I know it’s rough! You know that packing lunches are a better option, but it takes way more time to do so than letting them grab whatever white junk they are offered at the school cafeteria. What if I promised you that it was easier than you thought and well worth it to pack your own nutrients up in a cute little bento box? What if it made a difference in your child’s energy, metabolism, immune system, mental wellness, and academic performance?
I usually pack my boys’ lunches in less than 5 minutes. Truth! I do plan it out and prep beforehand, which does take a bit more time, but once I have some of the following washed and cut in my fridge, placing them in the separate compartments in their lunchboxes is easy. Put on your favorite music. Pour a glass of kombucha. Slice, dice and know that your children’s body will thank you!
So will their taste buds. We are definitely able to change our kids’ taste preferences as we add new foods in. The biggest problem with meals and snacks made for kids is that they play to one thing – how it tastes. The more the kids like it, the more they beg for it, the more they sell. Yet most of these are nutrient void and filled with colorings and refined grains and fats that cause their health to plummet.
Instead, replace those “edible-food like substances” as Michael Pollan names them, with whole foods like the following:
- Dried chickpeas
- Hard boiled eggs
- Dried coconut
Then we can add some upgraded crunchy snack foods:
- Hummus (regular, beet, carrot, spinach, etc.!)
- Dark chocolate nibs
- Nut or rice crackers
- Gluten-free pretzels
- Organic cheese cubes
Plus, some homemade treats ready to go:
- Mini quinoa muffins
- Protein balls
- Chocolate snack bars
A rule in our house is they have to try things three times. If after that, they still dislike the taste, texture, etc. then we table it for now. The key, we have found, is to keep switching it up. If they think they don’t like hummus (most kids usually judge a food before its in their mouths!) then I add some olive oil and herbs on top. Chop up new veggies or give different crackers for it. Sometimes they change their mind and sometimes not. But we need to keep trying, mamas!
Another helpful hint is to make them a part of the fun. I let them pick their own toppings for salads, sauces and snacks. Of course they are all already approved by me, but by giving them options they feel empowered to make decisions. Most times, they enjoy the food more.
I also talk to my kids about why they are not allowed to eat certain foods and why I encourage them to eat others. We talk about the nutrients, how they help our body and why it’s important to consume them. They usually have tons of questions, and I have seen them make choices based on those answers. For example, my oldest loves math and blueberries. When I explained to him blueberries will help his brain do math quicker than a lollipop, he chose the real food.
Keeping these things prepped and ready will make your life SO much easier! Check out the recipes below for a head start. Enjoy them yourself! No better way to convince your kids to love healthy food than to lead my example. It’s easy with these – they are delicious!
Gluten-Free Vegan Quinoa Muffins
Quick and Easy Protein Balls
Roasted Beet and Carrot Hummus
Chocolate Oatmeal Snack Bars
Jes Royston is a Nationally Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. She takes her clients on their own personal journey to wellness. In 2010, she attended school at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition in NYC where she learned a wide array of dietary theories along with their benefits for specific clients. She focuses on digestive wellness, improved diet, detoxification, hormone balance, stress management, mental wellness, healthy weight loss, energy improvement, food cravings, sleep and more. She holds various certifications in Gut Health, Ayurvedic Medicine, Cancer Nutrition, Environmental Medicine and The Science of Well-Being. She considers herself a forever student because the more she can learn, the more she can help her followers. In 2017, she started a nutrition blog along with a Facebook support group called Green Mama Tribe to help weed through the misinformation, helping other moms to make clear, holistic choices for themselves and their families. Jes has transformed this into a full online coaching membership where she continues to support clients from all over the world. She also is part of a functional medicine practice, Advanced Natural Medicine of Jupiter, where she sees clients one-on-one for holistic health coaching.
Nutrition Blog: greenmamatribe.com
FB/LINKEDIN: On the blog today is Jes Royston with some her favorite nutrition tips for kids – including recipes!