I am not a parent yet, but I intend to be one day – for at least 3 kids and I can’t wait to raise my kids with healthy habits that they have control over. This may be easier for me to say now. But what I do know is that there is no excuse when it comes to giving your kids junk food. With the plethora of unhealthy choices that are available today, there are just as many healthy tasty and fun options too.
Good food can still come form clean and wholesome sources. The key is that you need to make this accessible at home so that it can become part of your family meals. When you cook together, you learn together and kids are more likely to transform their taste buds if they are part of the experience. I have seen it happen right here in my own studio, I teach a Summer and March Break Delicious Cooking Camp, and in both instances I have watched over the course of 4 days, kids (between the ages of 5-10) change their approach to healthy eating because they are a part of the process.
Ultimately, it is up to the parents to instill values in their kids at home. Kids should be sent to school with healthy and fun snacks. Of course in addition to loading them up with apples and carrots, they need a tasty “treat” too. Ones that actually make their friends jealous! This can be done, however instead it is typically easier for parents to say, well I may as well just give them “this cookie” or “those chips” because they will just want it anyways (I come across this too often with my clients). The truth is, if you create at that, then they will. So instead, why not get involved with your kids and come up with some snacks that are colourful and tasty, sweet – whether store bought or homemade. The good news is there are lots of options & also if they are part of making their own yummy treats, they will be more likely to eat them too!
Here are some ideas to start with:
- Instead of candy, gummies TRY dried fruit – okay so that may sound boring, but get some blueberries, raspberries, mango, apricots and cut them up in little pieces and you’ve got the best tasting naturally sweetened “gummies” that you can find. Colourful, sweet, chewy, not food dyed or white sugar – it’s a perfect match! (make sure you are buying varieties that are sulphite free and non-gmo)
- Instead of soda and sugared juices TRY to get some 100% fruit juice and mix it with water and even put some berries in there. The ultimate naturally-sweetened vitamin water.
- Instead of potato chips TRY Organic corn chips, sweet potato chips, zucchini chips, spelt pretzels, homemade organic popcorn, kale chips (recipe below), even chocolate covered kale chips.
- Instead of Jello or pudding TRY Yoso coconut yogurt top it with fresh fruit or dark chocolate chips – this is a perfect nut free snack to pack up or for after school.
- Instead of Ice cream TRY Coconut Bliss coconut ice cream. Flavours include vanilla, chocolate, peanut butter fudge, berry swirl, coconut – plan an Ice Cream Sundae night!
- Instead of Cookies TRY Better cookies from Sweets from the Earth or New Moon Kitchen –just note these are still “treats”, and should be treated as such but they are much healthier options! Of course, making some of your own cookies at home would also be a nice way of knowing what is going in your treats and it also gets your child involved in the making. Try these Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches
- Instead of dairy milk chocolate bars TRY Giddy Yoyo, Endangered species, Zazubean Chocolate, Chocosol or Cocoa Camino.
If you are at a loss for ideas and want to get inspired in a fun and friendly environment, we’ve got many upcoming opportunities to give you the chance to learn how to make some new healthy recipes for the family!
It is my goal to inspire you to stay on track, find alternatives, eat well, live well and nourish yourself & your kids!
Zesty Kale Chips
Zesty Kale Chips are quick and easy to make and enjoy for any occasion!
2 head Kale washed and torn
3/4 cup Tahini
1/4 cup tamari
1/4 cup Cider Vingear
1/2 cup Water
1 clove Garlic
1 Lemon juiced
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast
Place kale in a large mixing bowl. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth to get a thick consistency. You may have to add more water. Pour over kale and mix thoroughly with your hands to coat the kale. You want this mixture to be really glued onto the kale.
Place kale onto a Teflex sheet, and dehydrate for 4 hours @ 115 degrees. You’ll need to use two trays. Rotate kale occasionally to dry uniformly.
Place on parchment paper on a sheet tray, and bake on a low temperature for about 30 minutes. Keep and eye on them and turn them often to make sure they dry evenly.
Simply said, Marni Wasserman’s life is rooted in healthy eating. Culinary Nutritionist, Health Strategist and founder of Marni Wasserman’s Food Studio & Lifestyle Shop located in midtown Toronto where she teaches her signature cooking classes, and offers collaborative workshops and urban retreats. She is also the Author of Fermenting for Dummies and Plant-Based Diet For Dummies. Marni has also made several media appearances on CBC, CHCH and Newstalk 1010 and has articles in Toronto Star, Huffington Post and Chatelaine Magazine. Marni uses passion and experience to educate individuals on how to adopt a realistic plant-based diet that is both simple and delicious.
For more information, check out her website at www.marniwasserman.com.