Monday, January 14, 2013

Healthy Parents means Healthy Kids... NOT!!

My little picky one.

Before I had my own kid I always looked down on parents who fed their children happy meals, pizza, macaroni and cheese, and other fried or processed foods. Well, let the judge be judged because even now as I type this, eating my beautiful organic vegetable soup loaded with vitamins, minerals, and plant based protein, my daughter is eating one of the few things that she'll tolerate ..a cheese sandwich. 

I know, judge away, tell me all about how your child (or future child) would NEVER even know what that looked like better yet have it as a diet staple. Well, friends ...or former friends sometimes life isn't that easy. I was blessed with an extremely picky child. I breastfed till she was 15 months, her first foods were avocados, bananas, and mangos. However, when she hit her toddler years I discovered that my little mini-me began refusing to eat the lovely things I worked so hard to raise her with. 

I'm sure it is my fault, introducing bad foods once in awhile, and blah blah, but .....I'm DONE! I'm over the judgement. So, you can just stop snarking at me.. heh okay, maybe you aren't snarking, maybe I'm the only one judging myself so harshly. Never the less, being a uber-healthy mama to my little junkster hasn't been easy. Luckily she still loves fruits, carrots, and hard-boiled eggs, but other foods that I once would have looked down my big ol snarky nose at have found their way into our home. 

So, maybe you have a picky eater, or maybe you are a picky eater  ....who tortured your mother ... guilt, guilt, guilt.. okay just kidding, it's cool.. we are who we are. Part of being "who we are" is working around people's quirks. 

So, back to the little one. Her absolute favorite is ... mac-and-cheese, so how do we ramp up the healthy meter on this otherwise dull and nutrition-less food? Well, here are some secrets I've added to my arsenal against the picky one. 

Ways to "fix" your Mac-and-Cheese:
Buy only organic or at least all natural - this step will save you from a lot of the GMO (genetically modified organisms), harmful additives, preservatives, and other ick that our barely regulated food industry allows into your processed foods.

When you are making the little cheese packet you can add some pureed (peeled) zucchini or carrots which should blend into the lovely neon orange of the cheese packet.

Add in some nutritional yeast -- 

Don't be scared!
Nutritional Yeast - Find it in Bulk or Bragg's in the Natural Foods Section

"what the heck is this?!" you may ask! 

Well, let me tell you this awesome nutty-cheesy flavored yeast is quite a super hero in my world. Just ONE tablespoon will supply you with 100% your daily B-12! Two tablespoons will serve up 9 grams of protein, it is high in fiber, and gluten free! Not to mention it tastes great on popcorn, mac-and-cheese, and any other pasta, soup, nachos, or pizza. So do not be afraid to try a little of this wonder yeast!

Ways to "fix" your typical cheese sandwich:
I actually ate a lot of just plain old mayonnaise and cheese sandwiches while growing up. ....Okay, so maybe I wasn't the most healthy eating kid either.. see it is all my fault! 

..okay.. never mind.. guilt slip up.. moving on. 

Cheese sandwich whether cold or grilled can be made to be a little healthier! 

Number one, is to always buy bread that has some "car-parts"(as my dad used to call it) in it. Bread that has nuts and seeds will fill your kids up faster than other stuff that has been bleached, refined, and stripped out of most wheat or white bread. I love Dave's Killer Bread! P.S. don't trust the "whole grain" label, my philosophy is if I can't see it, it isn't worth buying. 

Number two, I usually with take and mix up a little over a tablespoon of avocado with a little mayo. This gives my little one some nice healthy fats, omegas, and some protein. Since she won't eat it I hide it!! Using the less green part of the avocado and the mayo and she'll never know that there is some good stuff in there. 

Other ways I sneak healthy stuff into my little one's diet is through smoothies and fresh juices!
I'm lucky enough to have a nice juicer, and my little one will drink whatever comes out that spout, which means she will drink kale, spinach, carrots, and whatever else will fit down that spout, just add an apple or an orange and watch it go! 

However, one of my most prideful ways to get her to eat SUPER healthy is through the magic of a smoothie!!

Here is a recipe that my little one sings for and even helps me make!

Helper girl doesn't even know!!

I love that I can cram tons of vitamins, omegas-3s, protein, probiotics, calcium, and iron into one awesome super low sugar smoothie! Feel free to adjust till you find what you and the kiddos will like!

2 tablespoons of Flax Seed 
4 nice big sections of kale separated from stems
1.5 cups of plain yogurt (we love Nancy's in this house!)
5-6 frozen strawberries
1 cup of frozen raspberries
1 frozen (or fresh) banana
a "squirt" of raw agave nectar, honey, or sweetener of choice

Grind Flax seed in the blender till well pulverized 
Add kale and blend until well chopped and mixed with the flax
Add yogurt and blend to create your super power smoothie base
Add in your frozen fruits and blend until mixed together.
(I make sure that it is red, because green tends to send my little one into a tailspin)
I would eat it just like this (a little sour), but Luna is really picky so that extra squirt of
agave seems to do the trick for her! 

This girl will drink the whole blender if I let her. The main trick is to make sure that your kale and flax are well blended before adding the other ingredients! 

So, I hope this helps you help your picky little ones eat better, or at least helps you to stop judging yourself or others. There are lots of healthy alternatives to some crappy stuff out there. Just watch the sodium and preservatives. 

Sneaking in veggies is great, but only if the kid will actually touch it, so go easy, go slow.. The more you push, the more they push back, but that doesn't mean we give up. Make the food fun by spending a few minutes arranging it into a face, or make your own Bistro Box like at Starbucks. Be creative with what they will eat. 

My own Protein Bistro Box makes eating fun!

I might not have been the most health conscious child but my mother was always very into healthy food. I grew up watching her eat healthy, and even though it took awhile by the time I was in my early twenties I was a pretty health conscious individual. So, the best way to get your kids to eat healthier is to just remain a steadfast example and role model. ....and pray it is just a phase!! 

Cheers to guilt-free proactive parenting. .....and STOP JUDGING!! ..(yeah, totally talking to myself there!)

Loving you!



  1. Many picky toddlers grow up to be healthy and healthy eating children and people. Thank you for being willing to talk about this subject that so many people are too ashamed to talk about... yet it is common and mostly everyone who is a child caregiver deals with it to some extent. I love the tips that you gave about sneaking healthy foods in. I have been known to add yogurt and zucchini into mac and cheese!

    1. Thank you for reading my blog! I love the idea of yogurt! What a great healthy alternative to the butter and milk! Please share any other ideas you have!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Love it Laura please keep em coming!! I strive to be as healthy as you and rarely hold a candle but this makes me feel like less of a f'up and certainly helped motivate to keep trying to get my picky ones to eat better :)

    1. Thank you, Robby! I'll keep em coming, if you keep reading em! Glad this can help give you a few ideas! :) Love you guys!

  4. Excellent!
    I love my smoothies and make them daily. There's an Efagold flax oil in the refrigerated section of your select grocery stores. Good stuff, quick and clean. And of course, hemp protein!!