C H I L D R E N A R E P R E C I O U S G I F T S from the Lord! As parents, we quickly realize the huge responsibility bestowed on us. One of the most important gifts we can offer our children, besides the love of Jesus, is to teach and model good health practices. Providing a safe, stable environment for our children also includes serving them the best foods possible to nourish the growth of their bodies and minds.
As my three daughters were growing up, they feasted on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables while receiving their daily doses of sunshine and exercise. They learned from a young age how important it is to choose good, wholesome foods for their bodies. Balanced meals served with lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables will help to balance blood sugar, sustain energy levels, control moods, and boost concentration.
So many of the foods marketed to our children are highly processed with chemical additives, crammed with calories, and devoid of nutrients. So, what can parents do to counter these unhealthy choices?
- Since we learn by example, make sure your children see you enjoying fresh whole foods, including fruits and vegetables, on a regular basis.
- Involve your children in meal choice and preparation. This increases their familiarity with healthy food choices and good hygiene practices. It also means they are more likely to finish what's on their plate.
- Involve younger children in grocery shopping by finding and selecting fruits and vegetables to match all the colors of the rainbow. This way you'll increase the variety of the foods they eat and maximize their intake of antioxidant nutrients which help support their immune system.
Remember, manmade processed foods are sold and made for profit. Real, whole foods from nature’s pantry are made by our Creator and Master Gardener to nourish our health.
TIME TO SHOP!
When making your grocery list, consider the following:
- Foods and drinks containing refined, added sugars.
- Refined foods (white bread, white flour, white rice, processed breakfast cereals)
- Artificial additives and preservatives (deli meats)
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains (oats, brown rice, wholewheat pasta)
- Lean sources of protein (fish, poultry, or vegetable sources such as legumes and pulses)
SALTY & CHEESY
- Jackson’s Honest Tortilla Chips, made with coconut oil
- Healthy trail mix with nuts and seeds, or a roasted snack mix
- Eden Organic Popcorn
- Annie’s Organic Cheddar Squares
- Field Day Organics Golden Round Crackers
- Flavored Water
- Diluted fruit juice
- Fruit smoothies (blend of fresh fruit and natural yogurt, diluted with water, or plant milk)
- Water kefir is a great replacement for sodas
FRUIT & DESSERTS
- Make fresh fruit kabobs with strawberries and cubes of fresh fruit (dip in a little Lily’s melted chocolate)
- Freeze cubed fruit kabobs if desired
- Make fresh fruit Popsicles
Protein Power Balls
2 Tablespoons raw cocoa powder
1 heaped scoop of vanilla plant-based* protein powder
1 cup gluten free old fashioned oats (not quick oats)
1/4 cup raw honey or maple syrup 1/4 cup raw walnuts or pecans, finely chopped
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter or almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon chia seeds or ground flax seeds
2/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
3 Tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil melted
* Leré uses Aim’s ProPeas protein powder
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until well blended.
- Roll into walnut sized balls.
- Roll balls in finely shredded coconut.
- Store in a sealed container in the fridge until ready to eat.
FRUIT SALAD ICE LOLLIES WITH WATER KEFIR
Water kefir or water kefir sodas are a great way to add probiotics into your child’s diet.
Ice cold popsicles on a hot summer’s day are always a winner whether you are a child or an adult. Each popsicle can be customized to your child’s taste.
- Slice your child’s favorite fruit or fruits into pieces and layer in a popsicle mold
- Push the fruit outwards to the molds edge so they are visible
- Pour your favorite homemade or low sugar store bought water kefir, kefir soda, or freshly extracted juice into the popsicle mold
- Close and place in the freezer until set
SUGGESTIONS FOR FRUIT COMBINATIONS
- Strawberry, mango, pineapple, kiwi
- Peach and strawberry
- Strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
- Blackberries, mango and a squeeze of fresh lemon
- Watermelon, a squeeze of fresh lime and mint
- Strawberry and pineapple