There is a biological reason that you may end up locked in a battle of the wills when you ask your child to eat green food! Have you noticed that your kids don’t hate all vegetables and general nutrition? Usually it’s the really green, bitter ones like spinach, kale, and sometimes broccoli (unless we camouflage the taste). My daughter loved red bell peppers, carrots, squash, cauliflower, and even broccoli pretty much any vegetable except the leafy, dark green ones. This bothered me until I understood the reason. The same qualities in bitter vegetables that make them “good for you” also slow down rapid cell growth. Of course, this is the opposite of what children are doing . . . they are rapidly growing! Stay with me for a minute.
It seems that the taste bud receptors for bitter foods usually are not activated until around the time that people stop growing. In general, this is also the time that cancer usually becomes more of a threat and cancer is a group of rapidly growing cells! Apparently, God had a plan! I think this is amazing. Young children are generally not at high risk for cancer (except in rare, sad cases). They have a natural tendency to reject foods that stunt growth until they are finished growing, which is also when cancer becomes a more real threat.
It is still important for your children to eat vegetables, so do your best by being creative, flavoring foods to “taste good,” providing less bitter vegetables, and offering fruit. My strategy with Chloe has always been to practice what I preach. These ideas have all been tested out on my child and hopefully, you will find them helpful and inspiring.
Entice Your Children to Love Veggies
- Hide greens and other nutritious treats in fruit smoothies
- Make cauliflower mashed potatoes
- Add small amounts of veggies to some of their favorite foods
- Be creative with spices that help to hide bitter flavors
- Use raw almond butter on celery sticks and red bell peppers (makes for a great after school snack)
I have learned that preparation is the key to success in most situations. As my family gets ready to head back to school, I know my job as a parent will be to help Chloe learn how to be prepared when it comes to the foods she packs in her school lunch. The following tips are things I do as a parent to help her be successful.
6 Tips For A Healthy Back-to-School Lunch
- Stock your kitchen with healthy foods (veggies, hummus, nuts, and seeds) packed in snack-size portions.
- Set aside time each week to draw up a grocery list, plan the week’s meals, go shopping, and do prep work such as washing and cutting vegetables, grill several chicken breasts, boil a dozen eggs, prepare salad dressing (think ahead)
- When you shop, don’t deviate from your list.
- When you prepare meals, make extra so there’s plenty of left overs.
- Set aside a few minutes each evening to plan your next day’s menu and stick to the plan!
- If mornings are rushed, pack your lunch and snacks the evening before.
Chloe’s Favorite Back-to-School Lunch Box Items
- Deli meat (sugar-free, nitrate-free); Applegate Farms is my favorite
- Hard boiled eggs
- Chopped vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, cucumbers, carrots, zucchini)
- Salsa or hummus for dipping
- Organic Berries
- Apples, Cherries or other low glycemic fruit
- Nut butter in travel size packets (which are also the right serving size); Artisana brand makes travel size packets
Back to school for Brain Warriors means back to empowering my child to pack a balanced healthy school lunch. I find that the more fun we have as we are getting our school lunches ready the easier it is to make the transition work for us all!
For great recipe ideas, click here.