Hello to all you awesome mothers everywhere,
When my son Gavriel was a baby I prided myself for introducing healthy foods to him early. I thought that the fact that he ate mashed spinach, carrots, peas and sweet potato will guarantee that he will be a vegetable lover when he grew up. I also thought that if he will see me preparing and eating healthy foods, it will teach him to follow my example.
And it did!
My mom friends were astonished to see him gobbling up vegetables.
In restaurants he will eat oatmeal, bananas, bean soups and whole wheat toast.
When my sister in law came to visit, she ordered chicken nuggets
and french fries for her kids which he would not touch, instead he shared my plate of brown rice and steamed tofu.
I was a proud mama.
And I thought that I “got it”, I have found the formula to raise a healthy food loving child.
And then he turned two…
And taught me a great lesson in humility.
And a newly found appreciation and sympathy to all the moms out there who are trying their best to feed their children right.
He started refusing vegetables and proteins.
He just wanted crackers, rice, pasta, pretzels, bread.
We went through a pizza every day phase.
I could not put vegetables on his plate, he would throw them on the floor. Any new food was met with “I don’t like it! it’s icky!”
It was a new reality and I needed a new strategy!!
Gavriel is 4 and a half years old now, and he is a delightful, vibrant, energetic and healthy boy. We have figured out a lot and made great progress and healthy living is a journey that we will be on forever.
Here are the strategies that worked for us.
Healthy eating is a work in progress.
It will not be perfect.
Continue to eat and offer healthy choices but don’t force.
Find out what healthy foods they do like and make sure they are always around and ready to eat.
What I found was that Gavriel ate a protein rich food like organic chicken or lentil soup every other day, and even though it was not as much as I liked, it seemed to be enough for him.
When you feed your children tell them why eating healthy is so great.
We say that grains give you energy.
Proteins help you build strong muscles and strong bodies
And fruits and vegetables have vitamins that make you healthy and help your body not get sick.
I do talk a little about reasons to avoid unhealthy foods like too much sugar and colors and additives, but I would rather keep it positive and sing the praises of apples and pears and broccoli.
~KEEP THEM INVOLVED
Gavriel loves to food shop and cook and I try to include him as much as possible.
Make shopping lists together.
Spend time with them at the produce isle at the supermarket, health food store and farmer market.
Let them pick their favorite fruits and vegetables and put it in the shopping basket.
Give them a job of mixing the salad, stir frying the vegetables, pressing the blender button.
We make “apple pie” every week and it is his favorite dessert.
“Apple Pie” Recipe
this is a thickened up apple sauce that taste like the inside of apple pie.
Chop up 3-4 apples
You can add a pear and/or a few strawberries
Put the apples in a pot with a tablespoon of water
Sprinkle with cinnamon and stevia (or your favorite sweetener)
And cook covered on low flame until the apples are soft
Once done, add a tablespoon of corn starch to thicken
Serve warm! Also delish chilled!
Don’t ask, just offer.
When he plays and watches TV I will put a plate with healthy snacks on his play table.
It usually gets eaten.
Sliced organic omelet
When he does not want to sit down to a meal, at least he has a variety of healthy snacks.
There are many ways to add healthy veggies to many dishes.
I make green smoothies daily, and will add a little to pasta sauces and to soups.
When I make a fruit smoothie, I’ll put a handful of leafy greens in there. It’s undetectable!!!
We make chicken meatballs often, and I load them up with vegetables.
Find the recipe and pictures on my facebook page: HealthNutGirl.
Draw pictures of vegetables together and hang them on the kitchen walls.
Make fun shapes out of vegetables.
Invent stories about children who learned to eat healthy.
Gavriel and I are working on a healthy eating children book together.
We spend time daily writing, drawing or talking about it.
Will put it on my site when it’s done.
I would love to hear from you about what you have tried, what works for you and your family and if you have any questions.
Lots of Love and Sunshine to you and your family!