What mom doesn’t spend a good amount of her day dreaming up way to pack more nutrients into her kids. Tell me I’m not alone! If I am then ignore but if you’re looking for how to cram more of the good stuff into your kids diet here are my tips.
Let me preface this by saying I am a mom who loves to read, not a dietitian or a nutritionist. How I choose to feed Amelia and our family is based on my knowledge of professionals I follow – mostly, Joyous Health. Since Amelia started eating solids I started stressing over the best foods I could give her (again, I’m an overthinker) and following other moms, moms with a deep understanding of nutrition, brought me peace of mind. If you haven’t read Joy’s first book, Joyous Health, might I suggest it because it was a game changer for me. As someone who struggled with body image and weight management Joy’s book completely changed my way of thinking about food and exercise. Now that I have a daughter it would kill me to see her struggle so I wanted healthy eating and physical activity to be a normal way of life for our family. Have I convinced you to read the book? If nothing else, check out Joy’s Instagram (her daughter is seriously adorable). OK back to meal hacks!
Millie has been an absolute dream when it comes to introducing food. She LOVES to eat and very rarely shows any kind of distaste for what I give her. Her favourites include bananas, black beans, avocados, sweet potatoes, pomegranate seeds, beets, and brown rice. She also devours chickpea pasta with homemade pesto, chilli, curry, and homemade pizza. I always keep Love Child Organics purees on hand for a quick snack or when she’s teething and doesn’t want to eat.
While nutrition is always at the top of my list when meal time comes I also can’t deny that I’m looking for something yummy and quick that I can feed to the whole family. The idea of multiple meals makes me cringe – I’ve been lucky so far. My goal is to lead by example!
My hacks are simple – just how I like things – but effective! Here we go:
We love our smoothies! Most mornings I make a big family smoothie for all of us to share. Since variety is the spice of life I change it up everyday but I always try to include greens (spinach is our fav because it blends beautifully and doesn’t have a strong taste). I find smoothies are the easiest way to get greens into Millie, not to mention her probiotics and vitamin D (side note: in mine, I throw in a scoop of L-Glutamine powder). Take a look at my Morning Smoothie for Two – simple and yummy! Pinterest is a gold mine for smoothie recipes or check out my fav cookbook It All Begins with Food for recipes and a fool-proof smoothie making guide.
Who doesn’t love toast! Let’s start there, though. While I love bread I’m choosy about what I buy because I want one that isn’t just depleted of all nutrients. At the grocery store my go to is Food for Life Sprouted Whole Grain which is loaded with good stuff. I also love the selection of fresh spelt breads from The Peanut Mill because is there anything better than fresh bread? Now that we’ve covered that I’m not talking about white bread made with unbleached wheat flour we can move on to toppings! Toast is SO easy to load on nut butters, avocado, goats cheese, you name it! Millie loves avocado with hemp hearts, almond butter and banana, and in the summer fresh figs and goats cheese.
Again, my goal is always to pack as much punch into a meal as I can. Toppings are a great way to do this! I top apple sauce and yogurt with chia seeds or throw a tablespoon of hemp seeds on pasta. Amelia goes bananas for hemp seeds (they are also her fav hair product :P)! Both chia seeds and hemp seeds are powerhouses of nutrients and super easy to incorporate! Speaking of toppings, Pizza Friday is a tradition in our house. I make pizza dough from a recipe in It All Begins with Food and we dress it with healthy, delicious toppings. It feels good to be able to share a pizza with my family without the guilt of it not being nutritious. Music to my ears!
Let me preface this by saying if you’re a self proclaimed neat freak this might not be for you. Millie makes an INCREDIBLE mess with dips. To combat my personal disturbance over the mess I learned about why it was important for her to learn by doing, including squishing dip between her fingers. It helped! Nonetheless dips are an easy way to add a little bit more nutrition to a meal. We are big fans of apples with almond butter, cucumbers with tzatziki, or a dollop of greek yogurt on our curry.
That’s right! Healthy, nutritious baked goods! My mission in life is to replace childhood classics that do nothing for you with yummy, delicious treats packed with healthy ingredients. Since I’m not a recipe developer I love that other momma’s who specialize in just that. Some of the incredible ingredients I love seeing in recipes are flaxseed, coconut oil, sweet potatoes, berries, and healthy flours. Thanks to Leah Garrad-Cole, author of It All Begins with Food, Amelia’s first birthday cake was made with spelt flour, pear, carrot, and coconut oil with very little coconut sugar.
We love to eat in our family but I believe you should also eat to fuel your body. I love classic foods like pancakes, grilled cheese, and muffins but when you can have both, why not! When I heard about the statistics of young girls dieting I knew I wanted to handle things differently for my family. For example, I speak positively about my body. I don’t always feel positive but I try to avoid speaking negatively. First and foremost though, in my opinion, it begins with making healthy, well balanced, and exciting choices. You don’t have to sacrifice nutrients for taste!
Do you have any favourite healthy meal hacks?