I was asked what I am giving my kids to boost their natural defence/immune system along with a diet of whole foods (obviously). I have chosen this particular supplement because it has not only Elderberry (a powerful antioxidant that supports immune function) it also contains Vitamin C and Zinc. It’s simple, powerful and also tastes good so it’s easy to get the kids to take it. A supplement is only great if your kids WANT to take it, we fight enough battles as parents 🙂
#kidsateittoo is one of my favourite hashtags…full disclosure I am still figuring out the full power of the hashtag but I know that people read them and they connect people with similar interests and ideas.
I post a lot of whole food plant based recipes and family dinners on my Facebook and Instagram (@plantbsedjenny) …food my whole family eats, KIDS TOO.
My kids are growing so fast, their brains are amazing little sponges building new connections every day and their nutrition is so important. Kids are also sassy and bossy and so manipulative that there are days when you are like, “oh you’re tired and you lost your toy at school and you didn’t get picked first during gym…FINE just eat the plain noodles with ketchup!” You know you’ve been played but you also know that eating a whole food plant based diet means that all we eat is plants. So we play the 80/20 game around here, 80% of what they eat is great for them and the healthy habits and healthy relationship with food they are forming will carry them through to create their own 80% household someday 🙂
I’m not here to give parenting advice, I’m figuring it out on the daily, but it seems around my house, that my kids will eat what I make available to them. They have preferences, of course, but I have seen those preferences grow and change (sometimes weekly). Kids are so smart that a little bit of simple information about why we eat the food we eat gives them the power to make great choices.
Well the first week is done and no matter what your kids ate this week you made it through! GOOD JOB! …but we don’t want to just make it through all year.
Last year I didn’t plan very well and found that each morning my first thoughts were, “crap what do I have in the kitchen to put in the lunches?” …secondary thought was, “will my kids eat it?” …third, “is it healthy?”
You might be thinking, oh c’mon Jenny of course it’s healthy you post lots of healthy foods… but my kids are still kids and my girl is trying to survive on chocolate I’m pretty sure and my son can’t believe that chips aren’t a food group! lol They have their preferences and unlike me, they like variety. (I literally eat the same thing for breakfast every day and I LOVE it! …sometimes on the weekends I’ll feel the pressure to eat the same breakfast as my family… but this post isn’t about my crazy habits)
So this year I have vowed to procrastinate less, involve the kids more and be prepared for the inevitability of the MON-FRI lunches.
I have a PDF here for you to check out… school lunches (1) This gives you a visual and some suggestions on how to pack your kids a healthy lunch. This can also be made into an activity for the kids to participate in. (pictures below)
As you can see on the PDF I have included some non-vegan items. I really wanted to help as many families as possible make lunches WHOLE FOOD BASED… in an ideal world we would all be feeding and eating WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED but just eating whole food would be a great start!
This is what our first 3 school lunches looked like. The potato salad we had for dinner the night before and I just planned to make extra to have enough for their lunch. Hubby took it too cause lunch isn’t just for kids 😉 The other lunches I made the morning of… We have our whole grains (granola, whole grain bread), fruit (blueberries, oranges, bananas), vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes), healthy fats (coconut whip, seeds, avocado) and protein – people there is protein in almost everything! (hummus, carrots, chis seeds, coconut, banana, etc)
The paper chart featured here isn’t part of this week’s lunch prep.. it’s actually the beginning of next week. I let both kids make 2 charts like this. This gives me 4 lunch ideas. Some items will be repeated because, for example both kids like oranges, but that’s great! It gives me a foundation and a grocery list to make our lunches from. Just having these ingredients in mind will create opportunities for you to keep lunches creative and easy. Sooooo many things can be wrapped or sandwiched in whole wheat or flax wraps and healthy seeded breads. Just because your kid get a wrap every day next week, doesn’t mean they aren’t getting variety. Pasta salad is such a great go-to lunch because you eat it cold, so no “heating up” worries and both fruits and veggies can be chopped and added in. Seeds are a great way to get those healthy fats in without breaking the “no nuts” policy and once again, there is seriously protein everywhere so it’s not even something that needs to be on your radar.
These meals are of course plant-based, because that is how our family eats. REAL TALK if you do eat meat or cheese or eggs, check out my post on Hot dogs, lunch meats and cancer… so you can make an informed healthy choice for your little one. Also, you can just make them some chicken or fish or scrambled eggs for supper. Once a day for animals fats is ENOUGH 🙂
Healthy habits are life long.
What if we raised our kids in such a way that they didn’t have to battle cravings?
What if they didn’t have to become adults that needed to make drastic changes to reverse heart disease or diabetes?
What if we could lower our kids risk of getting cancer?
What if they could grow up having a healthy relationship with food and the nourishment that it can give our bodies?
As parents we have the chance to not only stop our own struggles with lifestyle diseases (such as heart disease, stroke, allergies and type 2 diabetes) within our generation but the chance to stop passing them along. We can lead by example and show our kids how to live long healthy lives with the choices we make and encourage them to make.
Food should be enjoyed! Food can be rewarding (after all it is what sustains our life) but food doesn’t need to be full of sugar, salt, cholesterol and preservatives in order to check those boxes. Your kid’s perception of delicious can be guided in the direction of healthy choices such as fruit smoothies (without the milk and yogurt), frozen fruit popsicles instead of the ones made with high fructose corn syrup and artificially coloured dyes or cookies sweetened with chopped dates or maple syrup .
We don’t need to focus on what we should/are taking away from the kids, rather the focus needs to be on what we can add to these kids lives to give them the best possible future and tools to make the best possible decisions as adults.