I love helping parents find creative ways to get their kids eating healthy. The easiest way is to start from their very first bite! When it is time for solids to be introduced into a little ones diet, there is no need for fancy or expensive baby foods, but rather providing them with foods such as avocados, sweet potatoes, steamed vegetables, and bananas is the most nutritious and simplest way to form their palate to crave these foods. Actually, research shows that our palates begin forming in the womb. What a momma eats tends to be what the little one later enjoys as well!
Providing our children with foods that will nourish their bodies, specifically whole plant foods, gives them vibrancy, health, and strength now and aids in preventing long-term diseases and disorders as they age. Many of my clients explain to me that “something happened” when they turned 35 for 40 and their health really began to suffer. In reality we all know that these things don’t occur overnight, but it’s the accumulation of our choices over months and years. Future heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and auto-immune disorders (just to name a few) can be prevented in our little ones as we start them young on foods that will nourish their bodies for long-term health.
But no need to be discouraged if your kids are a bit older and you’re just now introducing nourishing foods into their diet. There is still time! Let these five fun snack ideas guide the way!
- Veggie Faces – Arrange vegetables and fruit like a funny face and serve with hummus or guacamole. I created the above platter for an event focused on helping kids eat healthy and they loved it! Even the “picky” eaters were giggling and ready to try something new!
- PB&J Art – Use one piece of toast and allow your kids to create their own masterpiece! Consider using other nut butters to allow them to explore new tastes and diversify the nutrients they’re receiving. Almond and cashew butter are delicious and sunflower seed butter is a great alterative for nut allergies.
- Ants on a Log Revised– Allow celery or carrots to serve as your log but mix up the toppings with hummus, guacamole, and nut butters. The “ants” could be your typical raisins or try something new like nuts, seeds, diced dates, or halved cherry tomatoes with the hummus or guacamole.
- I love Ezekiel brand bread because its sprouted and loaded with nutrients. You could also use a rice cake.
- You can make your own nut butters to save on cost. Simply add the nut of your choice to a food processor and blend until smooth & creamy! (This can take 10+ minutes and you’ll need to stop the food processor occasionally to scrape down the sides.)
- Fresh Fruitsicles – Place cut up fruit to a popsicle mold, add coconut water, and freeze for a fun, refreshing, no-junk-added treat!
- Tasty Prep-Ahead Bites – Make a double, triple, or quadruple batch of Protein Power Bites or Lemon-Kissed Blondie Bites and store them in the fridge or freezer for quick and easy snacks your kids (and you!) will love!
With our little girl’s due date just 7 weeks away (feels like it will be an eternity and the blink of an eye at the same time!) I’m doing some serious planning ahead. I’ve never been the master of transitions and with this being our first child I know its going to be a big one. While I can’t prepare for everything, there are simple things I can have planned to make the transition a bit easier, including nourishing meals stocked in the freezer and a list of recipes that are manageable once we get the hang of things.
I’ve been compiling this list for months. Every time we have a meal that requires only a few ingredients and can be made quickly I add it to my spreadsheet. I plan to create a few weeks worth of meal plans using these recipes and corresponding grocery lists so that after family has left and we settle into our new life its one less thing I need to think about for a few weeks.
However, you don’t need to be having a baby to benefit. You may have children buzzing around you and need inspiration for healthy meals that take no time or maybe your work schedule has you walking in the door too exhausted to give much thought to cooking. These quick and easy meals are for you! Even the freezer meal ideas. I have enjoyed having meals ready in the freezer long before pregnancy since we all have those crazy busy weeks.
Quick & Easy Meals
- Mexican Quinoa Salad with Orange Lime Dressing
- BBQ Cauliflower Salad with Zesty Ranch Dressing
- Spicy Red Lentil Curry
- Eggplant, Tomato, and Chickpea Curry
- Spicy Taco Quinoa Bowl
- Black Bean & Quinoa Taco Wraps
- Taco Chili with Nacho Cheeze Sauce
- Enlightened Miso Power Bowl from Oh She Glows, page 177
- Energizing Broccoli Dal from the Oh She Glows app
- Creamy Broccoli & Red Pepper Macaroni from Yum Universe, page 236
- Southwestern Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – Sometimes I make this recipe, but most of the time I put the sweet potatoes in the crockpot (no need to poke with a fork or add water, just toss them in!) and we add whatever toppings are on hand – black beans, diced tomato, salsa, green onions, avocado or guacamole.
- Engine2 Pizza Crust topped with all our favorite veggies (spinach, mushrooms, olives, broccoli, diced cherry tomatoes). I’m currently on the hunt for a gluten-free crust without all the junk that can either be purchased or made ahead and frozen, so I’d love to know if anyone has recommendations!
Stock Your Freezer
- Toasted Super Seed Bread – Bake, allow to cool completely, slice, and store in small resealable bags. I love having this as a side to any dish or toasting and topping with smashed avocado, tomato slices, and a touch of salt and pepper.
- Maple Pecan Granola from Everyday Detox, page 54.
- Cinnamon Raisin Snack Bars from Everyday Detox, page 67.
- Chocolate Banana Power Bars were a freezer staple for my sister when her children were born. She made them without the chocolate frosting and I plan to whip these up using coconut butter in place of coconut oil.
- Peanut Butter Cacao Energy Balls
Do you have meals that were a lifesaver during exceptionally busy seasons? I’d love to hear from you!
When warm weather arrives I start making Overnight Oat Parfaits like a mad woman. I have a new creation nearly every morning, except when I’m enjoying some Easy Vegan and Gluten-free Pancakes on the weekend with my hubby.
Dips & Main Dishes
I’m convinced the only thing that could make a salad undesirable to me is pregnancy. In the first trimester it was the nausea, now in the third trimester it’s simply “huh, a salad? Yea, no thanks”. But fortunately veggies and dip are my big cravings now and there are so many fun dips to create in just minutes! I love that my favorite dip recipes incorporate spices, which have so many, often overlooked, health benefits! My favorites this month have been Dreena Burton’s Spiced Sweet Potato Hummus, Angela Liddon’s Edamame Hummus, and Wendy’s Walnut Lentil Pâté.
Rainbow Tacos with Tangy Mango Dressing from Sophia were the perfect quick and delicious recipe after a busy day. They came together in just minutes and were a satisfying twist on your typical taco. I was actually in such a hurry that I didn’t have time to cook the lentils and used just the black beans and they were delicious!
Dana’s Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers may take 45 minutes to bake but are easy to prep and the cooking time allows you to clean up all the dishes with plenty of time to spare! I definitely recommend making the Creamy Cilantro Dressing, which really took the flavor over the top!
Okay, I know I said I wasn’t into salad’s much any more, but that must have started mid-month, because early in the month I enjoyed diving into Angela Liddon’s The Big Salad. Roasted sweet potato rounds and tangy almond butter dressing make any salad delectable.
The warm weather has left me desirous of a fresh drink to cool me off with just a little energy boost. Iced Vanilla Bean Matcha Latte from Angela Liddon has been the perfect solution!
Early in the month we enjoyed strawberries dipped in Chocomole while preparing our baby’s room. Actually, I should say that I enjoyed most of it while I helped oversee the crib assembly and hanging of pictures. 😉 Hey, every successful project needs an overseer.
Have you cooked or created a great recipe recently that you’d like me to share? I love trying new recipes, so please send your favorite plant-powered to Stacy@thenourishinghealth.com for a chance to be featured in the months to come!
Is dairy the best way to obtain calcium? Many people believe so, however, obtaining calcium is more than simply how many milligrams we consume daily. How much you consume isn’t necessarily the issue, rather how much you absorb. Many factors influence calcium absorption, including age, the amount of calcium you require, amount consumed, and other compounds that accompany it when consumed.
Dairy does contain high amounts of calcium, however it also contains high amounts of animal protein, which is acidic within your body causing an increased amount of calcium to be excreted in the urine. This is an excellent video explaining how the pH of our bodies is affected by various factors, including calcium absorption.
Dietary factors that induce calcium loss in the urine include:
- Animal protein
- Refined sugar
- Aluminum-containing antacids
- Drugs such as antibiotics, steroids, and thyroid hormones
- Vitamin A supplements
There are plant foods that are really rich in calcium. A few include…
- Dark leafy greens, such as bok choy, turnip greens, collard greens, kale, romaine lettuce
- Tofu and tempeh
- Sesame seeds and tahini
- Dried figs
Other important factors for bone health are:
- Strength training – Generally muscle health mirrors bone health.
- Adequate Vitamin D levels, which are best obtained from the sun.
Your jaw may have dropped at the thought of removing or significantly reducing dairy from your diet. I promise you don’t have to leave all of your favorites behind! Explore a few of our “cheesy” favorites to not only omit dairy but to move toward ingredients that nourish as well!
- Cashew Cheese – We love pulsing in fresh basil and spreading it on crackers.
- Vegan Mexican Cheese – It is so easy to make the spreadable version of this recipe and store it in the fridge. Any time you want warm queso, simply add some not water and whisk it up!