Tuesday, May 21, 2013

5 Things I want my healthy hungry kids to say


I am definitely on a mission to grow some pretty healthy kids. I think that every little step I take in that healthy direction is important. Its been a process, All the healthy habits we have today we didn't necessarily have yesterday. And hopefully tomorrow we will have another one to add. These are some of the things I have added to our healthy habits as of late. These aren't the only healthy choices out there but these are some that have worked for us.

So, what do I want my healthy hungry kids to say?

1. Kale Chips? YES! 

I try to be mindful to include all those super nutritious dark, leafies into our menu. I have read enough to know they are beneficial to my growing kiddies. I would like to think I am relatively successful...I hope so anyway. Our fridge usually has spinach, collard greens, or swiss chard making a brief layover before it gets cooked up. I have recently become a bigger and bigger fan of the ultimate dark, leafy green: Kale! 

I will be honest. I tried to ignore the buzz over this super food at first because I was a little intimidated about preparing it for the kids. When I began this journey of getting away from processed foods and cooking as much good, whole, healthy foods as possible, I had some foods that I was a little afraid of. Kale was one of them. But you really can't ignore kale.

Kale is great for my kids. It is high in fiber, provides lots of iron, Vitamin A, C and K, has lots of antioxidants, calcium, potassium and even Omega 3 fatty acids!  Come on, that kind of goodness can't be ignored! 

So, how to get my kids to ask for it.....ah, that is tricky unless you know about KALE CHIPS. I made them once and found out MY KIDS LOVE THEM! Once I pull them out of the oven they probably last a whole 3 minutes before I am left with just an empty bowl. Its a great snack or side with any meal. As a parent, you really feel like you did a job well done once you see the empty bowl.

2. Mmmmm, beeeeets......

I don't know about you but I was always told beets were good for your blood, but I really had no idea why. I sort of assumed it had something to do with all that oh-so-good-for-you iron. Or was it those much needed B-complex vitamins? Being just curious enough to investigate, it turns out that beets are rich in something called glycine betaine. (Say what now?) Glycine betaine keeps a toxic metabolite in the blood in check. When not in check, this toxic metabolite could otherwise promote plaque formation in veins and arteries as well as heart and vascular disease. That makes this glycine betaine (which I can type just fine but probably couldn't pronounce correctly) seem like a pretty good thing. So now I get it!  Beets are really good for your blood! And I kinda wanna eat more. 

Beets also contain lots of fiber, potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidants... so I definitely want my kiddies to eat up! Getting my kids to eat them wasn't a problem. I cube them and pop them in the oven with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and they come out like candy! Nobody in this house can resist them. 

3. What's a Juice Box?

(You caught me! This actually should be in a post about "Healthy Thirsty Kids" but I hope you will let me slide.)

Ok. I will be honest. The kiddies do know what juice boxes are and will totally ask for one if they see some. Do they get to have one once in a while? Sure. And I can live with "once in a while". I can't really live with "several times, every single day" however. There are some healthier juice box choices out there and I am grateful for that. I also know that lots of children's juice boxes have added sweeteners, added dyes and who knows what else these days so in our house we don't drink juice boxes. Hard to believe? Let me share my big secret: I just don't buy them. Genius, right!? But there is more to the reason why we don't have juice boxes in our house.  

This wasn't always my policy. We did have them in the house at one point. I remember I would feel pretty good about buying something that said "contains vitamin C" or "fortified with calcium". But the more I moved our household away from processed foods and towards just straight good, whole food, the life of the juice box shortened. To get Vitamin C, it makes way more sense to me to just eat the afore mentioned kale, beets, or an orange, an apple or any of the other rich, whole food full of a bunch of yummy goodness. Having an apple juice box instead of an actual apple robs my child of a majority of the healthy benefits of the apple, like the fiber, for instance. Why does an apple need to be picked, transported, processed, put in a container, shipped, stocked, shelved and then finally purchased to get only some of its healthy benefits to my kids? Grab an apple and your done! So, juice boxes are out. Fruits and vegetables (and tons of them) are in. And if the kiddies are thirsty, there is always chilled water in the fridge! 

4. I Finished My Salad!

Lunch is served!
Not unlike a lot of people, the Dad and I eat at least one fresh vegetable salad a day. The more colorful, the better. We throw in everything and anything we have in the fridge, lettuces, baby spinach, peppers, celery, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes.... you get the idea. As our olders got bigger and no longer needed separate food preparation, I noticed that we packed their plates full of veggies but not always a salad. Not sure why. Knowing that eating raw vegetables gives kiddies the largest amount of vitamins and minerals a veggie has to offer before some is lost in the cooking process I am more conscious about including a colorful salad with dinner. I always go for two raw veggies on the lunch plate but being sure to add a salad at dinner too makes me feel twice as good.

5. An Avocado Please!

And as far as the baby is concerned, I would like her to say something along the lines of "Yummy, yummy!" Most of the above really pertained to my two older children and so does this section, of course. But avocados are something I really like for the olders and youngest alike. Avocados are soft, yummy and easy to digest so they are a great early food for the littlest member of any mob. Yes, avocados are high in fat... so eat up! Avocados are full of what is known as "good fats" which is great since we all need fats to promote healthy brain function. Something about knowing that and watching  the Little Sis learning and knowing her brain is making amazing connections everyday makes me feel really good about supporting that with the yummy avocado. Avocados are also full of fiber, Vitamins B6, E and K, and when I need a couple of commas to list the positives of a fruit that is a pretty good indication that I am going to want to use it in our family menu. We keep a full stock of them in the house, they are a go-to snack for us. Now there are tons of great recipes for avocados but over here we just split them in half, pull out the seed and grab a spoon!

These are not the only things I want my healthy hungry kids to say but it is a good picture of what I am trying to accomplish. I want them to eat good, whole foods. I make sure refined sugar is scarce over here. I work to keep my house filled with fresh, nutritious, local foods and as minimal amount of processed food as possible. This hasn't always been my lifestyle but it is a choice I made for my family and myself. It is a choice I am very serious about. Some days, some meals don't always fit into my idea of healthy. Sometimes we eat things that aren't the best choices. It happens. But being a healthy kid and being a healthy family isn't about that one meal. It is about staying the course and developing healthy habits together for the long term. One by one we worked the things in this post into our lives. We are going to make it work, one meal at a time. 


No comments:

Post a Comment