It was hard for me as an adult to change my eating habits. Changing my kids eating habits has been taxing, challenging, and just plain DIFFICULT!
Some days are better than others. One particularly bad day happened at the local grocery store. My daughter actually burst into tears in the dairy section of the local Foodland because she “misses yogurt so much”! Yikes! I felt like shit that day! Coconut milk yogurt to the rescue!!!! One great day, my kids ate almost my entire goat cheese, spinach, and tomato pizza while ignoring their Hawaiian with bacon. On the days they eat less than clean food, I just think to myself, that they used to eat like this everyday, so a day here and there is better than eating crap everyday! It’s about picking my battles- winning the battles I can win and not getting too stressed about the other stuff 🙂
I’ve tried to approach Clean Eating with my kids four different ways.
I am a teacher. I personally think kids are pretty smart. I have honestly talked to my kids about why I’ve changed my diet (not about weight- its about health). We looked at the packages of some of their favourite foods- we counted 10 ingredients that we couldn’t pronounce on the Kraft Dinner box alone! We talked about chemicals and whether we wanted to eat them. We talked about how their bodies are growing and how we need to nourish the machine that is our body. Then, we found suitable substitutions for their favourites, like a good quality pasta with a bit of butter and parmesan cheese grated on it.
#2 Survivor-esque Food Challenges
Ok kids. I dare you to try this…… They have tried chia seed pudding, sunflower seed butter, quinoa, coconut yogurt, etc because I dared them too! Not every food was a winner but at least they tried it! I actually dared them to try Lentil Tacos because Chef Michael Smith declared on his facebook page that 8 kids were eating Lentil Tacos and thought they were eating normal tacos. My kids were skeptical. I made it and they loved it and Lentil Tacos has become a family favourite! Here is a link to the recipe: http://www.lentils.ca/?q=recipes/lentil-tacos My kids both LOVED them!
#3 Get Them Involved
My daughter LOVES to help in the kitchen. She has her own Pinterest account and is constantly pinning recipes to try. Earlier this month she wanted to try to make her own popsicles. She found this recipe http://pinterest.com/pin/373517362818720637/ She made them all by herself, they were delicious and totally healthy! (BTW we didn’t use the stevia called for in the recipe. We just added an extra little bit of maple syrup to sweeten the popsicles and they were perfect!)
#4 I Lie!
Okay, I just plain lie to them. Is this healthy Mom? What’s in this? I just plainly lie to their face! My most recent lie was about this Chicken Parmesan recipe. I used to make this recipe all the time: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/04/baked-chicken-parmesan.html. Now I’ve “cleaned up” the recipe. Have you ever read the ingredient list on a carton of whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs? SCARY!!! It is probably one of the longest ingredient list I have ever read in my life!!!!
My version (and my kids notice a bit of a difference but not enough to not eat it)
1 cup Panko (the cleanest brand seems to be PC black label)
1/4 cup ground flax seed
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 tbsp basil
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tbsp butter, melted (or olive oil or combination of the two)
parmesan cheese, fresh, grated
4 chicken breast, sliced in half to make 8 thin cutlets
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Using a pastry brush, brush the butter on both sides of each chicken cutlet. Dredge the cutlet in the panko, flax seed and wheat germ mixture. Place on the baking sheet. Grate about a teaspoon of parmesan cheese on each cutlet.
Bake for about 20 min then flip each cutlet. Top with a tablespoon of your favourite homemade tomato sauce and a bit more parmesan cheese. Bake 10 minutes more and serve with a good quality pasta and a salad. Very kid friendly and super healthy meal.
Do my kids eat as clean as me? No. They still eat the odd ice cream cone, the odd Oreo and even the odd hot dog (shudder)- especially when they are at Grandma’s house! LOL! Do they eat better than they did before? Yes! The thing I’m most proud of is they think about food now. They are more conscious of what is in their food and how it was prepared. At this point, I’ll take it!
I have been working out lots so we’ve been trying to be more active as a family too. I really wanted to do something “healthy” for their birthday parties to show that we can be active and healthy even during times of celebration. Both my kids were excited to do something different too! My son went hiking in Gatineau Park for his party and my daughter did a Zumba class with her friends to celebrate her 9th birthday. Fun and active!
Choose happy 🙂