Thought I’d share this; perhaps you’ll get a tip or two or have a suggestion for me, which I would love. I have found that if you want to get a bunch of moms riled up, start talking about how you feed your kids. Tempers get hot, real quick. Please don’t read any judgment into anything I say here. You do you.
Okay! So I pretty much feed my kids similarly to how my husband and I eat. I think this is the case for most people. We generally do the 80/20 rule, so they do too. I don’t buy candy but if it’s offered outside of the house, of course it’s okay. Ditto for mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, popsicles, fruit snacks, cheese crackers (fish or bunnies), or sugary yogurt. I’ve never bought these things, so they don’t ask me to. I’m not against them by any means. I try to give them things that are the least processed, but the main reason I don’t buy these items are that my daughter has a penchant for the most unhealthy options, and if I buy them then I’ll have a battle with every single meal. I’ve heard moms say that they want their kids to eat treats at their house so one day they don’t go to their friends’ houses for treats. I think I’d rather feed them well now and worry about that later. Plus, there are plenty of treats, they’re just ones I’ve made (because I like to cook, not because I have anything against buying them).
We almost never buy lunches out, but we pack a lot. When the weather is nice we pack almost every day. We will eat at the park, the pool, the mall, etc. When we food shop we get a bag of blue corn tortilla chips. It’s a tradition that started with Tessa as a one year old. Now the kids split the bag while sitting in the cart. Keeps them quiet.
If you don’t have kids (but hope to one day) or have a baby, LISTEN UP. Kids will get “used to” whatever it is that you give them. YOU are in charge of their diets. If you start with ideal options, those that you’ve learned are the least processed, then those are the items your child will eat. If I tried to switch them onto the hearty Food for Life (Ezekiel) bread from a more soft, fluffy white or wheat bread, I think it’d be tough. The reason they eat fruits with lunches is because there’s never NOT been a fruit with their lunch. Consistency is key – so be mindful about what you start them on as young kids.
Today was a spinach shake (frozen banana, ground flax seed, organic peanut butter, vegan chocolate protein powder, baby spinach, and organic milk). They love these – every morning for a few weeks now. They aren’t great veggie eaters so my conscience feels better getting those greens in.
In the winter we mostly do oatmeal. Old fashioned oats with maple syrup, flax, chia seeds, and frozen blueberries. Sometimes she asks for peanut butter and jelly or cream cheese and jelly – fine by me (Ezekiel bread to the rescue). We go through kicks with eggs and toast – “dippy egg” is a favorite.
I usually have these pancakes in the freezer, and sometimes they will eat these with some sort of fruit on the side.
They also had some of the double chocolate zucchini muffins on the counter.
Lunch can be anything we typically eat at breakfast (a shake, pancakes, oatmeal) or a more normal lunch option. Peanut butter and jelly (Organic, unsweetened PB from Costco, and Crofter’s Organic Strawberry Jelly) or cream cheese and jelly – (always Ezekiel bread). Sometimes grilled cheese, sometimes quesadilla. They like black beans and edamame so if I remember, I’ll get them out. They like carrots and hummus. I try to do a fruit and veggie with every lunch, but I’ll be honest I forget the veggie a lot. OH and organic beef hot dogs. I keep them individually wrapped and frozen, so they’re always on the ready. I try to space them out to every three days. No bun, because I never have them around.
Today’s lunch was grilled cheese, watermelon, and carrots/hummus.
Snack for Tessa was graham crackers with peanut butter and a sliced plum.
Leo had homemade granola with raisins and frozen blueberries when he woke up from his nap.
They love these bars, as well as pretty much any muffins I make. Snack isn’t a scheduled thing or something we do every day. Lunch and dinner aren’t at the same time every day either, so snack fits in when/if it does. They love those laughing cow cheeses in the red wax, and will eat those with fruit – sometimes in the car on the way to the park or a play date (minimal crumbs).
Breakfast and lunch are never a struggle, just like dinner is always a struggle. Leo can’t be reasoned with yet, but Tessa is old enough to converse with us. Our rule is that she try everything on her plate. I try to put one thing I know she likes with every dinner. I use very small portions with her dinner. Once she tries it, she doesn’t have to finish it. However, there won’t be any more food the rest of the night (and yes, I’ve sent her to bed hungry, more than once). If she cleans her plate (again, very small portions), she gets dessert. She can have as many seconds as she wants – but after all of the food on her plate is done (even the veggie she is avoiding). Even with a hard and fast system, she still sighs and grumbles her way through. She sees me cooking dinner, asks what we’re having, and proceeds to whine no matter what I answer. Good times.
I forgot to snap their plates, but this was ours. I cut their meat and they dunked in ketchup. They each had some chopped avocado and a bit of salad greens. Leo ate a few bites of meat and peaced out. Tess finished her plate (again, VERY small portions) and got a treat – tonight it was an extra show (which was a smooth move convincing her because I’d already finished the ice cream).
We are an ice cream eating bunch, so trips to Dairy Queen for Dilly bars are not uncommon. Today Rich ate 3 Klondike bars. Turkey Hill All Natural is my favorite brand because I like the few ingredients and I think it tastes the best of everything out there.
This is working for now – it will be interesting to see how it changes as they grow. You know I make plenty of unhealthy treats – cookies and the like, and the kids eat these with gusto. I didn’t happen to have any on hand today. Questions on any particular products? Suggestions? Thoughts? Would love to hear!