One of my goals in finding a healthier way to eat and live for myself, is to continue to upgrade the health and well being of my offspring.
My daughter is a vegetarian who's not really that enamored of vegetables, and my son demonstrates a strong preference for foods with the word "Cheez-It" in the title.
Of course, my own picky eater childhood gave me a great deal of sympathy towards picky eating in general, and I always said, "Food will not be a battleground in my home."
Oh, how that has come back to kick me in the nutritional ass.
Who other than a parent is responsible for how well their child eats? Um, yeah. No one.
I have indulged in giving them a lot of crap snackity goodness over the years in the name of, "Well, they're just kids! They deserve this!" or also in the name of, "I didn't eat X, Y or Z, and look at how I turned out!"
Regret much? You betcha.
To those of you parents who have stuck to your guns on healthy food for your kids, I salute you wholeheartedly.
You know how Oprah loves to quote Dr. Maya Angelou, telling her, "When you know better, you do better?" Well that idea resonates profoundly with me these days.
And no, I don't plan to overhaul my kids' diet overnight. I think if Cole woke up to find the Cheez-Its replaced with carrot sticks and hummus, he might go into some form of anaphylaxic shock. However, I'm making small changes here and there in the hopes of including more whole foods where ever I can sneak them in.
For example, we now have Smoothie Time.
Remember the smoothie recipe I posted a while back? I've been tweaking it here and there, and serving it to Aidan nearly every afternoon at 3 p.m. Now, she's hooked. And next up, Cole. He said, "Wow, it tastes a lot like yogurt." And guess what? He'll eat yogurt. Victory is mine.
I wanted to share my tweaked recipe (almost identical to the protein shake recipe at the Nutritional Weight and Wellness website) that adds a bit more real fat into the mix, which is good for brains and for keeping you feeling satiated longer.
Blueberry Protein Smoothie
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup strawberries
1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt (I use Trader Joe's Organic European-style)
1 scoop whey protein powder, vanilla flavored (I use Show Me the Whey, from Mississippi Market, a local co-op)
1/2 cup of coconut water
1 cup of ice
This will make two large servings, each roughly 140 calories or so. The fact that both my kids will drink this, and one of them even starts to salivate for it around 2:30 in the afternoon, and especially the one who needs a good source of non-soy based protein, makes me very happy.
Makes her happy apparently too.
What are some of your proudest healthy snack or food choices as it relates to both you or your children? Please, by all means, share.
Love reading this post and about your kids. As I’ve mentioned before my kids are what makes my eating habits slide way down while they’ve been home all summer. I’m so busy taking care of them and feeding them that my meals are quick and not on a schedule like before.
I feel it is my job as a parent who has become more aware of eating better for myself and want that for my kids too. Well, it has become a not fun and not happy topic in our house. I’ve had days of tears of why they don’t get it and why aren’t they following my good habits if they see how better off I am now. Well my cousin said because they are kids and it took you this long to see the light so it might take them years till they want this too. She said I can’t just force them to change because I changed so easily. We have turned it into a power struggle now and I’m losing. So I’ve made a few changes and am trying to keep quiet about the rest.
1. I leave fresh fruit on the counter and they see it so they eat it.
2. I haven’t brought pop-tarts in the house for 3 months and my son/daughter are finally adjusting to it.
3. they like having fruit pizza for breakfast. It’s a whole wheat pita with peanut butter, apple, sliced almonds, berries, honey on it and they love it.
4. whole wheat pasta and bread
So just those few changes is something and maybe over time I can slowly add more. It’s going to be hard to pack their lunches this year, I’ve told them whatever goes in their bags has to be fresh and no wrappers or packages of stuff.
My cousin who helps me with this is a great eater and started her little one off on the right path. She eats cottage cheese with black beans for lunch, tuna fish with sliced cucumbers on it and all beans/veggies are her favorite foods. My one regret was not starting my kids on this road much earlier in their lives.
Thanks for the smoothie idea, it sounds yummy. Was so nice to hear your thoughts on kids and eating right.
You are on to something. I think it’s good that you are building a healthy habit with your kids. A yummy one too.
Kendra B says
I’m very very lucky in the food department with my son! We are vegetarian and he will literally eat (and enjoy) anything that I feed him. He’s special needs and a lot of work so luckily this is one area I got cut some slack LOLL!! We love your smoothies too by the way 🙂
Tracy Gomez says
My daughter is a dancer and has started to realize the need for more protein to fuel her body. She is a carb queen and would love to eat mashed potatoes three meals a day. For breakfast lately we have been having Greek yogurt over berries, sprinkled with almonds over the top. She drizzles a little honey on top and calls it a breakfast sundae. Whatever works!
Hi Cathy. Feeding kids is such a struggle, isn’t it? I may try the smoothie again with my kids. It may eliminate some of the “texture” that scares my kids away from some fruit. I was a little confused in your post though, when you said it was a source of healthy fat.. the only fat seems to be in the yogurt, which would be the saturated (not so healthy) kind. If you want to increase the healthy fats, you could add a little flax seed flour/meal. If you get the golden flax, it will be nearly invisible, and includes some healthy fatty acids (omega 3 & 6) and some fibre to help with… kids other nutritional issues. Keep up the good work! Natasha
katie squires says
I too am trying TO DO BETTER NOW THAT I KNOW BETTER…I have a 3 and 5 year old. First thing I tried to do was change up the morning cereal after learning how much salt and sugar was in it….didn’t go over so well, the no salt or sugar KASHI rice puffs didn’t seem to be as yummy as corn pops…go figure LOL. So we did half and half 🙂 its and improvement right? Then it was trying to get them to eat natural PB…epic fail…so we went back to the regular for them. Since then I have kept it simple…we try to mostly shop from the outer isles of the groc store so lots of fresh food, less prepackaged….lots of fruit, and CHEESE (it would seem), nuts (thankful they are not allergic) and we have been baking our own treats so we know what is in them. The good news is my 5 year old can regularly be heard asking “is this healthy?” 🙂 Then we discuss why it is or isn’t. (we never talk about food making you fat…we talk about it making you grow up big and strong and healthy).
Jennifer Larson says
My boys love fruit, fruit cups, yogurt, cheese sticks, and popcorn. Even cooked on the stove, 1 cup does not have too many calories.
Cutting down on sugary drinks is just as important. I just don’t keep them in the house. Then when we go out to eat, which is rare, they can have the sugary drink. It’s a treat.
Becky M says
this is fantastic! I have tried so hard with my little one to get her on good habits early on. Lately I’ve been failing (she’s almost 3). She’s going through the ‘no’ phase. I’m finding the best strategy is just to eat it myself. When she sees me eating she usually comes over to check it out. Sadly this doesn’t work for meals, but I can usually get some carrot sticks or grapes in her. lol
Good for you making these small changes with your kids. You sound just like me and what I’ve been doing with my kids. It is a constant struggle and trying to do meet them half way. Some days are better then others. I never talk about it making them fat, we talk about having a healthy body, more energy and healthy heart. Good luck !!
Go Dawn! Its the little things to get them started. Cole hasnt had sugary cereal for breakfast in a month. Baby steps. Way to go!
Oh, that sounds delish! I bet my daughter would eat that! Didnt even think of giving her Greek yogurt! Great idea!
Ah, I just meant full fat, as in a good filling kind. Im trying to actually move away from fat free and low fat when I have dairy. Im learning a lot about this on the Dishing Up Nutrition podcast. Its a small abount (1/4 cup per serving) and its helping me to feel fuller!
We do add flax from time to time, but every time I do, Aidan complains about the taste, even with the ground flax. Isnt that funny? I dont even notice it.
I also just changed the blog post to read just adding more fat into the mix. : )
I replaced Coles peanut butter yesterday with a healthier version and he didnt even notice! Little baby steps!
We dont keep sugary drinks either. No juices or pops. Never really have. But yes, Cole has them when we go out, or sometimes begs for them from the quickie marts when I stop for gas.
Laurel S says
I need to get my kids to read this… I was one of those ‘healthy’ moms, as I have a degree in Dietetics. Yes they do get treats but obviously not as much as they would like… I know they will thank me later 😉
I like to add ground flax and some protein powder to my smoothies and replacing half of the fat in muffins and loaves and such with cottage cheese helps to boost protein in those too.
Actually full fat dairy is much healthier than low fat dairy. First of all, that fat helps your body absorb the calcium and other nutrients in the milk. Also the fat helps slow down the absorption of the sugar from the lactose. There have been many recent studies showing that there is no significant connection between saturated fat and heart disease, but there is a connection between trans fats and refined carbs/sugar and heart disease. Animal fats can carry so many toxins, given how food is processed in our country, so I always try to eat organic dairy and meat.
And just one more thing and then I’ll go….:-) To make it truly balanced with protein, fat, and carb you should use coconut milk – not water. Just a quarter cup. Another good saturated fat – especially if you work out a lot.
Yes, I know i should try it with coconut milk. Working up to that! : ) I did just post that very question on the Weight and Wellness site. About why full fat is better than low fat for weight loss and nutrition. Im really staying on this whole balanced thing. One full week under my belt and i feel great and the scaled did move last week. : )
I’ve slowly been working on my husband by introducing breakfast and/or post-workout smoothies (protein, fruit, canned coconut milk or flax oil or seed, and some sort of vegetable like spinach, kale, or cucumber). We’ve recently discovered a dairy sensitivity, so we’ve been avoiding that for now.
I’ve also been keeping some healthier go-to snacks in the fridge, like washed and cut veggies. Snap peas are a favorite. And I’ve been hard-boiling a bunch of farmer’s market eggs each week since they’re a quick, portable snack with satisfying fat.
For a sweet fix, I’ve been eating berries with almonds or other nuts. And sometimes topped with toasted coconut. Who needs dessert?
And I also got a Vitamix blender this week and tested it out by making my own nectarine-mango salsa (1 nectarine, 1 mango, 1 tomato, 1 small onion, 2 small seeded jalapeño peppers, juice from 1 lime, and a small handful of cilantro from the garden). Delicious over chicken and brown rice, and I’m sure it would also be a great spread for a sandwich or with some tortilla or pita chips.
Good luck continuing to spread the health!
Ugh, I’m so glad I’m not alone in my struggles! I have been slowly changing the snacks they eat, I have 5 and 8year old sons, and an 11year old daughter. It’s definitely tough. I feel especially like I need to be careful with my daughter, I don’t want her to think she has tp “diet” but I still want her to understand what is good for her body. Especially now that she’s hitting that age where her body is changing anyway. I grew up constantly feeling fat, because all of the women in my family were constantly talking diet. As a result I grew up to have a weight problem, looking back at old pictures I was not a big kid, even though I thought I was. But having finally lost “most” of the weight, I try to set good examples as best I can, but I constantly worry about puttng too much pressure on her. My boys are a different story, they have some texture issues that we work around, my 8 year old is on the spectrum. I talk about taking care of our bodies so they are healthy and strong, but it’s hard when they are content with Goldfish. I’m not going to give up, though. Baby steps, indeed.
Alis in Wnderlnd says
My husband is a health food addict, and while I love veggies and salads, I also love greasy french fries. It’s a curse.
One of my kids will eat just about anything and the other is incredibly picky. I have to hide all sorts of veggies for him to get them.
We love snacking on sugar snap peas and hummus, apples with sunbutter or peanut butter — my daughter is allergic to tree nuts — and I make a chocolate milk with wheat grass using this mix: SuperFood by Amazing Grass. It’s tinted a bit green, but it taste really good. We also love “tacos” with zucchini, onions, and yellow squash with shrimp. Plus, I have replaced my cooking oil with coconut oil. I actually saw pounds melt after that. It’s a healthy oil, like olive oil.
My kids like cottage cheese with a little pineapple, and my daughter will go to town on marinated sliced cucumbers. Finally, I also make smoothies with plain yogurt, berries, stevia, spinach or Superfood mix, and my kids like Kashi cereal with yogurt. We only buy plain yogurt and we avoid food dyes as much as possible.
My own smoothie recipe:
– 1 scoop low fat vanilla frozen yogourt
– Vanilla or plain soy milk
– Lotsa blueberries (yes that’s an official mesurement, look it up)
– Protein powder
– 1 or 2 Tbs matcha
Matcha is green tea powder. It is used for the Japanese tea ceremony, but it’s great for smoothies that kick your butt if you’re not into coffee. Matcha is also what they put into ice cream to make green tea ice cream. Beware, it will turn your smoothie grey if you don’t have enough blueberries, but it’s still yummy.
Right now, I get mine done at the smoothie place near my office, which explains the lack of measurements. Oh, and if you don’t want to give soy milk to your kids, plain milk will do, or if the little lady doesn’t drink milk, maybe rice milk or almond milk? As for coconut water, it probably tastes amazing, but isn’t full of the bad kinds of fat aka saturated? Or is that just coconut milk?
You will love having a fancy blender! I love my BlendTec!
Jenny Meyerson says
My kids eat salads pretty well. When introducing to a new food, there is the one bite rule. They must eat one good sized bite. Must try. My 8 year old bawled her head off because I made her try cream cheese on her bagel. I know right? Now they eat more than one slice of cucumber and one slice of pepper on their salads, but it took time (like years).
Protein powder in their smoothies and baby food jars of vegetables added to blueberry muffins or banana bread. The kids don’t taste it and it just gives a bit more of a nutritional value.
I have heard so many good things about coconut oil. The podcast Ive been listening too extols its virtues as well. (Dishing Up Nutrition is the name of the podcast, available on iTunes for free.)
My son once had a meltdown because he had to lick a single kernel of corn. I feel you! : )
Not being a nutritionist, I cant explain coconut milk, but as my friend Angela posted earlier, theres a lot of nutrition research coming out about saturated fats and some being perfectly fine for your diet, as opposed to trans fats or the fake processed fats. You know, I have good cholesterol numbers and Im trying a whole new approach to eating well. It will be interesting to see how it all shakes out. But, i love the idea of the Matcha powder!
Hi Cathy, My daughter is almost 2 and I’ve really been trying to develop better-than-me eating habits in her. How this translates at the drive-thru is that mumma gets a large fry and baby gets a yogurt parfait! I know eventually she’ll have to eat a french fry, but I hope I’m not there to see it! LOL She doesn’t eat meat in any form, so we do our best getting protein into her. She does like hummus and her favorite meal is seasoned black beans and brown rice mixed together with greek yogurt.
BTW, LOVE the book Aidan is reading. It is one of my favorites. Back in the day, it was one of the first books I purchased with my own money.
Have a great day!
Janet Forrest says
I am so heartened reading this thread! I am a vegetarian grandmother with a veg daughter and she’s raising her girls veg as well. They are 3 and 7 (almost) and have never had meat. Although we are not vegan, we get as close as we can. Even vegetarians can be junk food junkies! We work hard at keeping nothing but whole foods in the house, and the girls have a wonderful base diet, but they still love their carbs, fats and sugars and prefer them over vegetables, given their choice. Our lunch and dinner rule is veggies first, then the rest, and it’s worked well. Our hope is that by the time they are out in the world w/o us, they will still make healthy choices, since obesity runs in our family.
Good for you for being dedicated to changing your family’s diet for the better! If more people do that, we’ll find the health care costs in our country going down significantly!
Maybe it’s all a matter of animal-based saturated fat vs plant-based saturated fat? I’m curious, I think I’ll look into it!
Not sure if this has been posted yet or not, but we don’t eat ice cream at home anymore. We keep cut up bananas in the freezer and when someone wants ice cream, we toss them into the food processor and add a little cocoa powder and voila ice cream in about a minute. I like mine with a little more richness to it so I add a teaspoon of peanut butter before turning on the food processor! I actually let my boys have it fro breakfast now if they want lol.
Everything is whole grain now, bagels, bread, pasta.
We always have a stocked fruit bowl on the counter and veggie bowl in the fridge.
We only buy reduced fat cheese now and lean lunch meats.
I started buying boca burgers and chickin’ patties. So yummy topped with some grilled veggies. Instead of using buns use two patties with all your fixings in between.
I cook with chicken broth or even just plain water instead of butter/oil whenever I can.
We ditched the white rice and use quinoa now.
Roasted veggies + lentils + can of sloppy joe sauce makes great meatless sloppy joes.
For those that like hot dogs all white meat turkey dogs are yummy and a fraction of the calories.
Ditch the store bought cookies and make your own no bakes. I did some with finely chopped almonds, apricot preserves, figs, coconut, a smidge of nutella, honey and flax seed. It’s fun to try different combinations. Just mix all together, roll into balls, and freeze. Great straight out of the freezer.
Deborah Mundorff says
My husband passed away suddenly an unexpectedly in June, from a heart attack. I have two children the same age as yours (15 and 12). We are making changes to our diet, wanting to be healthier, but the bigger change for us is exercising together. I now go to the gym with my kids every day– and trying to keep up with my 15 year old son in the weight room, or my 12 year old daughter on the elliptical is incredibly challenging for a middle aged mom. But it is one of the few activities that has been “fun” in a very sad summer.
The healthy foods I can mostly easily get away with: Baked pita chips and hummus, garden burger on whole wheat bun, Dave’s killer seed bread, roasted vegetables (mix veggies tossed with olive oil, a little salt, maybe garlic cloves and pine nuts and some fresh herbs and then roasted forever in the oven until crispy – favorites are green beans, cauliflower and brussle sprouts – not kidding the kids will eat this up)
Chris @ personalised cakes says
Between three kids, I find it quit a struggle it in all times. We eat mostly balance, fresh, organic food. However, sometimes I’m lacking on inspiration. Thank you for your helpful tips and great blog…:-)
Debbie S. says
I started listening to that podcast at your recommendation so I have been tweaking as well . My victories so far: no more nutrasweet at all. I was kind of surprised it was in some of the food the kids were eating. Smoothies with egg protein…good way to get my 6 yo a balanced snack…she much prefers crackers and cookies! Juice consumption is way down. Eggs for breakfast on big days…swim or dance days and school will be one of these. Dessert is not an every night thing if they eat well at dinner. This is a personal battle and realize I’m setting them up for the same struggle. Big focus on getting more protein in… Talking about it a lot and so far they are eager to please by demonstrating they get it.
I am thrilled with Dishing Up Nutrition! I have been incorporating their wisdom into my own eating for about three weeks now and am feeling great! Thanks so much for the recommendation! Have you done a phone consult with them by chace? Considering it…I live in Socal.
tara pollard pakosta says
I serve up a tray with some stuff on it that’s good and some “okay”: pita chips, carrots, cucumber, apples, berries, cottage cheese, cheese sticks and dark chocolate chips (sometimes I melt them and they dip their fruit and pita chips into it)….
popcorn, zucchini strips, yogurt w/ cinnamon/sprinkles.
tortilla chips w/ salsa.
LOTS of times I will make a dish with tomatoes, black beans, onion, garlic and other veggies and to get them to eat it, I will blend it all up and serve it as a sauce with pasta, they have NO Idea all the veggies they are getting in it that way.
it’s definitely a struggle some days getting them to eat healthy. today I made them scrambled eggs w/ cheese, a piece of toast and applesauce. I need to get to the store and get some fresh fruit and veggies.
It is a huge challenge to get kids to eat well. One thing you might try to substitute for the Cheez-its (which I love, but haven’t eaten in years) is Trader Joe’s Multigrain Savory Thins. They come in a narrow package and are thin, crispy and tasty, either eaten alone, with reduced fat cheese or with salsa. They also make a good substitute for chips. Also, non-veggie eaters will sometimes eat salad rather than cooked vegetables. Good luck!
I’m not a nutritionist either, so I can’t explain everything in a scientific manner, but really, animal based saturated fats are not as evil as we once thought – especially if you are consuming organic and pastured raised products. You want a mix of different types of good fats, so you don’t want to only eat saturated fat, but some is good. Also, coconut oil and coconut milk contain medium chain fatty acids, which are not as common in food, but are a more efficient source of energy than long chain fatty acids. Plus there is some research out there that coconut oil has benefits for the brain. Sorry, I don’t want to sound like a know it all! But I’m really passionate about this topic. Definitely check out the Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts on iTunes, or just the Nutritional Weight and Wellness site. They have a lot of good articles: http://www.weightandwellness.com/
I have a theory that kids get queues from their parents not to like stuff. So I have always fed them everything and not suggested “just try it”, but rather made the assumption they would just eat it. This has proven successful over the years. My 13 yr old doesn’t like zuccini, but he will eat it. I think that is the only food anyone has ever complained about.
My 14 yr old LOVES red bell pepper and takes slices in his lunch every day. The other son likes celery and carrots, so those are the lunchbox staples. But I would love to hear other creative ways to get more veggies in the lunchbox.
I recently tried a cauliflower recipe with pureed cooked carrot “cheese” sauce (google Rachel Ray for the recipe). No one mistook this for “cheese”, but I thought it was delicious.
My kids love the protein smoothies and have them after school and sometimes for breakfast. The kids also like to be creative with making their own omelets in the morning.
And I agree it’s best to not have any juice or soda pop at home. It’s a big treat when we go out to eat.
Getting my kids to eat healthy is the easy part; getting them to pose for priceless pictures like your kids…well, now we’re talking MAJOR CHALLENGE. LOL.
I know my teen-age boys eat a lot of junk out of the house, so I try to make most of the meals/snacks here as healthy as possible. Sneaking it in is totally legal. (You don’t even taste the chopped spinach added to spaghetti sauce.)
I smile whenever I seem them make a healthy choice on their own without any prodding from me. I guess we’re doing something right.
I’m sorry for your tragic loss. I admire how you are using this as an opportunity to grow together with your children. Blessings to you!
My son LOVES fresh fruits—so whenever he’s hungry for a snack –I’ll suggest whatever fruit we have and he’ll usually take it.
Also during supper I’ll just cut up some fresh fruit in a bowl and sit it on the table–yep–he’ll take it–whereas if I ask him if he wants it he’ll say no
Cathy, I have looked and looked and cannot find coconut water. Can find coconut milk no prob but the coconut water is elusive to me…what aisle in your supermarket is this located or is it a specialty store?
Aidan is really into ballet right now! So fun that you know the book!
K Weston says
We make smoothies every morning. We start with a little V8 Fusion Light and/or skim milk, and some Greek yogurt. Then a carrot or two, a cabbage wedge and two big hands-full of spinach. Then as many frozen berries as needed to fill it up. Sometimes a frozen banana or pineapple (if it starts to go bad around here, we chop it up and freeze it for smoothies.) A little water to keep it moving might be needed, too. They aren’t as sweet as other smoothies, but they’re still pretty good. And my boys (7 and 4) knock ’em down. Leftovers go into Popsicle molds. Maybe you can start with adding just one veggie–promise you can’t taste it at all. No one believes us when they see it, but the truth is in the pudding, er, smoothie. (Got the idea from Lady Falconbridge, who makes green smoothies with strawberries and spinach–she promised I wouldn’t taste the veg, but I didn’t believe her until she whipped it up and made me drink it.)
And then we’ve started to have Salad Bar night for dinner. Everyone takes some greens and then you can add whatever you want on top–chopped chicken/turkey, cottage cheese, other veggies, baby corn, apples, etc. The boys (mostly Mr. Seven) hated the idea, but he ended up eating it all–he loves that he can pick and choose.
K Weston says
Also, I’m loving “The Family Dinner” by Laurie David. Great ideas for keeping dinner simple and good for you.
Luz Maria Martin del Campo says
Hi Cathy! You are really something girl!!! You always make it interesting and fun!!! My kids love to eat apple slices with some peanut butter and covered in toasted sesame seeds, other very healthy thing to do prepare lemonade and add some chia seeds to it, believe me is very refreshing, lots of fiber and my kids love it, other jicama and cucumbers in long strips with lemon and some chili pepper (tajin if you can find it) and sea salt, other toasted pita bread with flavored ( with chives, your preferred spices, etc) greek yoghurt and also roasted vegetables like beets, sweet potatoes, eggplant, etc in slices with a little olive oil brushed in and roasted in the oven. And I also think banana bread when prepared at home is very nutritious, you can check my recipe at: http://dulcescreaciones-lucynewton.blogspot.com/2011/07/el-mejor-y-mas-facil-pan-de-platanothe.html And if you have any doubts you can email anytime Cathy but hang in there I think the best we can do as mothers nutritionally speaking is keeping the balance, giving them all the fresh produce we can find and prepare but allow here and there little indulgences. And I have more recipes and ideas to share but this is so long already sorry Cathy!
This makes my mouth water. Love the idea for sloppy joes!
Deborah, Im sincerely sorry for your loss. I cant imagine what your family is going through. I wish you peace and health. : )
I think i have to post on this podcast. It is seriously changing the way I look at food and health. Im thinking of signing up for their 12 week series in the fall, but it might be hard to convince Dan of the cost. : )
I will try those. i love that store so much anyway! : )
LOL! Now that is something at least one of my kids will do.
And i love the idea of sneaking it in. I dont do enough of that!
You know, I would slip some spinach into the smoothies before… I think I need to do it again. And youre right, they wont even know its in there!
LeeAnna, my Trader Joes has it, Whole Foods, to name a few. Under the brand name Zico. However, the original smoothie recipe this is based on uses a 1/4 cup of coconut milk. You could try that too!
I have to back her up on Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Im thinking of taking their 12 week series this fall. Their podcast/radio show is really changing the way I look at everything food related.
thanks for sharing your link! I never think of jicama, but my kids might love that. Ill have to try it out on them!
Nisa Fiin says
I think my proudest mom+food achievement is that I have convinced Keaton that a puree of spinach, broccoli and peas is “his pesto.” He can’t have dairy, so real pesto is out, but Ben and I put pesto on salmon, pastas, rice, etc. and Keaton wants some, too…So this was my stretch of a solution- and it works! (probably wouldn’t with older kids who’ve actually HAD pesto… but for a toddler, it’s slick!)
We joke about him going out on a date when he’s older and ordering some dish with pesto and telling his girlfriend “this pesto isn’t at all like my mom used to make…she made the best pesto…” HA!
Jen Peters says
I didn’t read all the comments, so I apologize is this is a repeat.
You might see if Cole likes Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies as a replacement for Cheeze-Its. They are still a snack food, but hopefully a healthier step up from the Cheeze-Its. 🙂
Also, smoothies make delicious popsicle! When I’m craving a DQ Blizzard or Culver’s Concrete Mixer one of our smoothie-sicles helps satisfy the craving.
THE Megan says
Funny story: The other day, my youngest (16) told me he needed to start eating more veggies…Since he is a little bit colon-centric these days (You know 16 year olds and their humor…) I didn’t bother asking ‘why’…I just informed him that one easy way was to start adding broccoli to his daily lunch of a box of macaroni and cheese. He looked at me like I was crazy, but tried it, and then informed me that he was going to feed it to his kids that way.
Carol Smith says
I like to sneak veggies into things like chili or spaghetti sauce, like finely chopped red, orange, or yellow peppers. (this is more for my husband than for the kids!) I also liberally sprinkle ground flax seed into waffle batter and on top of homemade mac ‘n’ cheese. (Trying to switch to whole wheat pastas but it’s a slow go). My kids (9, 5, & almost 3) are good veggie eaters, but we don’t always eat enough of them, so I put out carrot sticks, sliced peppers, or broc/caul “trees” for them to snack on while I make dinner. And we often have fruit for dessert!
We do love Cheddar Bunnies. The problem is, I love them more than Cole. It is very hard for me to have them near without inducing a feeding frenzy! But, you know, it could be a great compromise for him. As you said, at least they are healthier than Cheez-Its!
i LOVE the idea of a smoothie cicle. YUM!
I just snuck a handful of spinach into our afternoon Smoothie Time. Neither kids knows, and neither has said a word.
This will probably come as a shock to many of your readers but my kids do not drink soda. In fact, my 9 year old son has NEVER had a soda. My 14 year old daughter will ASK occasionally if we are at a restaurant if she can get one but normally she will get tea. We don’t drink the stuff and it’s not in our home. There is nothing good about soda (even diet!) I am SHOCKED at the number of sodas that kids drink these days and not only is it empty calories but SO MUCH sugar!! I really think that is ONE of the reasons my kids hardly ever have cavities. That’s my tip for the day! SODA = JUNK!!!
Deborah Mundorff says
thank you so much…
Deborah Mundorff says
thank you Heather
Erica Hettwer says
I’m a tiny bit of a freak about what my kids eat. They’re only 2 and 4 though so no real food battles yet. My husband and I are super picky eaters and I so don’t want my kids to grow up that way. So far I’m doing well with them. We do whole wheat whenever we can and they eat it just fine. They love salads and raisins are a hot comodity in our house. I’m super proud of the fact that they love cucumbers and melons, two foods that their parents won’t touch!
Our snacks of choice involve any of the following foods. Cheese sticks, Wheat Thins, Goldfish, raisins, yogurt, cottage cheese, fruit, almonds, graham crackers, carrots and fat free ranch dressing as a dip. Some special occasion snacks are a banana sprinkled with cocoa powder or a graham cracker frosting sandwich. 🙂
Overprotective mom confession-I once let my son try one of my french fries…after I had brushed off all the salt, blowed on it to cool it off and then held it up against my drink so it got cold and soggy. He didn’t like it. 😉
My children are both terribly picky eaters (7 & 4) so I totally understand your issues! I do make something we like to call Mama Muffins – they are packed full of protein and goodness and yummy to boot. My daughter is not a huge meat/fish eater, so the tofu in these helps get the protein in.
I am from Canada – so likely the brands will be different. Go organic / healthy as possible with the ingredients.
MAMA MUFFINS (not to be confused with sex muffins 🙂
*1 package of dry oatmeal muffin mix
*1 package of dry bran muffin mix
*2 packages of Silken Tofu (on the shelf in health food aisle of grocery store – not refrigerated)
*1 large can of pumpkin (not pie filling)
*1 cup spinach (pureed with a bit of water)
*eggs (as required by mix)
*additional liquid (don’t usually need as much as the mix calls for once you add the pumpkin and tofu)
*handful of choc chips / raisins / nuts to taste
In bowl mix the pumpkin, tofu, eggs and spinach until well mixed.
Add dry mix.
Add addiitonal liquid (water, juice) as needed until they “look like muffins”.
Add choc chips.
Bake & Enjoy.
They freeze really well too!
I usually make mini ones – and freeze them in a ziplock baggie 10 at a time – then pull out every few days. My kids help make them – saying how gross everything is as we mix it in – and then gobble them up.
I was vegetarian when I had my son and also through the pregnancy with my daughter (I have since gone back to eating chicken/seafood but that’s another story) so they grew up eating tofu. Their absolute favorite snack is cold tofu ‘sticks’ covered in peanut butter. I personally think it’s gross, but they love it and ask for it. My funniest snack moment with my son was when he asked to bring tofu sticks when it was our snack time when he played t-ball!!! I loved it!!
Christine H says
I too feel big bad guilties about my son’s diet. I was religious about what he ate the first two years of his life. Then he started having major opinions and I was…well, temporarily insane I think…AKA hormonally out of whack. Fast forward a decade, mom up to 320 pounds, kid slightly overweight with a total food list of turkey, pizza, popcorn, chicken strips and green beans. Mom decides to get healthy, loses 110 pounds and husband and kid are in shock that the usual crap is no longer around. (I go out of town for work and they go to town…major pig out!) I basically told my son he was required to try one bite of something new at each dinner meal. He could buy whatever he wanted for lunch at school so long as there was one serving of fruit in there and we did trial and error to discover a good cereal he will eat (Kashi Island Vanilla). His acceptable food list know includes roasted brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower (both are totally different when roasted), steak, all fruit except bananas, corn….don’t get me wrong, he doesn’t ask for this stuff but he will eat it at dinner. I figure if I get 80% of the food going in to be decent stuff, then I am doing OK. But man I wished I had been like my dietician friend (who I thought was a bit too food anal when our kids were little).
Pilbara Pink says
My daughter, who is now 25, just realised the other day that she ate her vegetables BEFORE dinner when she was little. We were talking about getting children to eat vege and I was bemoaning some information I had seen on the web about adding sugar/salt/fat and how that was defeating the purpose. Micaela said she couldn’t remember being made to eat vegetables when she was little but did remember loving carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and so on raw. Then I could see the aha moment in her face – she looked at me and said `I ate it all raw didn’t I?’ I would leave some of whatever veges we were having for dinner prepped on the bench and let the girls snack on that, and that only, while waiting for dinner. They would eat them and there was no drama at dinner. I do believe you have to set an example. My mother was very strict with my food but still had cookies etc in the house, which I wasn’t supposed to eat! I did of course sneak them and when I had my own money – woohoo did I eat up large (and get large!!!) I let my kids have anything they wanted a lot of the time and that didn’t work either. I think the saying `children rarely do what their parents tell them but never fail to do what they do” is very apt. Show them good habits don’t tell them what to do. They will generally eat whatever you do and certainly what you bring into the house – you have total control over that. Sorry for the long post but this is a subject very close to my heart – if only we could have our time over, knowing what we know now!!!
Pilbara Pink says
BTW – have you and Aidan seen the movie Mao’s Last Dancer? Wonderful movie about ballet dancer Li Cunxin’s life based on his autobiography of the same name.
My kids are younger than yours, (7 and 2) and we have has some issues with eating healthy, but for the most part, they eat their fruits and veggies without a complaint. We have recently started to juice and invested in a juicer. The kids actually have fun helping me to cut and wash the fruit before we shove it in the juicer. They actually LOVE to drink the GREEN juice we make (lettuce, spinach, kale, cucumber and a bit of lemon).
I keep them involved with the purchasing of the groceries (they love the farmer’s market). I was by no means always a healthy eater, but after my son was born, I vowed to change my eating habits for him. When my daughter came along, it was just a part of life.
We are by no means perfect, we will still have a treat from time to time. We just don’t do it everyday.
Michelle (from KY) says
I love a good smoothie recipe! Thanks for sharing. I am very proud of my niece Suzie. She loves to cooks, loves almost all vegetables, to the point where she circles the salad bar at a restaurant for a VERY long time while filling her plate with all sorts of greeny goods. And she likes sushi-I love that girl!
While my own food choices might be crapola, I was a militant mother when it came to my twinnies. They ate only what I cooked for them until they were about three, that meant I pureed and steamed everything! They only ever got water or milk and it’s paid off. If I put sugar snaps, carrot, beans and corn on their plate it’s a winner every time and yesterday Bailey (he’s 3 minutes older) said Mummy I don’t want biscuits (low sodium Premiums) as my snack I want carrots. Yay! We had movie night at school last week, which came with a bag of lollies and I asked them if they enjoyed them. Nathan’s (he’s 3 minutes younger) response was I don’t like lollies so I gave them to Patrick (his friend). Gotta love a child who will choose a banana over lollies or chocolate. Still we all can’t resist Grandma’s jelly slice!!! Now if only I could re-programme my own food choices . . .
You know Cathy I think it’s because we’ve been brainwashed by the whole diet industry to believe that only low fat or no fat or just chemically based fat is good for us. I did a nutrion workshop and they suggested using low fat margarine and I ask how can something that is man made from chemicals be better for you than butter, which is made from a natural product. My answer ‘because it’s low fat’. I’m going to check out those Dishing up Nutrition podcasts you recommend. Thanks K
Thanks for your posts. I love your honesty. In public, most people put on their “I’m just great” act, and I truly appreciate the realism you share. I could have written this post about me and my kids. I have been making more smooties, and brought out the fruit bowl from the frig. It’s working.
Just curious, does Oprah or Maya Angelou or have any great quote about when you know better but you do it any way, and then you move on to do better? It seems I know what I should do, yet for various reasons i don’t.
Cathy, I have been listening to the Dishing Up Nutrition podcasts since you mentioned them and am really enjoying them. I also read Why We Get Fat, and I think I got that from you too! So I am trying to lean towards a more low carb diet. But the kids aren’t as happy (9 and 12). They keep trying to stop me from reading anything they think it healthy so I won’t keep changing their food. It is a real struggle at the moment but am going slow and hanging in there! Thanks for the variety of posts as you have really pointed me in a great direction!
Unfortunately, I live in Sydney, Australia or I would attend the 12 week course that Health and Wellness offer, it sounds great!
We stuck to our guns here (well hubby did….I couldn’t watch the dinnertime fights over eating their plates clean…I went for a walk). But, it paid off. My three boys eat anything and everything in sight. No picky stuff here.
this sounds really tasty! Im saving this recipe!
Love this. Aidan does not drink soda. Once in a blue moon, she will have a Coke. As in, 2 or 3 times a year. But she just doesnt like soda.
Cole could LIVE on it, if you let him. We dont. I will let him have soda out, and every so often at Trader Joes, he gets to pick up a 4-page of root beer. He seriously could live on the stuff.
Me? I cant have it in my house. Period.
Good for you Christine! Seriously. Way to go.
ha! he may never develop that french fry passion!
Thats why I love the whole when you know better, you do better idea! : ) Im hoping some of what im doing now will rub off on the kids, and yes, i control the food that comes into the house. Baby steps!
No, but I bet shed love that. Ill let her know about it!
Thats awesome. Getting them to drink the fresh juice. SO good for them!
That would be a proud mama moment!
ha! Im sure they do have quotes like that around somewhere!
you know, its not just that you dont have motivation… all of those processed yummy sugary things do things to our brains to make us crave more and more. There is a biochemical relationship to some of this stuff. For sure. You should check out the Dishing Up Nutrition podcast. The show is put on by a group of licensed no-nonsense, no fad diet nutritionists. Some of it might feel counterintuitive to all weve ever been told about dieting, and low fat this and that. I am LOVING the info Im getting from it!
I think the water and milk think DOES pay off. It did with Aidan. We just never bought much juice, or even orange juice. That was more for treats and parties.
To this day, she is a water drinker, primarily. Cole will drink milk and water every day. of course, if he smells Sprite… he does lose control!
Bingo! What they talk about on this show is what your body does with all of the man made chemicals. That your cells dont even really know what to do with them. And then they become part of your cells and muck stuff up. Im really diving into what they are talking about and going to see how I feel and look over time.
I was fortunate to raise my children overseas in countries that often had no snack foods per se to be tempting them – or me. They had very little in the way of processed food either. However as adults back in the US, I see them eat and serve enough crapola to qualify as real Americans! It’s changing now that they’re in their 40s. Life style choices kind of hit you by then!and you learn that some of America’s food bounty is really rotten. Sad, isn’t it. But we learn, and teach.
Edemame has become the healthy snack of choice. It’s fun to eat and good for you. I was shocked my kid likes them.
Go for it Cathy, you seem “hungry” for the knowledge! If I lived in Minnesota, I’d join you!
(wait a minute,I know all this stuff, I’m a Dietician who has never stopped being interested in food trends…still,it would be fun to hang out!) Michael Pollan is still on the mark… eat FOOD, not TOO much, mostly PLANTS…now if only I could curb the “not too much”! LOL
Sounds good, Monique! I think the podcast and that book have great info! They had the author on their show. Very interesting.
That quote from Maya/Oprah is one of my favorites. It helps me be a lot less judgemental of people (including myself)!
I replaced a whole shelf in my refrigerator with a Trofast bin from Ikea. It holds fruits and veggies that are washed and ready to eat. I also keep fruits and veggies out in bowls so they can grab & go. I think that’s the appeal of crap snackity items…they’re so portable and fast. Making REAL food portable and fast is part of the key. The other side to that is realizing that preparing real food is all part of the process. Snacking on cukes and carrots while things are simmering or baking or being steamed starts the digestion process and it just feels good.
Thanks for keeping up the Eat Less (Better), Move More posts. I love them!
I started early with fruits. Gave them to my daughter with every meal. I am still doing that. I quit buying sodas and chips and other snacks when the prices went up so much on that junk. I will pick up something every once in a while. There is an orange soda we like that I will buy when we have tacos and we split the little bottle. Or when we have burgers I will get some A&W root beer. But most of the time no junk in the house. Since I have lost 20lbs I’ve gotten more serious about reading labels and seeing what is really in stuff. I haven’t bought any processed packaged foods in a while either. It’s a start.
Mary K says
At the beginning of the summer, we started “salad” night at our house. By accident, I discovered that my veggie hating son loved field mix, and my daughter happened to love spinach and field mix. So, once a week we have different type of salad. We pick a protein and a few veggies that they like and go to town. It’s been a fun, usually no cook night and they get vegetables and sometimes, they discover something new that they like.
Pilbara Pink says
Wow, Teresa way to go – 200lbs lost!!! Amazing 🙂 I lost a bunch of weight too and have found myself get more and more picky as I maintain my weight loss. Initially I would eat anything that was low calorie/fat/carb just to get the weight off. Now four years down the track I read labels, eat only whole foods and read endlessly about nutrition. But it has been a slow, evolving process. People look at how I eat now and say they couldn’t do it. I do because I truly like it – I couldn’t keep it up otherwise. But I tell them I didn’t start out like this. You are so right, it’s about making a start, it is baby steps .. make small changes and they build on each other to take you further down the path of improving your health.
I want to have salad night at my house!
Okay I don’t want to sound ignorant, but what is jicama? I know that in Australia we call things different names, you call it Cilantro we call it Coriander, you have candy we have lollies, you have cookies, we have bickies , etc. I’m going to google it to see if it is something that grows here.
Okay just so we know, a Jicama in Oz is called a Yam Bean. Now that I know what it is I just have to find it and try it.
Its a root vegetable, looks a bit like a potato, but with a sweeter taste. : )
Ah! Now I have learned something new!
Debbie S. says
I hear you! I am waiting for the opportune moment to bring it up myself. 🙂
I will have to check out the podcast you mentioned, and I really need to think more about the nutrition issue (we just got back from a week-long vacation visiting family, and we sort of “let ourselves go” during that time- lol!!), but I do have to know; what is the title of the book Aidan is reading?? The cover is really intriguing, and I tried a google search, but I don’t think I found the right book. Thanks!
I will check it out. Thanks for the response and the recommendation. Happy Thursday to you!
I’m annoyed that I found a low fat yougurt I liked got my husband switched to fat free sour cream, trans fat free margarine, skim milk and now I’m learning it’s not good for you. Grrr! Yes it’s less calories, but that’s it. I’m learning alot from a book called the Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner. It’s so much more complicated that the ‘calories in, calories out’ the diet industry leads you to believe.
It IS complicated, Tracy. For sure.
ooh, Mikhail Baryshnikov… I had such a crush on him when I was (much) younger!! thank you for the info! …now, off to check out my library’s website.
Sara Mangan says
Back to Nature makes a kind of Cheez-Its that tastes pretty close to the real ones. My girls have stopped complaining about them. 🙂 I agree though, they are better than Cheez-Its but still not the best thing they could be eating. One thing I do is try to get them to eat cheese when they eat any kind of crackers. That way they are at least getting some protein.
whey protein shake says
I love smoothies. Specially black berry smoothies. They are full of nutrients.
Hmm, don’t know if my comment worked.
Thanks for sharing this fabulous recipe. I am new to smoothie making and found all whey and coconut water and got it made. Twice now! Have any other awesome recipes or sites to visit for recipes?