Now that I'm a mommy and wifey, I don't just have to think of my own nutrition and health. I have to consider my children and husbands well-being as well.
My son, Kai, is a little over 2 years old. His first solid food was butternut squash pureed, followed by a puree of green vegetables. He didn't have any sugar until a few months ago when he went to a birthday party, and to be honest, he didn't even care for it much. I was terrified once he had the processed kind of sugar he'd never want to go back to his clean ways of eating. Au Contraire.
His palate is so sophisticated now. He can eat anything no matter where we go. He loves spicy foods- he's happy and at home in any Indian restaurant and equally safe at sushi or any other ethnic cuisine. We've traveled to Paris, Costa Rica, Tel Aviv & South America and he's happy no matter where we go and what we feed him. This takes a little more effort on my part, to pave the way to healthy foods being part of his normal routine.
Phases and Bumps along the way
Sometimes he's not in the mood for a certain type of food. He'll push things he's loved for months away or throw it on the floor for our dog to eat. My trick is to lay out ONLY fruits and vegetables to start with-- a huge variety-- some cooked, some raw. Some warm, some cold. All different colors and flavors to entice his little appetite. He LOVES organic frozen veggies, which makes it super easy for me. He especially likes peas & lima beans, eating them one by one. I don't usually add any butter or salt to the veggies because he eats them without. So what's the point? He takes "butter" (Smart Balance) on his gluten-free waffles in the morning as a treat and loves it, but doesn't expect it yet. He's never touched syrup and there's really no reason to introduce it.
The best time to give him the foods he's not in the mood for is when he's super hungry after playing outside. Sometimes I just need to give him a "gateway" food to get him started. When he was super little just a few little Organic Puffs would do the trick. Now I'll give him half a piece of an organic cookie or the green flavored Pirate's Booty (our version of junk food) and after a few of these snack items he moves right into veggie land. Works pretty much every time.
Other days he just doesn't feel like sitting in his high chair and eating. On those days I let him run around and snack as he pleases. He'll graze on the veggies and fruit I put on a plate on the coffee table and run around and grab what he wants when he chooses to. Many parents are really militant about kids sitting in their chairs and eating, and I understand their feelings. I get that sentiment, that it's more "proper" to eat meals sitting in their high chair. With my lifestyle (always on the go) and my manner (I'm not a very "proper" person myself) I allow him to guide the way, as the most important thing to me is Kai getting the nutrients he needs to GROW "properly", while being a formal "correct" child falls a bit lower on the priority list. Every child is different. Some kids really need that type of structure to stay well behaved. Kai is (luckily) really flexible and adaptable with my crazy on the go lifestyle.
Green Dream and Philosophie superfood blends save the day
When all else fails, I can make a Green Dream smoothie and at least feel good about Kai getting all the nutrients and greens he needs for the day. In one smoothie I can be sure he's getting good fats, vegan sources of protein, no weird fillers and nothing processed. This makes things a lot easier and makes me feel secure in what he eats for the rest of the day. Lately one of the only ways I can consistently get green veggies into his body is through smoothies. And that's fine with me! Sometimes in the morning I'll add Cacao Magic powder to his oatmeal or even a dash of Green Dream. Other times I'll sneak it into an "ice cream" where I blend frozen bananas, spinach and green dream or cacao blend. These tricks ensure the love of my life is getting everything he needs nutritionally. Not to mention the hubby benefits from these tricks as well! If you're interested in buying Green Dream, Cacao Magic or Berry Bliss blends, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org and mention this post for a mommy discount!
I'm not sure where the "green" phobia in kids begin, but I can't help but think it's from parents trying to drive the foods down their kids throats. Kai loves Green foods and actually gravitates towards these foods vs running away from them. I think this practice starts early, but that you can retrain your kids brains by sneaking greens into a smoothie or into an ice cream... so they don't feel they are missing anything. I mean let's revisit Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Suess! In the end, he lovessss the Green Eggs... it just took TRYING them!
In Gratitude and Elmo obsessions,
PS. SPEAKING of Green Eggs... an easy way to make your own Green Eggs is to blend the eggs and fresh spinach in the blender until smooth. Then cook as you normally would! Kai loves them, your kids will too!