Since we try to do homemade meals I’ve had to figure out a quick, easy, affordable and likable solutions for my kiddos. We try to minimize processed foods especially sugar and carbs so that limits our “sandwich” intake. I am definitely all about moderation though, so pb&j, grilled cheese, chick-fil-a, all those things are definitely still enjoyed, but I just don’t want to make them part of our regular routine. I want to maximize our meals that are “whole foods”.
This is one of our favs because well, the plate is amazing. We don’t do plastics, so this stainless option is nice so my kiddos can have a little fun with their meal. I love it because those 5 slots force me to give them a diverse set of options. We usually do:
- Veggie – steamed carrots, frozen peas, peppers, (or other veggies but I try to mix it up).
- Fruit – possibilities are endless here
- Protein – Deli meat, avocado, hard boiled egg, nuts. I do deli meat a lot because it so easy but it is easy to get deli meat that is less than healthy. LOOK AT INGREDIENTS! This one from Trader Joe’s is awesome!
- Something delicious – a few crackers, a couple m&ms, more fruit.
I think this way of eating is also nice for them to feel empowered to mix and match and eat things at their pace. My little guy tries to eat all of the fruit and delicious stuff and then ask for more of that, but I won’t do it unless the healthy things have been eaten. This is definitely something that takes time for them to learn though, but I find that it is a little easier with this nice variety given to them at once.
I know all parents want their kids to eat more nutritious foods and I know we all do our best, so please take my suggestions as ideas, the same things don’t work for every kid! But I do try to remember that I am the mama and I am the gatekeeper for what comes into my house. It makes me feel strong and empowered to remember that! My kids aren’t going to eat only pb&j if I don’t always just feed them that. And does that mean that sometimes my kids refuse to eat lunch and just skip it? Yup, it does. I’ve heard before that it is our job as the parents to provide healthy meals and it is up to the kid to eat it or not. And honestly if I could go on a hunger strike for a meal and ensure I only ate french fries for the rest of my life I would DEFINITELY consider it because OMG I love LOVE french fries. My little guy has thrown plenty of meals into my face because he just wanted a COOKIE!!!! A COOKIE. RIGHT. NOW!!
But we don’t cave, because I know that what goes into their bodies will become them. Look how fast they grow!!! Where does that mass come from? It doesn’t magic itself there, they are growing from the things that are going into their bodies! So if all they eat are carbs and sugar, what is that creating? I just don’t see those cells having all the good stuff to be as strong as I want them to be. Our brains need healthy fats to function correctly. So we don’t avoid fats – no lean, fat-free here, we just aim for whole foods 80% of the time. The other 20% is delicious carby, sugary goodness! We do lollipops at the grocery store, chick-fil-a dates with friends, dessert after dinner, and chocolate (as bribery especially!). So don’t misunderstand my post, we definitely enjoy all the things, it is just not a primary source of food around here.
I tell my big little that my job is to keep her healthy and safe. And to be healthy we need the right foods to power our bodies. I tell her veggies make us healthy and meats/avocado/nuts (insert appropriate protein) makes us strong, and the rest is just yummy. I don’t want her to associate food with body image but as what powers her body.