there. i said it. we don't have all the answers and we're not going to pretend we do.
i can tell what has helped us as we've tried to increase our nutrients and decrease our sugar. and the tips we used to help our kids break their processed food habits that they obviously got from us! i think you have to look at this, again, as a heart issue. and talk about it this way in front of the children. the last thing we want them to learn from us is simply behavior modification. that doesn't work in the long run!
1) talk about the "sugar out/nutrients in" change. i made the mistake of just running full speed ahead that first week and my kids were freaking out. so finally, i was like...oh ya, you need to be in the loop on this change!
so i said something like, we've been eating too much sugar and it hasn't been good for our hearts or our bodies. we have to learn how to eat healthier. that means more veggies and fruit and less sugar. we need God to help us because it's hard to change bad habits.
layne was so receptive to that and i kind of felt stupid for not mentioning it earlier. oops, live and learn.
2) seriously just stop buying sugary junk. stop buying processed stuff as much as possible. the awesome thing about this is i wasn't the bad guy anymore. i could say, we literally don't have any cookies/cereal/whatever! go look. but we did have plenty of fruits and vegetables to choose from. and by default and sheer hunger, my kids starting eating fruit! it was amazing. (this also works for me...i can't eat crap if we don't have it in the house)
we do still buy a small amount of crackers sometimes and tortilla chips, but for the most part, our pantry is getting cleared. if you looked in it now you would see trail mix and applesauce and nuts. i need more ideas! leave them in the comments section or if you've blogged about ideas and recipes, leave the link in your comments. you will help others.
(i've been inspired by your #imoversugar posts on instagram. your shopping carts look in credible and so do your meals!)
3)keep structure, but be flexible.
change is difficult for you and it is going to be difficult for your kids. i stopped buying cereal because of the cost and the sugar content. they ate cereal in the morning and then after school...i just couldn't keep up and it wasn't really filling their stomachs for long. instead, i decided to do oatmeal or eggs, sometimes we do peanut butter toast.
layne woke up one morning crying about wanting cereal. he truly said, don't you think this is a little bit crazy?!
so we made a deal that he could have cereal on the weekends. he stopped crying and ate his breakfast.
i think it's good to rest from some of the food rules during a structured time during the weekends. it's so much change at first... perhaps this will change as we settle more into it and perhaps it won't. we're flexible with it though.
4) set a fruit/veggie on their plate at every meal. raw micronutrients are the best kind. when we heat our food, the nutritional content gets lower. that's nothing to stress out about, but try your best to get raw fruits and veggies a visual nod every time you're feeding the kids. this goes for you too. you are their teacher and if you're not doing it, that's not a great example. by doing this, it becomes normal. i know my kids won't eat the veggies i put on their plate every time so my expectations and stress level are lowered when i believe this. but little by little, they've warmed up to them. just by sheer repetition, you will win! studies show it takes 10-20 tries before a kid will actually bite into a new food. lila threw her carrots across the room a couple times before i found them in the corner the next day. strong message, lila!
5)get creative. one thing they will eat with little coaxing is chicken nuggets. have you guys heard of Deceptively Delicious or The Sneaky Chef ? i love both of these cook books for lots of reasons. they help mothers sneak in vegetables for those picky eaters. in deceptively delicious, instead of the binder being egg for the nuggets, she uses sweet potato puree. it's just creative genius really. and while, in a perfect world, our children would eat raw veggies at dinner, it's a difficult task to compete with all the processed foods they have at their disposal and the habits we've created...so this is a great way to inch towards more veggies.
(my modified recipe is below and it's gluten free!)
also, people are so good about making their food look appealing and silly and fun! jill from meethedubiens.com is amazing at this. go be inspired.
and if your kids eat yogurt or applesauce, pump it up with nutrients. for example, i put this in lila's applesauce every time i give it to her. folic acid, flax seed, b vitamins, and some smoothie that my husband made that morning. is it mean or is it awesome? i don't know. but she eats it, so....
6) make a simple rule. our rule is that you take the number of bites of your age. layne is 6 so he must eat 6 bites before leaving the table. if he chooses not to, there is a consequence. but generally, just not having to sit at the table all evening is a good enough incentive for him. so this works for us.
this might not work for you, but put some sort of structure around eating so the kids have boundaries and you can fall back on the rule when you want to be inconsistent.
onto the sneaky chicken nuggs!
the breading on these nuggets was not gluten free in Deceptively Delicious, so i had to come up with my own idea for that part. we were out of gluten free bread and all we had was g-free waffles. so i toasted all 6 waffles, threw them in the food processor with some salt and spices and it made a delicious crispy breading!
so much so, that i prefer it over any other breading i've made. even better than the chex mix chicken, which i loved.
2 chicken breasts, raw and cubed and salted (this will make more than you think!)
1 can of sweet potato puree (or make your own puree)
6 toasted gluten free waffles (or not g free, whatever)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregeno or italian mix
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
so here's what you do.
rinse and pat dry your chicken breasts.
slice the breast into nugget sizes or strip sizes. you'll want to keep these pretty uniform so they will cook the same in the oven.
i do sprinkle a little salt on them at this point.
in the food processor i therw in my toasted gluten free waffles with 2 tsps of salt, 2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried oregano and 1/4 cup ground flaxseed.
i processed it all up until it was very fine. the finer the better.
then you dip them in the sweet potato puree mixed with one egg.
and then roll in the breading.
put them on a sprayed pan and cook them at 375. bake for 25 minutes. i flipped them halfway in between but i'm pretty sure that's not all that necessary.
don't stop there though. i like to make a bunch to freeze. what you'll do is lay some parchment paper out on a pan and lay the nuggets out on there. then freeze them like this, on the pan for an hour or so. after that, you can throw in a ziploc bag and they are ready to bake.
when you bake from frozen, give them 35 minutes instead of 25 minutes.
enjoy! i sure did.
here is part 1 of the series that explains what the heart is behind all this not eating sugar and what my symptoms of crappiness were.
here is the second part: 8 steps to steps to stop feeling like crap