I wrote this post as part of the Parenting In America Carnival hosted by Adventures in Mommyhood: Mommy Outnumbered. The Carnival is running from July 3-10, 2011. This is post number three in a series of three. You can find the first post here. You can find the second post here.
As many of you know, I incorporate a nutritional lifestyle that follows the majority of the tenants of Traditional Eating. I was inspired to delve into this journey after the birth of my daughter. Since then, I have become more and more appalled at the food industry in America, especially as it relates to our children. Parents simply are not afforded the opportunity to provide real foods to their kids. It is either not available, preparation is too time consuming, or it is not feasible. This saddens me as the health of this nation continues to decline. Parents need to be able to permanently change the eating habits and nutritional lifestyle of their family. But how?
Today I would like to take a look at some baby steps you can take to begin incorporating Real Foods into your child's repertoire. Drastic changes overnight will certainly not work on anyone, but especially will not work on children. So here are some suggestions on what you can do over the course of a month that will move your children towards eating a Real Foods diet.
1. Stop giving your children low and nonfat food products. You can read this post I wrote about fat but essentially, low and nonfat foods do more harm than good. Our bodies need fat. Children especially need fat for brain development and energy. This should be a rather easy switch to make as most children will not notice a taste difference.
2. Swap out sugary sodas and juices with naturally flavored waters (i.e. water that you infuse with slices of fruit, citrus, mints, etc…) and caffeine free teas. Juice isn't completely out of the question but you will need to select products that are 100% juice with no additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors. Ideally, you would make these yourself.
3. Swap out commercial nut butters for raw nut butters. Commercial nut butters are loaded with sugars and other additives. Raw nut butters have amazing flavors and pack much more nutritional value in them.
4. Serve trail mix or Larabars (or the equivalent) instead of sugary granola bars. Granola bars (even the organic kind) are loaded with junk that your child's body does not need.
5. Commit to serving whole grain foods. This can be a bit of a transition for those children who are used to and addicted to white breads, pasta, and the like but whole grains (especially sprouted whole grains) are nutritionally more complete.
6. Carve out time in the morning to serve a protein packed breakfast of eggs cooked in butter, uncured/nitrate free bacon, and fresh fruit. Cereals, cereal bars, toaster waffles, and other easy breakfast foods set children up to crash later on in the morning. There is nothing healthy about starting your day with these less than optimal breakfast foods. If cooking is not an option in the morning, spend an hour on the weekend cooking protein pancakes that can be heated in the toaster oven. (See the recipe at the end of the post).
7. Use real butter and coconut oil in cooking. Vegetable oils, butter substitutes, and shortenings are terribly unhealthy for all of us. Start your child's health off right by using good quality butter and coconut oil.
8. Do not purchase and offer sugary snacks and foods to your children. Honestly. Your toddler does not need cookies, ice cream, cakes, Twinkies, candy, pastries, and the like. For sweet treats, provide them with homemade goodies that substitute refined sugar with more natural sweeteners like honey, maple syrup, Stevia, and sucanat. However, even natural sugars should be limited.
9. Make an effort to incorporate as many fresh vegetables and fruits as possible into your children's life. You may have to “hide” vegetables in other foods to get them to eat it and that is ok. Not every child will sit and eat spinach willingly.
10.Purchase as much organic food as possible. Purchase as much grassfed red meat, free range chicken, and free range eggs as possible. Purchase as much raw milk as possible. Purchase as much grass fed butter as possible. Purchase local when possible. Whenever possible, purchase the highest quality food you have access to and can afford. The nutritional value and quality of the food will be tremendous.
I will stop here. In future posts, I will look at other ways you can incorporate Real Foods into your children's nutritional lifestyles but for now, begin with the list outlined above. Your child's immediate and long term health is worth it.
And now, the recipe. (Some links may be affiliate links)
- Using a hand mixer, stand mixer, or spoon, thoroughly mix the above ingredients. Make sure that there are no lumps of flour in the batter. If the batter is too thick, you can add a little milk or water to thin it out.
- Over medium heat, melt a liberal amount of butter or coconut oil in a medium pan.
- Drop a tablespoon of batter into the pan and cook, turning once bubbles form on the surface. These pancakes cook fast.
- Serve immediately, cool slightly and store in the refrigerator for up to three days or cool slightly and freeze between sheets of wax paper.
- 3 eggs
- 1 large banana or 2 small bananas
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Butter or coconut oil
- Follow same instructions.
- These are easily reheated in a toaster oven. Do not microwave.
- Both of these recipes are hits in our house! Protein packed, healthy and super delicious! Very easy to make too! Enjoy!