In my last post, I talked about the importance of sticking to a real food template despite bumps in the road. Those bumps could come from pressure from other parents. Your child’s changing preferences. Confusion or overwhelming information from the media, claiming new and better health trends. Being a Mom is an amazing job, but also can be very difficult. Planning meals for a family and feeding children is a huge responsibility.
So here are a few tips to make a whole food diet for your kids doable, and consistently:
1. START YOUR CHILDREN YOUNG.
If you have a baby or young children, start them at Whole Foods from the very beginning. Follow the safe introduction of foods and avoid common allergens, but use real food. Don’t be afraid to stray from the “norm” of using squeezable pouches with organic purees. These are great in a pinch, but they are not a substitute for fresh food. Use high-quality grass-fed or pastured cuts of meat and feed those growing little bodies. There is more nutrition in one pastured egg yolk than you will get in a whole bowl of fortified rice cereal.
2. KEEP IT CONSISTENT, EVEN WHEN YOU TRAVEL!
If you travel, keep their nutrition consistent. Avoid falling into the travel trap where you let go of your nutrition principles because you are on vacation. If you are driving, pack a cooler and plan a mid-trip picnic. The girls are dining in their booster seats in a gas station parking lot on the way to the mountains. I changed them on a floor mat and then strapped them in their high chair. They enjoyed their lunch in the fresh air. If you are flying, do some research ahead of time about what food you can bring for the trip and what restaurants are available at your destination. Sticking to your nutrition principles while on vacation also makes getting back into a routine at home MUCH easier. That is true for parents and kids.
Sticking to nutrition is huge, but so is movement! Pack those exercise clothes. Have a plan when you travel. Whether it is weaving exercise into your activities or having a game plan for the day when you can get in a movement session. Again, stay consistent, this is all about maintaining a lifestyle forever. It is not about a diet until you reach said goal.
Here I am with my boys on the beach and pregnant with the girls on a family vacation in the mountains. Read about my planning for that trip here. A ViPR is a great training tool to throw in the car and keep up with movement on vacation!
3. MAKE IT FUN!
When it comes time for a party I am typically the first to raise my hand to host! I cook for my family. Enjoying special fun treats together at a party is an excellent way to show the kids how we prepare our food at home, enjoy some treats and still feel excellent after. Above, the boys are enjoying a great strawberry pie made with gelatin and a coconut flour crust, I made this last Mother’s Day celebration.
You can even make an ice cream bar with dessert tacos. Cameron is eating a homemade plantain taco with coconut milk ice cream and toasted coconut for Kevin’s birthday party a couple of years ago. Isn’t that cool! Again, the benefit of making food, fun without sacrificing your health is a win-win. If you “splurge” or buy some conventional food for a party, I can promise your body will not function as well as preparing the food at home.
I have found that making mealtime an event makes it fun for all. Whether it is making a special new bar for a trail snack or planning a healthy snack to take to a special event. Help make the connection that healthy choices are a part of the everyday!
Weave kid's choice night meals into your meal plan. The boys get to help choose one dinner meal each for my meal planning menu. They have to fall within the parameter of our nutrition principles and must include protein and veggie. That way they stay connected to the concepts of real food. It also keeps them engaged in the meal planning process. meals into your meal plan that
4. LET THE KIDS HELP
The boys have always come shopping with me. I try to involve them in sourcing their food as much as possible. They know where the farmer’s markets are, our coop food pick up and where we shop at the grocery store. They also help me in the garden. I feel like this helps them become a participant in their healthy choices. They know what junky food products are and don’t even ask for them in the store. They also know what we can do with some good quality ingredients when we bring them home.
Also, let them help with the food preparation. Wash the vegetables, mash the avocado, peel and cut the bananas. The girls love to help Mommy in the kitchen. It is a mess and takes twice as long. But, I know they are learning and understand what we are doing. When I bring out what we made, they often say, “I help with that.” Isn’t that cute? How powerful to know they can help feed themselves at the age of two!!
5. STICK TO IT, EVEN AT SCHOOL!
The boys are in kindergarten and do you know those littles face food pressure even in kindergarten! Pretty sad, huh! I talk about their kindergarten lunches here. Well, these boys are smart and they know what is going to make their bodies feel good. William came home one day and said, “Mommy, it seems like other kids eat dessert all day long for every time they eat.” I thought that was an amazing observation for a 6 year old. They know they are in charge of their own bodies and have to make choices at school. I send them with options for when food (or a food like imposter, aka. crap) is passed out at school. Why is is normal feed little 40 pound bodies a doughnut full of crazy ingredients, oils and sugar? Hmmmm…any way….I plan their lunch menu just like I do the dinner menus and it is centered around the same nutrition principles.
I could have shortened this post and said, maintain consistency within your nutrition principles always! Plan and look ahead. I promise it works and it is sustainable!
As always I am eager to hear your feedback.