Being a first time mom, I opted for organic items when my son began eating “real food.” As I tried to figure out parenthood, spending a tad more money on organic foods gave me reassurance that he was ingesting quality items. But as he grew into his personality and demanded “more desserts,” it has become easier to veer away from wholesome selections and find pre-packaged items.
Being a busy mom and often too tired to fight, I looked for alternatives that made him smile. Oreos, Cheez-its, and Lunchables not only were convenient, but also instantly made him grin from eat to ear. So, while I knew it was wrong, before a tantrum or even a busy week I often stocked up on these items. As I have re-evaluated my eating to detox the cancer from my body, small steps have been taken to clean up my 6-year old’s diet, as well.
So many people ask – what is the “best” way to do it? My answer is that there isn’t just one way to urge your kid to eat clean. The way that works for me is when I take small steps. As a student of life and someone who has always been interested in the health community, below is my blueprint to building better eating habits for my son.
My Top Five Changes for Healthy Kids: Clean Eating
1. Increase whole foods (limit packaged food) and make them organic. Check out the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to necessary items to buy organic.
2. Understand GMOs – Genetically modified organisms
- If you choose organic whole foods, you will not have to read labels. However, if you do buy packaged snacks, read labels and understand the ingredients. Most ingredients that are too hard to pronounce likely bring little nutrient value. I know that my 5’2” body feels better eating clean. So, I imagine my son’s little bod could go wild with all the chemicals in fast-food and packaged choices.
My favorites non-GMO packaged foods:
- Bread: Ezekial bread, Brown Rice Bread or Spelt Bread
- Pizza: Amy’s Organic Pizzas or make your own
- Veggie Burger: Dr. Praegers Spinach Pancakes or Hilary’s Eat Well Bean Burgers
My favorite non-GMO brands:
- Annie’s Organic Snacks
- Enjoy Life Foods
- Garden of Eatin’
- Materne GoGo Squeez
3. Limit Dairy and Meat (but when selecting these, always choose organic)
- I buy oat milk and sneak it into my son’s cereal as an alternative to cow milk.
- I add beans pureed to creamy dishes (garbanzo and cannellini beans) are easy to throw into soups, pastas to add non-animal protein.
- I interchange organic skim milk yogurt with coconut yogurt. Though I often use Stonyfield Farms organic yogurts, too.
4. Sneak in fruits and vegetables wherever possible. Kids may not like it at first, but it grows on them.
- My friend buys Danimals smoothies, spills them out, and then adds her own homemade smoothie full of berries and light green veggies (romaine.) We also create our own smoothies and love our favorite green one.
- I dehydrate vegetables and smash them into powder – add them to pastas and sauces.
- I bake muffins, cakes or breads on Sundays – add apple, carrot, squash or cauliflower puree.
5. Create a routine during the week, so that I make time to prepare adequately and set expectations about our meals. Let weekends be splurges.
- Have kids help grocery shop and/or meal plan to excite them about the food choices in the house.
- Have GMO-free treats available, so that the splurges aren’t toxic.
What are your favorite healthy and easy snacks for kids?