Tune in today to see if she can … feed her family healthfully for a whole month without igniting an uprising.
Considering most eaters under the age of 10 (and often well beyond that) would rather sit through a marathon of The Lawrence Welk Show than eat a sweet potato, one is safe to assume that month of massively healthy meals is going to go over like a pregnant pole vaulter. Not that I blame the kids, really. There are certain foods that are only acceptable to eat in that window between your first day of kindergarten and the first time you have to go to the grocery store and shop for your own sustenance. Things like Fruit Roll-Ups and tiny pieces of French toast made into cereal and candy sticks that you lick and then dip into granules of more sugar. They’re complete poison, but so much fun to eat!
In an ideal world – one where homes are installed with motion-sensored vacuums and muffin tops are just a sweet, starchy side – your kids would willingly devour the whole, natural foods you set before them. But in my house, anything other than a hot dog is met with a degree of distaste typically reserved for shots or “grown up shows”.With two rounds of the strict paleo Whole30
prescription behind me, I’ve acquired just shy of a handful of helpful ideas that might just buy you some slack (and hopefully success). That’s not to say these are gospel, but 60 percent of the time, they worked all the time.
1. when they deny, modify.
I liked to think of meals during those 30 days as a main course Mr. Potato Head. The base is the same for everyone at the table – say, it’s an actual potato in this case – but the accompaniments can be, to some degree, open to personal discretion. Let them dress their spud in shredded pork tenderloin, bacon, sour cream and cheese, while you pile on ghee, pork tenderloin, bacon and chives.more modifiable menu items: tacos or carnitas
– Give them all the fixins, but make yours a salad with pico
, guacamole and plantain chips for the crunch.burgers – Bypass the bun
and play with some alternatives to sandwich your grassfed patty. I’ve tried giant mushrooms (good but messy), roasted sweet potato rounds (probably my favorite) and straight up with a fried egg.
chili – Compliant soup ingredients are often easy to find and comforting during colder months. Add plantain chips (tell yourself they’re Fritos) to your bowl while the kids nosh on a grilled cheese and oyster crackers with theirs.
eggs – Go for breakfast-dinner as a treat. Roll up their scramble in a flour
tortilla, but plate yours with a flavorful salsa, guacamole and approved bacon.
2. know your dealers.
It’s sad but shockingly true that eating healthfully, especially for a family of five, means paying more. Crap is cheap, apparently. In an effort to avoid blowing the budget, I had to source some of the good stuff outside of our neighborhood grocery.
Costco – Great for eggs, marinara, bacon, coconut oil and nuts (This post is great.)
Amish grocery store – Great for unsweetened coconut, dried fruit and dates, tapioca starch and almond meal
Vitacost and Amazon – Price check between these two for all oils, bars and
3. how they and your garden grow.
Start in the spring and plant the seeds, both literally and figuratively, with your kids. Put them in some old jeans, supply a small shovel and take them to a box of dirt. Do a quick search online and come to the great outdoors packing some killer, very careful not to be mundane here, factoids that turn their veggie-eating frowns upside down. It’s as simple as, “This is a bell pepper plant. Bell peppers have vitamin C, and vitamin C keeps colds away.” You smell what I’m steppin’ in.
If your thumbs are more Shellac than green, take the lesson to the produce section. Same concept. “This is an avocado. It has omega 3 fatty acids and those are good for your heart.” [Hand to side of mouth] “Plus, who doesn’t like a side of guac with their weekly marg, right? Am I right?”
Over the past five years, I’ve learned a few undeniable truths about these little folks. They always have to pee when the food comes. They have impenetrable selective hearing when within a 2-mile radius of anything animated. And they really, really want to grow. Tell them something will help them get big and strong like ___(insert favorite princess/superhero)____, and suddenly broccoli is their jam.
4. just try it on.
It’s tough love at its finest. They can not get up, watch a show, play with toys, have dessert, whatever gives them their jollies, until they at least try everything on their plate. Don’t put a big ole’ pile of sprouts on there. You’ll blow it. Just a few, entirely manageable pieces … nothing to freak out about. We go by age; five bites for JoJo, three bites for Spikey, etc. As soon as they comply, even if gagging ensues, we go ape shit with praise. Of course, it must be said, we do have about a 60 percent success rate here, with 35 percent abandonment and 5 percent actual vomit. Maybe put some newspaper down first or something.
Until next time …