About a year ago, my daughter began to have some strange reactions — hives actually –to certain foods that I was preparing for her meals. After maintaining a spreadsheet of her reactions, I determined that she was allergic to food dyes, even those coming from seeds! In a way, it has been the best thing to happen to us because as a result, I am raising a champion vegetable eater!
When other parents learn about her allergies, they always ask, “So what *do* you feed her?” The answer is simple — fruits, vegetables, whole grains, & lean meats.
Here are some of our favorite ways to eat healthy – I hope you’ll find one that will work for you too!
Almost every kitchen has a muffin pan, but did you know that it can make the best little snack tray? We love to fill it up with all kinds of different taste sensations! For today’s snack time, I filled it with carrots, apple slices, craisins, black olives, & organic crackers. It took less than five minutes to fill it up with nutritious foods and with four toddlers surrounding it at our table this morning, it was gobbled up almost as quickly! You may want to try some of these in your muffin pans:
- cherry tomatoes
- bites of cheese
- apple slices
- dried fruit
- pretzel sticks
When your children are sitting at the table, it’s likely that you don’t want them to “play” with their food, but you could try being “play-ful” with their food. When I taught preschool, parents took turns sending in snacks and there were always a couple that would say “I don’t *like* that!” So instead of telling the children that snack is raisins and pretzels, tell them with your eyes wide, “We’re having ants & sticks for snack today!” Boys really think that’s cool. Think of how much fun you can have with that! Dried fruit is “nature’s candy” and carrots & peppers are “bunny food”!
Don’t forget to let your kids catch you eating delicious & nutritious food, too. Setting a good example for your children will go a long way. When my husband and I dine out with our daughter, we like to order a Greek side salad — our daughter now immediately takes some of my field greens, tomatoes, & cucumbers for herself. There’s nothing that makes me more proud as a Mom than to hear her say, “Mmm, feta! It’s yummy!”
Just remember, if they don’t eat it today they may like it down the road. Keep trying, keep exposing them to whole foods and limit your pantry to healthy, “grow” foods. You may be surprised at what they will try!
About the Blogger:
Sara is the wife of a college football coach and mom to the world’s busiest toddler. You
can read more about their adventures on her blog The Football Wife. (www.thefootballwife.com)