|"pizza chicken pasta" (quinoa/brown rice pasta, homemade speghetti sauce, chicken, cheese and broccoli)|
Caleb is now 18 months old. And a short year ago he was one of the hardest babies I've ever known. Now don't get me wrong, I'm sure there was much more than just diet that impacted Caleb's extreme colick his first year... and to this day Caleb still has his sleepless nights on occasion, and his typical toddler tantrums... but I am convinced more than ever, that because of his clean eating, no added sugar in his diet... he is a changed kid. A toddler who is so inquisitive, curious, and can focus on small tasks. A toddler who is happy, comfortable and healthier than ever. I know, that in a few years, it's going to get much harder to control what my child eats... but for now... I can monitor and provide every little thing that goes into his mouth. What a blessing. Think about it... when our kids are completely dependent on us to meet their basic needs, why not do that to your BEST ability?! You are building the foundation here... the habits you start them out on, will likely be the habits they grow into and continue to carry out as they enter adolescence and adulthood. There is really no excuse for feeding your kids genetically modified, packaged, junk food. I know there are plenty of excuses out there... because I have given those excuses before...
|first corn on the cob|
Excuse #1: Time? "I don't have time to cook everyday". Well, I guarantee you have time to wash a few berries or slice an apple for snack. I guarantee if you have time to make "boxed mac and cheese", you have time to make a pasta dish with whole grain pasta, chicken, vegetables and real cheese, or to throw some vegetables and chicken in a crockpot in the morning. I guarantee you can open a greek yogurt and add some berries for breakfast, in the same amount of time it takes to pour cereal (filled with food dyes, and little to no nutritional value) into a bowl.
Excuse #2: Money? "I just can't afford to buy healthy foods". I can tell you one thing... it CAN get expensive to buy organic and healthy... but you CAN make it work. Adam and I are eating the healthiest we have ever eaten in our lives, and are currently probably living on the lowest income we've ever had to live off. For one, we eat out much less. We save money there, and rather spend it on organic chicken, beef and produce. Two, we don't buy all organic, we buy organic on the items we can, especially in produce where pesticides are prominent, or on organic items that are on sale. Three, when you eat fresh/clean foods... they usually don't last quite as long, so I may be shopping more frequently, but buying only what we actually consume. Wasting less money on foods that may just sit in the back of the cupboard, and go uneaten. And yes, sacrifice... spend less on things that don't matter, toys/clothes/movies/video games, and add that money to your "grocery budget".
Excuse #3: Knowledge? This one I understand. Because I honestly am still learning about the importance of healthy eating. I still struggle with the fact that I feed my kid way healthier than what I actually eat. I'm working on it, because I now have the knowledge of the dangers in fast foods, packaged and processed foods, and excessive sugar. But most of America... they just don't know. So many foods, restaurants and stores advertise their foods as "natural", "safe", "nutritious", when in all reality, they contain disease causing agents that produce huge health problems... food intolerances, ADHD, focus problems, developmental delays, and cancer. So read up! Become knowledgeable... and learn to cook :) It's time to start somewhere. Your child deserves it. Set them up for success.
Especially as a toddler, they don't know any better. They don't know the difference from a mcdonalds chicken nugget vs a homecooked chicken dinner. Feed them food that will nourish them, feed them food that will boost their immune system and brain function. Feed them foods that will sustain them and give them energy throughout the day.
|homemade banana ice cream (aka pureed frozen banana)|
Caleb is 18 months old, has never eaten fast food, and just this past weekend ate food from his first restaurant. (scrambled eggs and fresh fruit from Perkins... and yes it still bothered me he ate restaurant food, but that's totally just my control issue.). ;) It can be done. And I'm not saying you can't eat out or have packaged foods on occasion. We still probably eat out 4-5 times a month, we just try and choose healthier options, and I prepare food for Caleb to eat while we are out. I know I won't always be able to do this, and that there will be the day that Caleb will want to eat french fries and a burger like his friends... but for now, he doesn't care and he's a fabulous eater. He doesn't need candy, cake, fruit snacks, crackers, and ice cream. He is completely satisfied with fresh fruit, veggies, and toast :)
I'm not writing this article to tell anyone how to parent... just to inform about the important role food really does play in your child's temperament, behavior and development... and how EASY it is to provide those whole, clean foods each and every day. It may be a huge change to your lifestyle, because it is for us...but its definitely a change worth making. :) I challenge you to start today! Read up on an easy dinner recipe and have a home-cooked family meal tonight! It's "pickle chicken", homemade sweet potato fries, and corn on the cob for us tonight!
|Southwest chicken and quinoa casserole|