Part of the problem that I had when we switched to whole foods was trying to figure out what to feed the kids. I had previously relied pretty heavily on mac n’ cheese and deli meats, so it took me a while to figure it out. My kids are still pickier than I am and a spinach salad with goat cheese and strawberries just isn’t appetizing to them. I want to make eating fun, delicious and healthy. Those are my hopes. When eating becomes a chore or something that we force our children to do, that is no longer healthy – even if they are eating raw kale. You get what I’m saying? We’re trying to set them up for a healthy life, not healthy for the few years that we control what goes into them.
So, with that in mind, here are a few ideas of healthy foods that my kids like. Hopefully your kids will like some of them as well!
Smoothies I throw apples, spinach, strawberries, blueberries, banana… whatever we have in the blender and the kids are so happy.
Peanut Butter Toast We use a 12 grain bread and a minimally processed PB (the only ingredients should be peanuts and salt) This isn’t healthy if you use white bread and PB with High Fructose Corn Syrup.
Homemade whole wheat waffles or pancakes Make a bunch and freeze the extra. I serve mine without syrup except on special occasions (any day can be a special occasion. Just play it up and let your kids know that this is a special breakfast. They love it!)
Gluten-free banana muffins These things are so delicious and fun to make. The kids would love helping you make them! Again, make a lot, freeze the extra.
Oatmeal My kids love love love oatmeal. I make either old fashioned oats the morning of in the microwave, or I make a big thing of steel cut oats and warm up a portion every morning that week for breakfast.
All of these breakfasts I serve with fresh cut-up fruit.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Again, this is only healthy if you make it healthy. Minimally processed PB, minimally processed jelly (and not a lot of it. It’s packed with sugar), and healthy whole grain bread.
Peanut butter and banana sandwich Same as above, just use banana instead of jelly. This is healthier.
Cheese and spinach quesadilla Have your child help you make this. Don’t over do the spinach at first. Just a few leaves to get them used to the idea. Use a whole grain tortilla or whole grain flat bread. I like one that has flax seed in it, the maker is “Flat Out”, I generally find it at Super Target. I let my kids dip their quesadilla into salsa or plain greek yogurt.
Carrots and hummus Letting the kids dip is always lots of fun.
All of these lunches are served with fresh cut-up fruit
In our house, snacks are almost always fruit. Any kind, but only some. A small bowl of strawberries, cantelope, blackberries, mango, etc. 1 banana, 1 apple, 1 orange, etc. The only exception is sometimes I will let them have a small bowl of cashews or pecans. The reason that snacks are so small and light is because I want them to eat their dinner. We generally do breakfast, lunch, nap, snack, and dinner. Just one snack. Of course there are exceptions, but I really try to follow that model.
I advocate feeding every single person in your home the same meal. I put some of everything on the kids plates and I ask that they at least try everything. My goal is to have them try a bunch of things so that they can realize that they like them. This isn’t a power struggle. I’m not putting food in their mouths and holding their mouths closed until they swallow. That does not work, it does not set your child up for a healthy future. It teaches them that food is something to suffer through, not have a healthy curiosity about and enjoy. Be adventurous. Serve different things. If it’s not your thing, be honest. “This isn’t Mommy’s favorite.” But don’t put ideas into their heads. Discuss your food, ask them what they like. Don’t like the taste? But the color sure is pretty, isn’t it? Maybe I’ll try some more.
Good luck getting healthy, wholesome meals into the mouths of your babes! You can do it!