In general my husband and I are both pretty health conscious people. I actually became a planner person when I began a health journey of my own while also moving, renovating our home, and commuting two hours a day for my teaching job (my how times have changed).
However, with four kids, there's such a balance of wanting your kids to have the fun snacks in school, keep breakfast fun and a not struggle to eat that extra protein etc... while also providing healthy options and reducing the food coloring, extra chemicals, hormones etc..
A few things all aligned at once, including a teen that has been more health conscious and loving to meal prep, post passover crave for structure and lighter foods, and a my husband's encouragement along wih good friend or two who gave me the confidence to make some swaps.
We're definitely not an all or nothing household and so yes there will be fruity pebbles, and crystal light, but here's some options and switches that our kids actually enjoyed.
Read on for the surprise after a few days of doing this:
A few switches we made:
- Meal Prepped Egg Bites and Pancakes and Keep in the Freezer:
Try this recipe for a healthy pancake recipe for all those who don't like bananas.
Or, simply mix some bananas, egg, chocolate chips, healthy flour of your choice like almond, oat, or gluten free one from Bob's Red Mill, honey/maple syrup, cinnamon, some chocolate chips and a little baking powder. I make them on parchment paper on our Betty Crocker Pizza Oven and they come out great, grease with Baker's Joy.
- Kept Healthier Snacks as Options for School Lunches in the House.
I say keep because I didn't swap anything major, we don't want to become that home where our kids feel deprived and become obsessed in the opposite direction.
Ideas include: Seaweed Snacks, Pickles, Olives, the Made Good Rice Krispy Squares and Cookies, Pirates Booty, Pretzels, Popcorn, and of course basic fruits and veggies.
- We Experimented with Mikes Killer Bread.
Big win and less heavy some of the other healthier breads, they make so many varieties including hamburger buns. I'm sure there are plenty of other options but even just taking a moment think about the ingredients was empowering.
Here was some of the results we weren't expecting:
In truth, there are so many priorities we have as parents and sometimes our desire to keep a home calm, peaceful, and loving meant that I didn't want to argue about having some chips before dinner, or be at a park starving because I only brought cut up apples and they wanted Pringles.
I like the idea of having a balance so our beach bag normally has some chips along with a healthy option.
BUT, what we noticed was a confidence, respect, and patient side to our kids and ourselves.
When a child sees their parents care about them, including what they eat, it makes them feel loved and cared for. It also empowered myself as a parent to realize it's okay to hold firm to values even if it means disturbing the peace for a second. I felt more comfortable reminding someone to brush their teeth, put their plate in the sink, or wipe down a table.
Second, we ended up doing more holistic and healthy activities overall. I like to think we are both parents that encourages board games, coloring and reading but when you're in the mode of thinking "what's best for my family?', by default, our phones were away a little longer, board games lasted longer, kids grabbed the markers when they woke up, asked for our laptops to play school, requests to the beach become more frequent, and it was also an unexpected pleasant surprise.
Let us know your favorite healthy swaps and tips below!