Health should be one of the top priorities for parents and children. It doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive, shouldn’t take a lot of time, and it doesn’t have to mess up the entire kitchen! Children depend on their parents to be healthy in order to take care of them. And parents want their children to stay healthy for proper development and to keep medical costs way down! Here are some ideas that parents can do on a daily basis to keep the family healthy and make things a little bit more sane for everyone!
Start the day with smoothies for everyone. This is a great opportunity to incorporate many veggies that the kids wouldn’t normally eat if cooked or sitting raw in front of them. Blending lots of fruits with vegetables will mask any unpleasant flavors that your kids might protest against, such as leafy greens like kale and spinach. Smoothies also provide a way to put a well balanced breakfast together in minutes and in one big container, without messing up the kitchen. This way, breakfast is done in a snap and the day can move on.
Extra protein can be added by putting soy milk, silken tofu, nuts, nut butters, yogurt, etc. in the smoothies. Add as many dates it takes to sweeten the smoothies to everyone’s liking. This is also a great time to add fresh ginger to the family’s diet. Ginger is quite the miracle herb. It regulates blood sugar, decreases inflammation in the body, among many other benefits! Children especially need a little ginger in their diets to ward off sickness and boost the immune system. It is important to use as many of these ingredients as organic as possible.
Firing up the stove and cooking heavy foods such as meat and eggs first thing in the morning can tend to slow the body down, especially sugar. Breakfast should be energizing, light and filling. If preferred, one can supplement the breakfast smoothies with light homemade muffins, sweetened with agave or another whole food sweetener of course, or a quick bowl of oatmeal. Just remember to keep breakfast light, balanced, and easy! Take this opportunity to add flax oil, vitamin c powder, and echinacea.
To keep energy all day, avoid eating heavy carbs and starches such as rice, pasta, and bread during the day hours. Eat these things for your evening meal. Eating fruits, vegetables and nuts all day keeps away the mid afternoon sleepy spell.
For a mid morning snack, consider something simple like an apple, banana, or carrot sticks. These foods come in their own biodegradable packaging and don’t require much refrigeration.
For lunch, consider keeping lunch prep along the same lines as breakfast by making soups in a blender then pour into a pan to heat it up. If one has a good and powerful blender, such as a Vitamix, one can throw their vegetables in there and keep it going till it gets hot. Add a hearty salad on the side. Salads don’t have to be complicated and full of ingredients either. Top it off with a healthy homemade salad dressing. The basics of a good homemade dressing includes olive oil, apple cider vinegar or lemon juice, and sea salt. Add some italian herbs and perhaps some agave for a dressing on the sweeter side. Everyone should have at least one salad a day. It is better to make it a goal to have it with lunch and dinner everyday.
For a mid afternoon snack, have another piece of fruit or veggies and nuts.
For dinner time, still keep things simple. But this is the time to explore some creative recipes. Get the kids involved.
Also, consider having kitchen hours. For example, keep the kitchen open for about an hour for breakfast and lunch, about and hour and a half for dinner, and around 15-20 minutes for both snack times during the day. This keeps parents purposeful about healthy eating without spending all day in the kitchen!