Back to school means back to the grind of figuring out what to put on the table! It needs to be healthy, well rounded, yet palatable and easy to grab and go. The fridge and pantry need to be stocked with ingredients for a quick fix breakfast, packable lunches, after school snacks, and dinner- My goodness, I am going to be at the grocery store Every. Single. Day! Thank goodness for HEB Curbside, thank you to all my personal shoppers out there, you make my life SO much easier!
In the midst of all this shopping, planning, and cooking the question remains- How do we get our kids to eat these healthy meals we have prepared?! I will not pretend that I have all the right answers or that my kids eat every single meal without complaints, definitely not! One vegetable a day (yes, JUST ONE! Is that too much to ask for?!) is strongly encouraged at my house and my kiddos refer to me as the “veggie police.” I am hoping one day they will enjoy more like 6-9 cups per day, as Dr. Terry Wahls’s food pyramid emphasizes- but for now let’s stay real, it can be a struggle to sneak in just a vegetable or two per day!
We want our children to grow up eating healthy, nutrient packed meals and provide them with knowledge and support to be able to eventually make healthy diet choices on their own. Nutritional deficiencies and overly-restrictive diets can lead to all sorts of complications including chronic disease, allergies, learning disabilities, and mental health issues. The “Standard American Diet” consists of many highly processed foods and our culture often emphasizes convenience and prepacked foods. Advertising of these foods is often targeted at our children starting at a very young age. How do we incorporate more phytonutrient rich, colorful fruits and vegetables into our children’s DAILY diet? How can we lead by example and incorporate food as medicine, food as joy?
I wanted to share some recipes I have found success with- and I encourage you to get creative and put your own spin on things in your kitchen!
A good green smoothie
- 1 cup ripple original milk
- One banana
- One scoop protein powder
- (I like garden of life vegan vanilla protein powder)
- 1-2 cups of spinach
- ½ cup-1cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup frozen mango
- Ice (you decide how much)
Chocolate Dream smoothie
- 1 cup ripple chocolate milk
- ¼ cup coconut cream, from can
- ½ avocado
- 1 tbsp cocoa powder
- ½ scoop protein powder
Gnocchi and White Bean Skillet
- 1 can white garbanzo beans (drained & rinsed)
- 1 package of sweet potato gnocchi
- 2-3 heaping cups of spinach
- Liberally add avocado oil (approx. ¼ cup)
- Sautee with chicken or vegetable stock or bone broth
- Season with s/p, garlic salt, basil
- Top with fresh tomatoes
- Optional add ins: Italian sausage and/or zucchini (I use both!)
Gluten Free Avocado Toast
- Gluten free bread, toasted
- Topped with hummus, avocado, & chia seeds
The NEW rice krispie treats
- ¼ cup coconut oil
- 1 small package marshmallows
- 5 cups rice krispie cereal or other GF cereal
A few other quick snacks & tips I have found helpful:
- Flatbread pizzas with spinach & tomato
- Almond milk cheese (found at Trader Joe’s)
- Scrambled eggs with sautéed broccoli
- Celery with peanut/almond butter and craisins /raisins
- Mini skewers with pineapple and chicken apple-gouda sausage
- Baked Kale Chips
- Rotisserie Chicken Bowl with black beans and cauliflower rice
- Make it a game! Check out our phytonutrient spectrum checklist in our LIVE IT Learning library and talk to your kids about which foods are good for which body systems. For example, blueberries & avocado are great for brain health!
- Thrive Market is a great resource for healthy snacks to have on hand
- Having fresh cut fruit and vegetables on hand to grab and go or pull out for snacks
- As always, aim for fresh, minimally processed foods- and when you do purchase pre-packaged foods educate yourself on understanding food labels (check out our LIVEIT Library for a handout on how to understand food labels)
- Put your own healthy spins on meals your children already like
Choice is key to encouraging kids to make healthy choices- no one likes to be forced to do something they don’t want to. Offering options and including children in meal prepping or snack ideas helps them feel like they are in control and own their choice. Try to include your children in meal prep and snack decisions. For picky eaters, keep trying! Praise them when they opt for healthy foods and never force or push- continue to do your best to encourage, educate, and lead by example!