Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Eat Well, Be Well

By: Kerry McKenzie

Have you ever used any of these reasons (excuses) to choose fast food or processed convenience foods over whole, fresh foods?
I have picky eaters
I’m a one (wo)man army
I get confused about clean eating 
Healthy food is too expensive (read more on this next week!)

Here are a few simple but effective, guilt-free solutions that are fun and will engage the whole family in a more nutritious lifestyle.
Have Themed Taste Tests
Guaranteed to tempt even the pickiest eaters!
Wizard World: Pumpkin seeds, pumpkin juice (see recipe below), herbology salad, vegetable spice stew
Pooh Bear: Honey apple bites, peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat, Rabbit’s garden veggies
Dinner and a Movie: Select foods to go along with the theme of the evening's feature, or let each child pick his favorite menu (within reason). Some suggestions: "Lady and the Tramp" featuring spaghetti and meatballs or "Finding Nemo" featuring fish and veggies.  However, be sure to sit and eat dinner first then move to the family room for movie time.
Other possibilities: Meatless Mondays, taco Tuesdays, make your own pizza night, breakfast for dinner night, make your own salad night, Hawaiian luau night, etc.

Use Sugar Sense
Sugar…
Decreases our immune system
Increases insulin levels, causing the body to store excess carbs as fat
Causes a rapid rise of adrenaline levels
Can increase anxiety, difficulty concentrating and crankiness in children

Sweet alternatives!
Appreciate the natural sweetness of fresh or frozen fruits
Choose pure, raw, truly delicious, lower glycemic sweeteners such as: Raw honey, Raw coconut palm sugar or “coconut crystals”

Make Good Food Fun! 
Garden, cook, bake, and prepare food with your kids. Teach them that food comes from the earth, not the pantry or fridge.
Be flexible and indulge in tasty, nutritious treats, like the three- ingredient peanut butter cups that I include for you!
Recipes:

Tasty, Simple, 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cups
Ingredients:
12 ounces of dark chocolate chips (preferably organic)
1 cup of natural peanut butter (or Sunbutter in case of nut allergy)
1/3 cup of coconut oil (or butter if preferred)

Instructions:
1. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners. They make the process much 
cleaner and tidier. You may use a mini muffin pan or a standard muffin pan.

2. Place a layer of the chocolate chips on the bottom of each cupcake liner.

3. Heat the peanut butter and coconut oil until the coconut oil is melted.

4. Stir the peanut butter mixture until it is nice and smooth.

5. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the chocolate chips.

6. Freeze for about 30 minutes. Server directly out of the freezer, and enjoy!

7. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.

Pumpkin Power Juice
Ingredients:
5 cups apple juice (preferably organic)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon raw honey
A sprinkle of cinnamon and/or ground ginger

Instructions:
Combine all in a pitcher and stir well. Let sit for 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator, then strain out remaining solids and refrigerate until ice cold. Yields about six delicious cups.

About the Author: Kerry McKenzie, B.A., M.S., has been working in education for more than 13 years. She is a Certified Health Coach, a 500 level (E-RYT500) yoga teacher and specializes in early childhood motor development. She has a passion for working with expecting moms, babies, toddlers and preschool age children and their caregivers at Greenville Health Systems pediatric clinic, child care centers and in the community. Click here to learn more about Kerry.

50 comments :

  1. A great post full of ideas! We talk a lot about some things being a rare treat. But healthy foods are always available. I've not once complained because my daughter ruined her dinner with an orange!

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    1. I am the same way. If my little one chooses to just eat fruit or veggies for dinner then so be it! At least it's not cookies :)

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  2. I pinned this for later! I'm going to make the peanut butter cups with the kids!

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    1. Awesome! You'll have to let us know what they think of them.

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  3. You have some great ideas here. My favorite is the themed taste tests.

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    1. Thanks!! There's always a way to get kids (and even adults) to try something new!

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  4. what a cute way to incorporate healthy food!

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  5. This is fantastic! Those peanut butter cups sound delicious:)

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    1. You can totally make them and share 'em on your blog!! ;)

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  6. great post! I'm going to pin it so I can find again later!

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    1. Awesome :) we are also on Pinterest and pin all of our posts. Www.pinterest.com/choosykids

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  7. So many great ideas! I love the tasting theme-I think my 3 yo would too! We're working on a garden this year for the first time and we're really excited about it. And now I'm craving peanut butter cups...and I just so happen to have all the necessary ingredients!

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    1. I would love to have a garden too...we just have a lot of deer and other animals that I am sure would get to the plants before me!! Good luck with yours :)

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  8. These are great ideas. I am very proud of the fact that my daughter has only had fast food twice, in a pinch far from home.

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    1. That's awesome. There are actually SOME ok choices of fast food but I totally get where you're coming from :)

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  9. I love these recipes. I've been struggling to cut out sugar and eat clean. I can't wait to try these. Thank you!

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    1. Sugar is really hard to cut out because I feel like it is in everything!! Good luck!!

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  10. This is great! We eat really healthy at our house and I use strawberries as incentive for the boys to eat their dinner. They view strawberries and blueberries as dessert, so it's been a good system to have healthy eaters...for the most part haha

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    1. My little one views fruit as a dessert too!! (Although she does love chocolate!) the best is "milkshake smoothies" which are yogurt, whatever juice liquid we have and whayever fruit we have. She looooves those and they are packed with wholesome goodness :)

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  11. Yes, I've used a few of those excuses, lol

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  12. Those 3 ingredient peanut butter cups sound awesome! I am a stickler for eating healthy and feeding my daughter healthy foods. She loves berries, sweet potatoes, black beans, grilled chicken... I hope she continues to be a good eater, and I love the idea of making food fun by cooking and baking with her as she gets older.

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    1. I hope she continues to be a good eater. My little one went through a crappy eating phase but I think we are finally past that!! Yay!!

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  13. Thank you for sharing these wholesome recipes. I want to try them ALL :)

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    1. Hehe well if you do, please stop back and let us know how they were.

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  14. My kids are very picky ... but I've never let that stop me, lol! I make and offer the food, and they choose what they eat. Of course, I try to make sure that all of the items are as healthy as possible ;-)

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    1. Hey...that's all we can do is offer and hope they try. At least you are offering good choices. They will learn to try new things as they get older and braver :) keep up the good work!

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  15. Great ideas! I love the themed taste test idea. I think I would like that too.

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    1. Seems to be a popular theme :) give it a try and let us know how it works out.

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  16. I can hardly wait to try some of these ideas with my kids. My youngest is so picky but we keep trying. Everyone once in a while he surprises me. I think he will really like your Pooh Bear idea!

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    1. Awesome! I hope he does. My little one enjoys making her own smoothies. She picks what fruit and yogurt go in the blender ;) there are always ways to get them to try new things! Good luck and let us know how Pooh Bear goes!

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  17. I love this! We are doing a trial right now with our son by not giving him red dye and processed foods. He's being so awesome and trying new things and loving it! It's not as hard as I thought, as long as I put some time into preparing snacks ahead of time! Great ideas!

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    1. I've heard a lot about red dye. Might be a great next topic ;) thanks for visiting!

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  18. Great tips! Educating kids early really helps. When we did a study on nutrition, they were more conscious of what they ate, and I would often find them looking at the nutrition labels.

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    1. That sounds like a great study. Is it published so you can share?? Thanks!!

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  19. I'm looking forward to your post about healthy eating NOT being expensive. I know sugar is my body's enemy, but I still eat it.

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  20. these are some great ideas and recipes, I think I have the pickiest kids and it is so hard to find something they all like, thanks for sharing

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    1. Kids can be hard to feed. I like just putting all options out there and hopefully they'll bite some of my bait ;)

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  21. Those nut butter bars sound delicious! I love the tips that you have here and I will definitely be sharing them!
    We try to limit sugar as much as possible at our house. I tend to lean towards using honey as a sweetner because I have an awesome local connection nearby.

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    1. That is awesome about your honey!! Wish I was that lucky.

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  22. Great tips here! I love the idea of doing a theme for meals. That makes it more fun for everyone!

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    1. Exactly!! Everyone can get in on the fun!

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  23. What a fantastic post! I have a super picky 3 year old, loved these ideas! Www.meetmotandpea.com <3

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    1. Different dipping sauces have helped out with getting my toddler to try new things. Maybe that will help you too :)

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  24. This is awesome. Thanks for sharing this. I'm showing this to my daughter so she can use.

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    1. Awesome! Hopefully she enjoys it just as much :)

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