I often get asked how can healthy eating not be a drag with children? We all want to feed our kids well, right? But often it’s so much easier just to make them “happy” with something we know they’ll eat and like ie. quick, convenient foods, such as pizza, pies, or pasta… than to spend extra time in the kitchen preparing fresh food that will probably be pushed away as soon as it’s placed on the table.
Yes, I know. New things have to look good and taste even better… or they bomb, and you’re left thinking why did I bother? Well, I’d like to reach out to you now, give you a big reassuring hug, and give you some very good reasons for wanting to make the effort…
By increasing the amount of raw and whole foods your children eat (and thereby reducing the amount of gluten, dairy, sugar, processed and refined foods in their diet) you can help to improve and even heal conditions such as:
- eczema and other skin conditions
- persistent and regular colds and flus
- upset tummies and IBS
- insomnia/tiredness/lack of energy
- lack of concentration/irritability
- behavioural disorders such as ADD/ADHD
Yes – pretty big reasons for persisting and making the effort for you and your children.
The following is a list of ideas that you can use to “up the raw” at lunch, dinner and snack-time:
Rice Paper Rolls - (small or large, are bought in dry, round sheets and can be found in the asian section of supermarkets) filled with grated carrot, chopped tomatoes, baby spinach, basil or coriander (optional: thin slices of rare roast beef) served with a tamari/lime or sweet chilli dipping sauce
Nori Rolls – (flat sheets of seaweed) filled with left over brown rice and /or slices of avocado and raw veggie sticks (optional: asian style chicken tenderloins or tuna) served with tamari for dipping (Tamari is a Japanese soy sauce and can be found wheat/gluten free)
Gluten-free Spaghetti tossed with lots of fresh ripe chopped tomatoes, garlic, finely shredded raw zucchini, carrot, capsicum and/or beets and fresh basil, drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice
Edamame in a pod - edible whole soybean found in frozen food section, defrosted or lightly steamed and sprinkled with sea salt
Hummus & raw veggie sticks
Carrot & Raisin Salad – 2 carrots (grated), handful raisins, splash of apple cider vinegar, splash of tamari and olive oil to taste. Mix all ingredients together. So quick and easy, this is something the kids could proudly make for mummy
Guacomole with gluten free Seaweed Crackers
Rice Cakes with Tahini (Sesame seed paste) or Nut Butters such as almond or cashew butter – look out for the organic kind in health food stores
Baked Sweet Potato Chips – ok, these are not raw, but a fun way to get more veggies into the kids: slice sweet potatoes or beets and place on baking tray for 20-25 mins in a hot oven
Fresh seasonal fruit pre-cut and presented in a fun way to make it easy for them to help themselves
Raw Sweet Citrus Balls
- 1/4 cup organic raw almond butter
- 3 pitted organic medjool dates
- 2 large pieces of organic dried mango
- 1 teaspoon of grated fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon organic lemon rind
- 1/2 teaspoon organic orange rind
Blend all ingredients together in a food processor, until it becomes a paste. Shape into little balls. Store them in the freezer.
Tips: Don’t get disheartened when they screw their little noses up and start to protest – just keep trying. They will not love everything the first time you put it in front of them – what’s important is not to cave! Initially insist they at least try a few new things, together on a plate of food they are used to.. little by little fill their plate with more and more raw food. If they’re hungry enough, I promise you it WILL taste good and they will eat it
Pack a picnic. Children see outings as adventures and if you combine new food with a fun experience they are more likely to have a positive attitude regarding the food. Consider taking them to the zoo or a local outdoor swimming pool. After they’ve run around and worked up a good and healthy appetite you can bring out the picnic basket. They’ll be so famished that they’ll welcome the food. They’ll also bring up the outing every time you serve the same foods at home… or you can stay put and simply spread out a picnic blanket on the lounge room floor.
Help them feel empowered by asking them to help you prepare the food, or go shopping with you and choose the ingredients. Explain how this way of eating is going to help them feel better, give them more energy, and help them concentrate so they can learn cool new things!
Here’s to fuelling happy kids!