NSNG, G-Free, Paleo, Atkins, Whole Food. If you are anything like me and absolutely neurotic about healthy eating for your CoolKids, then you are well versed in the trendy diets swirling around. How do we make sense of the options and how do we know which is best? For our family, we decided to start with whole food. Nothing processed, nothing with added sugars or grains. Only simple, natural, organic foods that were as close to nature as possible.
Let me preface this with stating we have no allergies in our family, we have no sensitivities either. I have just been on an evolving mission to pack my kids full of fruits and vegetables, grass fed meats and dairy, and as little processed food as possible. What I didn’t pay attention to was the copious amounts of crackers, granola bars, chocolate milk, cookies, muffins, etc. they were eating on an all too regular basis.
It came to a head two months ago, when I was giving my little guy his 2nd glass of chocolate milk of the day. He then proceeded to help himself to handfuls of goldfish, a granola bar, and a banana. Then the dreaded “Im still hungry” reared its head. This was snack time, in between meals. I began reevaluating what was going into my kids bodies and the results those choices produced.
We quit cold turkey. No sugar, no grains. Nothing processed, no quick snacks. I quickly realized this might be a tad bit harder than I anticipated, but I was not going to throw in the towel that easily! My kids gnashed and thrashed and begged for snacks. The first two weeks were rough and would have been easy to give up. We persevered and are now seeing appetites satiated at meals with minimal snacking. The main problem now? Our egg carton seems to be swallowing eggs, because they have become a main staple in our kids diet.
This is not for everyone, but our family seriously needed to look at what we were putting into our bodies, and the results that were coming out. We needed an overhaul and mama went a little extreme.
Breakfasts have been easy; eggs, sausage, fruit, smoothies (peanut butter + banana, green monster – both from previous posts), plain yogurt sweetened with berries and stevia, I even found two pancake recipes that use cream cheese and bananas as the main ingredients. I will post those recipes later, since they have been such a nice break from eggs on those days when we just want something different.
Lunches: our go to lunch is a sandwich “wrap” using low carb whole grain tortillas. I fill them with everything from leftover meat to salami and cheese, chicken caesar salad, etc. For extras I have been pretty good about pre-cutting all of our produce for easy packing on those busy mornings. Crudite with hummus or ranch, apples with peanut butter, yogurt with berries, string cheese, pork rinds instead of chips (don’t judge!), roasted salted nuts, and I even found a recipe for peanut butter banana muffins that doesn’t use sugar or grains.
Dinner: Dinners at our house have always primarily consisted of meat and vegetables, since my hubby pretty much is always on a low carb diet. Roasted brussel sprouts with bacon, salad a million ways, pot roasts, baked chicken, steaks, even potatoes on occasion (not low carb, but they are NSNG). One new finding has been Spaghetti Squash in place of noodles. I was definitely a skeptic, but am now on board. I have made it with traditional marinara and meatballs, and also in a parmesan cream sauce a la Pasta Carbonara. Both times it was devoured by everyone.
Desserts: Fruit with whipped cream, low carb ice cream bars from grocery store, a few squares of dark chocolate.
Overall, this switch has been very healthy for our family. After a couple months of strictly following the NSNG diet, we have loosened up a little bit. Our kids participated in National Pancake Day at IHOP, have eaten birthday cake, enjoy treats at school and have been surprised with the occasional pizza night at home.
We are by no means perfect, but we are so much better off. We are more conscience about what goes into our bodies and asking ourselves if we are truly hungry, or just want something sweet. The kids have stopped complaining and started cleaning their plates at meals. Before we began this diet, dinners were met with grumbles and new vegetables were given the stink eye. Now, since the kids are hungry, the complaints are few.
I hope this helps you navigate your way to healthier eating with kids, and even maybe a few ideas for making the switch from overly processed to cleaner and more whole foods.
Here is the recipe for the Grain Free Peanut Butter Muffins we have been enjoying over here from http://www.averiecooks.com
1 medium ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
heaping 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I recommend using classic storebought peanut butter, and not natural or homemade)
3 tablespoons honey (agave or maple syrup may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 400F. Prepare mini muffin pans by spraying very well with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pans; set aside. If keeping gluten-free for health reasons, simply use cooking spray or grease the pan.
- To the canister of a blender, add first 7 ingredients, through optional salt, and blend on high speed until smoothy and creamy, about 1 minute.
- Add chocolate chips and stir in by hand; don’t use the blender because it will pulverize them.
- Using a tablespoon or small cookie scoop that’s been sprayed with cooking spray (helps batter slide off spoon or scoop easily), form rounded 1 tablespoon mounds and place mounds into prepared pans. Each cavity should be filled to a solid 3/4 full.
- Bake for 8 to 9 minutes, or until the tops are set, domed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter. Due to their small size and oven variance, make sure to watch your muffins closely, and bake until done. Allow muffins to cool in pans for about 10 minutes, or until they’ve firmed up and are cool enough to handle. Muffins are best fresh, but will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.