Do your children get
excited when they hear the words brown rice, vegetables
Well, if they are like most kids, they probably run
and hide at any mention of these foods. Transitioning
yourself to a new way of eating and living can be interesting
and exciting, but shifting your whole family to eating
a healthier diet is a whole other bowl of rice.
I remember growing up in my family and never liking
healthy food. During dinner time I would move the food
around on my plate to make it look like I ate something.
But my mother knew my tricks, so she invented a few
schemes of her own to help my siblings and me get vegetables
and nutritious food into our bodies without us knowing.
Now that I am older, I am grateful for these sneaky
tactics my mom used, and I want to share them, along
with new things I have learned, to help you transition
your families to eating better, and enjoying it!
The first thing to remember is that every little change
makes a difference, so start small and change little
things. For example, use a high quality/high mineral
content sea salt and replace poor quality cooking oils
with high quality, unrefined, cold-pressed, organic
vegetable oils. Olive, sesame, and sunflower oils are
Then, if eliminating food seems too depriving, focus
instead on adding things to your diet. Stock your kitchen
with easy-to-prepare dried and canned foods like organic
whole wheat or brown rice pastas, pasta sauce, canned
beans and specialty items.
Fill your refrigerator and freezer with handy foods
like whole wheat or corn tortillas, hummus, mixed greens,
cucumbers, and frozen foods like berries, corn, peas
and other veggies. These convenient foods make it easy
to make a quick wrap with hummus and veggies in a tortilla
or an easy pasta dish.
Get your family to eat whole grains. This might sound
tricky, but it is possible. My mom did this for our
family and transitioned us from eating white rice to
brown rice. She cooked the white rice with a little
bit of brown rice, so the brown rice was hidden, and
we thought we were eating white rice.
As time progressed, she upped the percentage of brown
rice very subtly when she made rice, so we never noticed.
After a while, we were eating half white and half brown
rice. Finally, we were completely transitioned to eating
brown rice as our staple grain, and no one really even
noticed. To this day, my family eats brown rice.
If your family craves dairy, cheese and yogurt, try
the healthier alternatives such as various non-dairy
milks (soy, rice, almond, oat, hemp nut), soy cheese,
and soy yogurt (Wildwood has a plain unsweetened probiotic
soyogurt). You will find that some soy cheeses melt
just like real cheese, and you can make parfaits with
soy yogurt, granola, and fresh fruit.
Even trading over-processed sugary snack foods for
organic corn chips, salsa, organic popcorn, apple chips,
and naturally sweetened breakfast cereals is a great
start. Keep fresh fruit, nut and seed butters, fruit
juice sweetened jams, and whole wheat sourdough breads
on hand for an easy snack.
If you need quick and convenient snack foods, look
for healthy options. Some choices are Pirate Brands
Original Tings Crunchy Corn Sticks instead of cheese
puffs and Nanas cookies, which are vegan, have
no refined sugar and no trans fats. Vanilla Snackimals
Animal Cookies by Barbaras Bakery and sparkling
fruit juice instead of sodas, like Izze Sparkling Juice
are other good choices.
Also, you can make your own fizzy drink with sparkling
water and organic fruit juice. Stay away from hydrogenated
oils, white sugar, including cane juice, white flour
and chemical additives. Dont forget to read the
labels on your foods.
As for baking, switch to organic whole wheat pastry
flour and unbleached organic all-purpose flour. You
can also experiment with different varieties of flours
such as brown rice, coconut, barley, or spelt for an
interesting twist in your baking. Keep organic rolled
oats, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and grain sweetened
chocolate chips (Sunspire brand) around for when you
feel inspired to bake. Ditch white sugar for sweet alternatives
like honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, brown rice syrup,
date sugar or stevia.
Last, get your kids excited about food. Keep that kids
like colors, shapes and flavors, so keep them interested
in what they are eating by making food fun. Kids wont
eat healing macrobiotic dishes, and they arent
supposed to. So try making things like rice burgers,
tempura, pasta dishes, and easy desserts like fruit
Even if your family eats animal food, try making it
healthier by switching to organic meats and making things
like chicken fingers with almond flour or organic bread
crumbs. If you are making hamburgers or meatballs, hide
grated onions, carrots and other vegetables in the meat
to make it healthier.
Also, remember to lead by example and show your children
that you enjoy eating healthy foods, so they will want
to join in! Dont force your kids to eat foods
they dont like. When they do like something, make
it over and over again. Also, whatever your they like
to eat, there is probably a healthy way to make it.
For example, they like brownies, make them healthy,
refined-sugar-free vegan brownies.
Involve your children in the process. Let them choose
fun dishes to prepare, decide what to put in them, and
enjoy the results. They can easily make fresh fruit
and vegetable juices, snacks, sandwiches, pancakes and
desserts with the help of an adult.
Here are a few recipes that
your children (and you) will love:
This smoothie is fast, easy, and perfect for summer.
It will cool off any cravings for frozen desserts and
pack a big antioxidant punch.