you. So, start there and then move on to this tip, and help your children do the same.
Encourage your kids to teach their friends about healthy eating
If you teach your kids about healthy eating, or have them learn about it on their own, then they may be so inspired by the benefits that they’ll want to teach their friends about healthy eating, too.
If you happen to teach your kids and encourage them to teach their friends about it, then it may even go further, at least with young kids. I don’t quite seeing this work with many teenagers.
But, you never know! If you have a child who likes to be the smart one in the group; then encouraging them to teach their friends about healthy eating might not just help your child make healthy food choices under peer pressure. It may help their friends eat better, too!
Stay positive and be informative when others ask you questions about why you’re eating so healthy.
Staying positive and informative when others are questioning your eating habits can be difficult, especially if the other people are being rude about it.
Other’s may wonder why you’re eating a salad, or drinking a green smoothie, if you already look super healthy. They may wonder why you’re on a diet, when you’re simply eating for your health.
Just know, this is more about them and their eating habits, than it is about yours. Our society has been brainwashed into thinking that people only eat healthy to lose weight, most people don’t think of it as a way of life. And, really, it’s their loss to not eat healthy all the time.
Let them know why you’re eating healthy, why it’s important, and why you’re not going to eat fast food like most people do. But, make sure you say it in a way that won’t offend anyone; simply be informative and stay positive that the way you’re eating is the best for your body.
Make sure to teach your kids to be the same way!
Help your child develop a strong sense of self-esteem so they feel confident in eating healthy even if being teased
One of the most important things you, or your child, can do to overcome the temptation of bad food choices under peer pressure, is to develop a strong self-esteem. Developing strong self-esteem will help you, and your kids, feel more confident that eating healthy, instead of eating like everyone else, is the best choice!
Sometimes others can be rude about the way you eat, other kids might tease your child. But, helping your child build a strong self-esteem and confidence in what they eat, will go a long way with your child making good food choices. Even when your not there to help them decide!
And, let your child know that some kids may tease them or not understand why they are eating what they are. Other children may not know about nutrition or understand that what they eat affects how they feel. Let them know that other kids may not understand that eating healthy is important and will help people avoid chronic illness and help you live longer.
It is Possible to make Good Food Choices in the Face of Peer Pressure
It may not be the easiest thing in the world to do; but you can still eat healthy when everyone else around you is eating poorly.
Believe that what you eat is the best for your body, and be sure to let others know why you eat the way you do when they ask about it. Even if they ask about it in a rude or teasing manner. Know that what you eat is promoting health, and that eating like others may promote disease or chronic illnesses in the future.
Really, knowing the connection between what you eat and how you feel can be very helpful in ignoring peer pressure when it comes to making food choices, for yourself and your kids. So, make sure you are making that connection, even if you need to write it down. Help your kids do the same!
You and your kids are stronger than the social influences on food choices; you, and your kids, make the best choice for you, you know better now, than to crush under peer pressure and make poor food choices!
7 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids for When You Can’t Decide for Them
We’re not going to be with our kids forever, and neither can we make all their food choices for them all the time. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to encourage healthy eating in our kids when we can.
Whether we’re sending them off to school for the day, like I had to do with my oldest this past year as she started kindergarten. 😢
Or going to a play date, spending time with friends or family while you have another child, or maybe they’re a bit older and going to a sleep-over or camp!
We can’t tell them what to eat when they aren’t with us!
Well, we can.
But, they don’t have to listen to us if we’re not there to enforce it.
Luckily, there are things we can do to promote healthy eating in kids so that they’ll want to keep eating healthy, even when we’re not watching!
Want to Remember This? Pin 7 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids for When You Can’t Decide for Them to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
Now that you know why parents should encourage healthy eating, it’s time to answer your questions about how you, as a parent, can promote healthy eating in your children, and how you can promote it at home!
7 Ways to Encourage Healthy Eating in Kids for When You Can’t Decide for Them
Talk to them about expectations
If your child is old enough, you could simply talk to them about the food they should eat, and those they shouldn’t, when not at home.
However, doing this can do one of two things.
It will either clear things up in your childs mind and help them when they need to decide on the food they eat when you can’t tell them.
Or, if they have a little rebellious side, they will take the opportunity where you can’t control what eat, and eat all the foods you just told them not to!
Let’s hope they go with the first option, but if not, there are other ways to help encourage them to eat healthy; other than just telling them to.
Help them connect what they eat to how they feel afterwards
A better option, other than simply telling them what to eat when not with you, is to help them connect the dots from the food they eat to how they feel.
Believe it or not, what we eat affects how we feel physically and mentally.
Do you remember the last time your child had tons of sugar?
They were probably hyper and very active for a short period after, and then may have complained of a belly ache, not feeling well, or wanting to nap.
There’s nothing wrong in telling your child that the reason they feel this way is because of all the sugar they ate!
This actually happened recently in my own home. My husband gave into our oldest when she wanted sugary cereal. She decided to eat it for breakfast, and before she was even out the door for school she was regretting her choice.
She continued to eat the same thing for breakfast most of the week, by the end of the week she was asking me for a healthier breakfast from then on.
Now, my oldest is 6, but she probably understands the connection between what she eats and how she feels better than some adults I know!
And, it’s all because I talk to her about it and help her understand the connection, and have been doing so since she was real little. She’s even watched quite a few health documentaries with me, so she has had the chance to learn from me and others.
Even if your child is 3 or 4, don’t think they’re too young to start connecting the dots between what they eat and how they feel; more than likely, they will be completely capable of understanding!
Give them the responsibility to choose what they eat
If they’re old enough to understand the connection between what they eat and how they feel, then they’re old enough to start making some decisions themselves when it comes to what they eat.
If you hand the responsibility of what to eat over to them when they aren’t with you, then they may just choose what will keep them feeling good!
You may need to remind them before they leave, or before you drop them off, that if they choose to eat a lot of sugar (such as at a birthday party), then they may not feel very good later in the day, and won’t have as much long lasting energy to play.
But, at some point we’re going to have to let go and let them make all their own decisions. So, why not start with what they eat? At least with food, they’ll experience the benefits, or consequences, from their decision in the same day and can learn whether it was a good or bad decision for them.
Teach them about healthy eatingas early in their life as possible
I already mentioned teaching my own daughter about healthy eating and the connection between what she eats and how she feels.
But, there’s more to know about healthy eating than just the way it makes someone feel.
Start teaching them about how healthy food benefits them. Or, how other foods can cause them to get sick.
Teach them about different vitamins, minerals, and macro nutrients in a way they can understand.
Let them know eating oranges, strawberries, tomatoes and other citrus fruits contain Vitamin C, which will help their immune system, or help them not get sick.
Where as eating plenty of protein, like beans or tofu, will help them build strong muscles. Eating carbs, like pasta or bananas, will give them energy. And, eating healthy fats, like nuts or avocado, will help keep them full and satisfied!
There is a lot more you can discuss with them about healthy eating, but those should help you get started.
Even more important than talking to them, teaching them, or helping them connect what they eat to how they feel; is what you eat!
Kids love to eat what their parents eat. So much so, that I can barely eat a whole meal or snack without one of my kids asking for some. I can’t even have a full green smoothie to myself!
But, don’t think that they will only eat the healthy food you eat, or even that that’s all they see you eating.
They see everything when you eat. If you push your vegetables to the side, or eat only the potato on your plate. They see if you sneak some candy when you think they’re not looking, or the fact that their dad gets snack food at the store.
They see you and they are watching and learning. The way you eat, may very well be the way they eat, even if you try to teach them better.
Actions are stronger than words. So, if you really want to encourage them to eat healthy, make sure you’re eating healthy, too!
Eat healthy at home, so healthy eating is normal
In line with you eating healthy to show them how to eat healthy; try to keep all meals and snacks at home healthy.
If you normalize healthy eating at home, from when they are very young, then that’s what they think is normal; even if the rest of the world thinks otherwise.
Make eating healthy at home a big deal, so they’ll want to share their good eating habits with friends and others
To make a bigger impact at home with healthy eating, make it a big deal.
If you’re starting to try to turn your family’s eating habits around so that everyone eats healthier, this will help a ton!
Even if your family eats healthy, it doesn’t hurt to make eating healthy a big deal and feel special.
If you haven’t checked out the other sections on this site yet, there is a section for my own healthy recipes with pictures of the healthy food. And, for some time last summer, I started taking pictures of the healthy food I ate and posted it on Instagram.
Now, my oldest daughter wants me to take a picture of all the food she eats, simply because it’s healthy! Sometimes I do take pictures of it, and sometimes I don’t. Either way, she still gets excited about it, especially when it’s a healthy food she used to not like eating. (Did I mention, my oldest is also a pretty picky eater!)
She’ll even tell me about the food other kids eat at school and in her own words how ‘one of her friends says shes a vegan or vegetarian, but she’s really not because she eats fish or drinks cows milk’. For some background, we eat mostly vegan.
But, it still amazes me sometimes how much she knows about food and healthy eating simply because I’ve included teaching it to her in everyday life since she was 3 or 4 years old.
You Can’t Always Make their Food Choices for them…
But, you can prepare them to make healthy eating choices when you aren’t with them.
From teaching them about nutrition, eating healthy yourself, or connecting the dots between how they feel and what they ate; there are plenty of ways to encourage healthy eating so that it simply becomes second nature to them to do so.
If they choose an unhealthy option when not with you, it’s also not the end of the world; they’re still learning, and maybe that one choice will be enough to teach them that what you were telling them about eating was right!
What’s you favorite way to encourage healthy eating in your kids? Leave a comment, I’d love to know!
My Easy Homemade Applesauce (that you’ll regret not making)!!
Need an easy homemade applesauce recipe to impress your relatives this year at Thanksgiving?
Or, just craving the nurturing flavor of right off the stove apple sauce?
I don’t want to brag or anything, but my apple sauce is pretty good, and really simple. It calls for only 3 ingredients plus water. If you’re ready to learn my secrets then go ahead and continue reading!
I started making my own apple sauce after my first daughter was born, or maybe a year or so after. So, I’ve been using this recipe for about 4 or 5 years. Sure, it may not be as good as my aunts recipe (who has been making home made applesauce for every Thanksgiving since I can remember). But, it’s still pretty good!!
I honestly have to limit how much of this apple sauce my girls, and myself, have at one time to make it last past the day I make it.
Want to Remember This? Pin My Easy Homemade Applesauce (that you’ll regret not making)!! to your favorite Pinterest Board!!
IT ALL STARTS WITH Simple INGREDIENTS and EQUIPMENT
4 Simple Ingredients
6 VERY Low Tech Pieces of ‘Equipment’
a measuring cup
a pot with a lid to cook in
a peeler (optional)
Yep, that’s all you need to make your future favorite recipe!
Once you have your ingredients, go ahead and peel and chop the apples. If you don’t want to peel the apples; you don’t have to, but it may not be as smooth and delicious!
And, as you can see with the picture below, I simply break off small chunks of apples with a knife rather than truly chop it up evenly. It makes cleaning up easier; no cutting board to wash.
Once you have the apples in the pot, add just enough water to be able to see it through the apples; see the picture below.
Then, cover the pot of apples with a lid and let boil until the apples are soft.
This can take up to an hour or more if you have it set to medium heat, which is what I do.
You could also add in the cinnamon at this time, or wait til the end. I usually add half in when the apples are boiling and the other half right before I add the brown sugar.
Remove any excess water when needed.
By this I mean that once in awhile, maybe every 10 to 15 minutes, check the water to see if there’s too much. If you’re able to press your measuring cup into the apples and water fills the cup at all; remove the water from the pot. This will prevent runny applesauce. We want this to be nice and chunky.
This is one of the secrets I have for making delicious applesauce.
The other secret I have is to whisk the apples into applesauce with a whisk.
When the apples are soft, whisk them to see if it’ll turn into applesauce. If the apple pieces don’t separate well enough yet, keep boiling and try whisking every 5 to 10 minutes til you can get a get consistency.
It is not going to be completely smooth and that’s alright!
If you want your applesauce to be completely smooth, wait til all of the ingredients are added and the sauce is cool, then blend in a blender or food processor. I don’t personally do this, though.
Once the consistency is good; stir in the brown sugar, and the rest of the cinnamon. Let cool, and Enjoy!!
This is the perfect warming healthy snack recipe for the winter ahead of us. Or, anytime of the year!
When you have it once, and have it with kids, they’ll start asking it for you all through out the year; yes, even summer!
It’s also the perfect side dish to bring to a family gathering. You may need to double or triple the recipe, though!!