|The waffles that foiled my healthy breakfast plans
I have a confession. My breakfast efforts have not gone entirely as planned this week. I’m eating the home made granola but the kids are gorging on Belgian waffles. Yes, they’re home made but still, they can’t be so great for them. Oh, well. I’m going to let this one go for now.
I’ve had a lot of people ask me about how to get started re-vamping their diets for themselves and their kids. I wrote a piece for Jersey Moms Blog about how we simply started by paying attention to ingredients. What came of that is an overall house awareness of what we’re putting into our bodies.
This morning actually, the kids and I discussed why Gorilla Munch was better than Special K. There are only four ingredients in Gorilla Munch and we can name them all. Right now, that’s enough for us. Here are five things we do that are both budget and time friendly. Try a few and see if they work for you.
1. Make cookies for dessert. I have a chocolate chip recipe that takes minutes and makes bite-size cookies perfect for little people. I prep a batch every Sunday and we keep them all week for dessert after a healthy dinner. (A key to getting kids to eat their veggies!) The kids love them. I have the peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s in them and they never last long enough to make the lack of chemical preservative a problem.
|Before and after cookies. Yum!
2. Apple Gate Farms Lunch Meat: Even when we were dead broke, we almost always splurged on lunch meat from the deli counter because the packaged stuff didn’t go over well with the kids so it was a waste of money anyway. The Husband and The Middle One love turkey for lunch. Applegate Farms is a prepackaged so it’s cheaper than deli counter and it is nitrate and hormone free but still has that “deli” taste so The Husband doesn’t complain and the kids love it too. I love the story of Applegate’s beginnings too. It’s right up my alley as far as the founder’s way of thinking.
|Store Brand Organic-my wallet likey.
3. Use Natural Peanut Butter: The Bookends (Girl and Baby) eat PB&J every single day for lunch. Often we have peanut butter on apples. We have always used natural and lately we’ve moved to organic natural. It’s more expensive but they eat so much I figured it’s worth the money to ensure no pesticides. Be aware though that just because it says natural doesn’t mean it is. Check the back label. It should only read Peanuts, maybe oil and maybe salt. NO SUGAR and NO PRESERVATIVES. We love the new Stop & Shop (Giant) brand because the oil is more manageable.** We’ve also used Smuckers which is the only common brand name that is truly natural. Don’t be fooled by the others that claim they are natural.
|Homemade granola…for only me.
4. Pack a lunch: I know, I know you’re “too busy”. Trust me, I get it. This is the worst part of my day and I wish I didn’t have to spend time doing it. However, the alternative options at school are, quite frankly, not an option. Until we as a country get our acts together at school lunch time, my kids will brown bag it. It takes fifteen minutes and I usually make them when we’re in the kitchen doing homework or after dinner when everyone’s sleeping. They’ll be helping me soon.
Here’s what they get: a frozen yogurt tube, grapes or strawberries (easy fruit), organic sugar free apple sauce or cheese stick or a homemade granola bar*. Then a sandwich and a (reusable) bottle of water. They never complain and they almost never ask for money to buy other stuff. Maybe they’re swapping for fish sticks and taco chips but hey, at least someone’s kid is eating healthy!
|Only the apple is organic. See? It’s not so expensive.
5. Don’t buy it and you won’t eat it. We have Goldfish, and occasionally Pop Chips and Pirate’s Booty in our house. That is all. I have found if I offer kids yogurt or fruit or granola that is what they’ll eat. We call the other things “dessert” and they get them after healthy dinners (or from dad on weekends). I’m not totally denying my kids fun junk food. I love fun food. I just figure the less that it’s in their face (and mine), the less they’ll (and I’ll) want it. And why can’t fruit and yogurt be fun?
I hope these are helpful. I can’t stress enough how these things are possible for any person on any budget. There are brands available for each of these items at all price points. Just read the labels and make sure you recognize what you see. You are what you eat and no one wants to be a propyl glutamate?
*stay tuned for recipes
** a tip from my MIL who was natural before natural was cool. Store the peanut butter jar upside down so when you’re ready to use it the oil is more mixed in and not all collected at the top. After the first use, it’s no problem because you refrigerate and the oil is less gooey.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.