Wednesday, November 9, 2011

You CAN do healthy for kids

Something I have learned in the almost 4 years I've been parenting: Cooking for 3 1/2 year olds is hard. Cooking for 21 month olds is even harder. Does anyone else have a hard time cooking for their little ones?

Nope? Just me then? ;)

I think it is hard. Unless you are a chicken nuggets and french fries kind of person...which I am not. Finding cookbooks that carry recipes that kids will eat is even harder. My kids are just plain picky. They won't eat veggies, and sometimes they skip dinner altogether. I will admit, for lunch, I usually feed them pb&j because I know they'll eat it and it's not all together unhealthy (I make my own jam and we eat peanut butter just about every day around here in some form or fashion). But they don't graze all day, they are not offered anything other than what I have cooked for dinner, and I always offer veggies, even though they rarely ever eat them. Feeding my family healthier food options does take a little more time, energy and money. And my kids don't always cooperate. One day they'll like something and then the next, they won't. But it's worth it. Once in awhile we'll have a box of mac n cheese, or processed hotdogs and I don't feel guilty about that. But I have honestly enjoyed cooking healthier for my family. It's been a great journey, and what I've realized most is that it CAN be done. You can feed your family healthier and actually enjoy it. My hope is that you will realize this too, sometimes you just have to be creative and think outside the box. 

If you are like me and constantly have to tell yourself things like: they will eat if/when they're hungry; its not the end of the world if they never ever eat greens (or if you have to be sneaky about getting their greens in their diet somehow); milk is good for them, even if its all they ever eat or drink; then you are not alone. And listen up, because I came across this super awesome cookbook that has yummies that adults will eat, as well as kiddos.

I actually found this from the library for free, but you could buy it if that blows your skirt up. It's worth it. (Let me say that I received no compensation for plugging this cookbook. Cooking Light has no idea who I am and probably wouldn't care if they did. I know you all were wondering... :)) Not only does it have mostly kid-friendly recipes that are actually healthy, it has jobs that younger chefs can do as well as older chefs, if you like having your kiddos help you in the kitchen. 

A huge perk to this cookbook is that there's more than just recipes in it. There's a whole section on the different food groups, what are the best choices of foods in that food group, what are ok choices and what to limit the amount given to your kids. There's a meal plan, which is good to have as a goal, but I'm not going to stress myself out if my kids don't get the set amount every day. And this was one of my favorite things, they have a whole section on physical activity, how important it is, how much is needed for different ages, and examples of great activities that will help them get their energy/exercise out! Activity isn't just about using up all that energy these kiddos have. I always thought it was. It's also about living a healthier lifestyle, and to be healthy, you have to incorporate exercise somehow. 

Also things I love about this book: There's a page on how to get your kids involved in living a healthier lifestyle, with things like, exploring new foods, take them shopping with you, plan meals together, start a garden, be active together, consider a screen time limit, and more.

The practical things I will take away from using the cookbook:

  • Make more smoothies. My kids will eat anything if its in liquid form, and they loooove smoothies. 
  • Eat more popcorn as a snack. Popcorn is actually somewhat healthy. I should probably pop my own instead of getting the bags. I may do that in the near future.
  • Cook with beans more. Ross doesn't like beans, but my kiddos do. They're chocked full of protein, and dry beans have WAY less sodium.
  • Consider letting Jude help me in the kitchen. I will admit, it is way harder to cook with him in there with me, so most of the time, I send him out. Sometimes I need to get over it and let him help. They actually learn a lot, and its a fun way to learn!
Can you tell I love this cookbook? I love just about anything that is helpful, that I can actually implement, and will make my life somewhat easier. This does all of those! 

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All information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. Whether you try any of my methods or ideas is totally up to you. I am in no way saying you should do everything the way I do, every family is different and you should find out what's best for yours. I would, however, be delighted if you tried some new things in your own lives (whether be my ideas, your own, or someone else's), and shared it with me.

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The Frugal Girl (frugality, repurposing, etc)

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Coffeeshop Blog (photography, digital design and PS freebies)

Digital Photography School (photography)