Can we please all agree to make this post a non-judgmental space today? Just like most other parents I am simply trying to do the best I can, and just like most parents – I do not claim to have all the answers. And as a result of some recent non-judgmental and constructive feedback from blog readers I’ve been doing some thinking…and my thoughts are this: I never want my daughters to have to worry about food (or anything for that matter).
People sometimes imply that allowing your children to have free rein on junk food means “letting your kid be a kid,” but in reality I think they are confusing “eating junk food” with the happy-go-lucky, carefree feeling we often see in children. And in my opinion there are many ways to achieve that bliss, which I can assure you, is not only from junk food.
But I am the first to admit it’s not easy to constantly find that fine line between standing up for what you believe in (nourishing my children with the healthiest foods on the planet!) and also not being too uptight. Whether we like it or not, there is a social aspect to junk food. I tell my husband all the time “we’ve been there done that” …therefore I don’t care if I never again chow down on a Little Debbie Snack, a box of Nerds, or a Push Up (really, I don’t). But my children have not had the same experiences as me and no matter how much they “understand” why those foods are unhealthy who can blame them for wanting to see what they are all about? They are literally surrounded by this stuff on a regular basis – just look at school lunch rooms, TV commercials, and even check-out lines at the store.
The Feedback I Couldn’t Ignore
Aside from our 100-day pledge (which ended in 2010) we have never been fully restrictive on what our girls can and can’t eat. We certainly eat almost all “real food” at home, but now that our pledge is over our children indulge in processed “treats” at birthday parties, school celebrations, friend’s houses, etc. I certainly wish they weren’t offered junk food at so many events, but this is reality and I try not to stress about it (although I have become more involved at their school in hopes of continuing to see positive changes there). We also usually offer our girls a “once a week treat,” which is pretty much the only time we eat any big sweets (other than a super dark chocolate square), but more often than not they have junk food elsewhere so others were almost always beating me to the punch when it came treat time. This means our treats together as a family didn’t happen very often – or if they did my daughters would have to decide to forgo a treat that was being offered to them by someone else. Watching them make these decisions is what started bothering me deep down.
Then it just so happens that last weekend we had the chance to buy our kids their weekly treat, and by request we headed out for donuts (which I shared with this picture on Facebook). It was on that post where an interesting discussion started. Continue Reading »
I have the pleasure of working with some great moms at our elementary school on an upcoming school assembly (for the students) that is all about real food! This is something we’ve never done before at our school, and it supports the initiatives for our new Healthy Child and Earth Committee. When we first started planning out the assembly we were honestly not sure where to start – I mean I talk to adults all day long about real food (you guys!), but a couple hundred kids? Some of which are brand new to the topic? So thankfully another local food blogger, Adri Warrick with The Whole Tulip, shared with us that she uses the red light/green light concept from a kids book called Eat Healthy, Feel Great when she talks to the kids at her school. That bit of information was exactly what we needed to get started, and today I want to share a version of our presentation with you that you can easily share with the kids in your life.
Sponsor Shoutout: Lunchbox Love
Speaking of kids, one of the ways I make my children’s real food lunches fun is by adding little notes from Lunchbox Love. Yes, I could probably write my own notes on my own paper, but let’s face it – they wouldn’t be nearly as cute or creative or fun and chances are at some point I would probably forget to keep doing it. Having the Lunchbox Love cards with our school lunch supplies is a great reminder for me, and not only do they have a heartfelt message (or a blank spot where you can write your own!), but the other side also has fun facts, jokes or other tidbits. I started sending these cards in my 2nd grader’s lunch at the beginning of the school year and she was so excited about them she said to me, “Mom, can you please buy me a frame to keep all these notes in?” We settled on a little box and sure enough she has quite the collection now that the school year is mostly over. And now that my kindergartener is learning to read we’ve been sending them in her lunch as well…just like big sis. So anyway, yes Lunchbox Love is one of sponsors, but I am here to tell you even if they weren’t I’d still be buying and sending these little notes with my girls (who in turn share them with their friends) so you’ll have to take a look at what they offer. Also be sure to check out their “grown up” notes as well that would be great to give with teacher gifts at the end of the year or to moms on Mother’s Day. Just like the name – we love these cards!
So back to the topic at hand – thanks to the team of moms I am working with on our school assembly, here is a kid-friendly transcript about eating “real food” that you can literally sit down and read together with your children:
How To Fuel Your Body
Close your eyes and pretend that you are sitting in the coolest, fastest race car you can imagine. Maybe it’s a red race car or a green one or even a car with racing stripes or flames painted down the sides. Continue Reading »
Almost every day on Facebook I share the school lunches that I pack for my daughters and almost every day there are a lot of questions about these lunches. Everything from “Where did you get that container?” to “Can I get that recipe?” to “Where’s the protein?” But lately I’ve been noticing quite a few questions asking what these carefully prepared lunches actually look like come lunchtime – especially after they’ve been tossed all around while in their backpacks and since “liquidy” foods like yogurt or applesauce are involved. Let’s face it, no child keeps their lunch bag or box in one perfect position all day, and that is certainly something I would never expect of my own children. So when I was having lunch with my daughter at school yesterday I (risked looking like a lunatic and) took a bunch of pictures for you!
Sponsor Shoutout: Primal Pit Paste
Before we get into the pics though I want to make sure you know about one of our newest sponsors, Primal Pit Paste. This creatively named product is an all-natural deodorant - for your pits of course! And since we’ve been looking for a non-toxic alternative for my husband (that actually works), he recently ordered some of this stuff (before they became one of our sponsors) so he could give it a go. And the report is after trying many different products that didn’t work this stuff totally does the trick for him. Please know though that it does not act as an antiperspirant, because it’s actually a completely normal process for your body to sweat, but is just a deodorant and thankfully one that keeps my husband smelling fresh. Okay, so now that we just got super personal let’s switch gears back to school lunches!
How my kindergartner’s lunch looked like right after I packed it.
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The giveaway winner has been chosen…
Congratulations to “Molly” whose comment said:
“Try and try and try again. My 2 1/2 year old is finally starting to eat one or two bites of carrots. There are literally no veggies he eats! Thanks for the great giveaway.”
Check your email Molly for prize details!
Winning over your picky eater is no new topic on this blog, but it’s something that many parents continue to struggle with day after day. So this is why I am super excited to share some new healthy eating tips with you straight from two experts in the field (and both sponsors of our blog)! Cai Dixon, co-creator of the Copy-Kids DVD, and Kia Robertson, creator of the Today I Ate A Rainbow kit, have both created award-winning yet simple resources that get kids interested in – and eating! – their fruits and veggies. Both Cai and Kia are fellow moms who feel passionate about helping other parents overcome the typical struggles they face when trying to get their children to eat a varied diet. Be sure to check out the contest details at the bottom because both of them are generously giving away one of their products along with a $100 Whole Foods (or alternate grocery store) gift card!
First Off, Set the Tone:
- Be Flexible
What does flexibility look like? It will vary from household to household. Here is what flexibility looks like in my home:
My 5-year-old took a bath first thing when she woke up today. I figured out a few years ago that coupling happy bath-time play with a meal was an excellent way to get her to eat more. First she started with a banana. Then she asked for a second banana. Then I set a divided plate on a low stool next to the tub. The plate contained red cabbage, cauliflower, celery & a cherry tomato – each in its own compartment, because she doesn’t like things to touch. And she ate them all. Yep, veggies for breakfast! Continue Reading »
Here’s yet another “round up” of my kids’ school lunches that I routinely share on Facebook. In case you are new here these links might help set the stage for you:
Sponsor Shoutout: The Fresh 20 Meal Planning Service
Before we dive into the pictures though I want to make sure you know about our meal planning sponsor…The Fresh 20! Through their service you’ll receive 5 unprocessed dinner recipes each week that can be made from only 20 fresh ingredients (organized shopping list included). The cost is $5/month and you can choose from their Classic, Vegetarian, or Gluten-Free plan. If you are struggling to get a wholesome dinner on the table every night why not let someone else do all the planning for you?
School Lunch Roundup Photos
Whole-grain (ak-mak brand) crackers, Havarti cheese slices, strawberries, carrots, and hummus (for dipping)
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I get a lot of questions about this from readers and have also wondered myself…how do you rehydrate your sick child without succumbing to the artificial ingredients found in Pedialyte? Just ask any pediatrician across the country and they’ll likely say this is the beverage of choice when it comes to children recovering from the stomach bug…
I am not saying this drink won’t provide your sick child with some much needed nutrients (we’ve used it before ourselves years ago), but what about the unnecessary extras it comes with like artificial flavors, sweeteners, and color (yellow 6)? We’ve already discussed some disturbing facts about the artificial dyes that require a warning label in many countries outside of the US, but as far as I can tell there aren’t many acceptable rehydration alternatives that don’t contain them. And when I asked our pediatrician’s office if they could please recommend another option, since I wanted to avoid the questionable artificial ingredients in Pedialyte, they had no idea what I was talking about. I am honestly not sure why I was surprised.
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