From vegan this, to sushi that, my kids definitely know what they like – and don’t like.
While the girls are mostly vegetarian and dairy-free, the boys are another story. While one carried a deep love for Lucky Charms, the other has a knack for ordering the most expensive sushi when given the chance (!).
But finicky palettes aside, I’ve been able to develop some simple solutions to get my kids to stay on a healthy track. Something I’m quite proud of, especially when I hear from other parents about their struggles to get their kids to eat real food that’s nutritious and tastes good too.
Now I’m not saying my kids stay away from chips or chocolate, far from it!
But over time, I’ve really come to value the power of educating them about food and nutrition using books and documentaries. When they’re educated, they’re more empowered to make healthier choices on their own. I’ve also learned with practice and patience, you can meet even the pickiest eater half-way.
So what if they don’t love kale? Try topping it with a dreamy, vegan Caesar dressing, and see what happens next.
Here’s more of what I mean:
Starting with my eldest, Devlin. He’s my my race-car driving son who watches every morsel he eats. Like a racehorse – he’s clean and lean 80% of the time. He loves sushi most, and clearly I’m no Nobu-chef!
My fix: I’ll broil a salmon steak with olive oil, salt and pepper. For sides, I’ll grill some rapini and serve with mashed potatoes. As much as he loves this meal, he always has room for more. And by ‘more’, I mean multiple scoops of ice cream. Oh, to be young and metabolism-blessed.
And then there’s Lachlan. My Lucky-Charms eating son – who, when I switched our household dairy milk to almond years before, would eat his cereal dry, refusing. Thankfully, this is no longer the case.
My fix: I had him watch this documentary about sugar which had a dramatic impact almost immediately. He’s also working with a trainer to put on some healthy muscle, so he’s done a 180 on nearly everything: Sugar and high processed foods are out. Vegan protein smoothies made with non-dairy yogurt, are in.
Here’s the cashew based yogurt I put in his smoothie. He didn’t know it at the time – but now loves it!
Ava, my 12-year old yogi, is the best eater of the bunch. She doesn’t rush her meals, and she’s mindful about what she eats. (I swear it’s the yoga!) Mostly vegetarian and dairy-free, like me, she loves fish. I suppose one hurdle has been our morning smoothie recipe. It’s either too watery, not fruity enough or just ‘meh’.
My fix: On a recent Saturday, we took some time to experiment with smoothie ingredients. We tried a bunch of options before choosing the winner: Coconut milk, blended with ice, vegan nourishing protein and banana. It’s now our morning staple, amen to that!
Last, my dear Summer. This nine-year old will eat just about anything. Including healthy nut butters, baked fish sticks – you name it. Recently I had her try a rice cake with coconut oil, almond butter and cinnamon. She loved! But like most kids her age, she’s also likes her sweets such as ice cream and cookies.
My fix: Along with keeping vegan ice cream in my freezer, I’m a stickler for keeping homemade treats in my kitchen, refusing the store-bought variety. From almond flour muffins to vegan chocolate chip cookies, Summer enjoys them all, without over-indulging. Now if only the rest of us could do the same!