How Did I Get My Children To Make Changes?
It’s a question i get asked often, and my answer is always the same. There was no one thing that worked…. It was lots of small changes over a long period of time that eventually became normal for them. My children like many others snacked on biscuits, yogurt, muesli bars, microwave noodles, drank juice, and ate processed foods for breakfast that were full of sugar. In my mind i was all over this feeding my kids well thing!!!
But was I or wasn’t I?
When my youngest was diagnosed with Leaky Gut Syndrome it became clear to me that i needed to make some serious changes to help him get better. The one thing that scared me most was knowing that changing their favorite foods was going to be a struggle. So in my mind i went through different ideas and ways to slowly limit the bad foods and increase to good foods.
I started with reducing how much milk they were having. Both boys were asthmatic and the milk was just creating mucous which would make it hard to breathe at night, but I had learnt that the milk was also feeding bad bacteria and adding to the inflammation in the gut. So how do you stop the one thing that has been their comfort since birth? I went looking for something that could replace that creamy smooth texture. I stumbled on a website where this beautiful inspiring woman talked about her love of Green Smoothies….. I was intrigued so I learnt everything I could about the benefits and how to create them. I have to be honest my first few were pretty bad and the boys were not impressed. But I was not going to give up, I kept learning and trying and eventually I had a good recipe that was a winner with the boys and my husband. Eventually after about 3-6 months of slowly reducing the amount of milk in the smoothie to almond milk or water, dairy milk was gone from our home.
Next was the good old honey sandwich and decided that it should be a salad sandwich. Knowing that they loved the honey taste, I decided to keep putting honey in it but added 3 salad ingredients like cucumber, baby spinach and shredded carrot. The look I got when I put it down in front of them was one of pure confusion. They both said “yuk I’m not eating that!” I told them that is was time to try new foods and there was still honey in it. They were both reluctant but also intrigued so they went ahead and tried it and ended up eating it all. It was great I had a small win. Little did they know I had also changed the bread i was buying. It was and ancient grain called kamut and contains only 6 ingredients. I had swapped out butter for coconut oil and the honey was raw and not heat processed. Slowly over time I cut back on the honey until there was no honey plus i had been experimenting with other veggies like sprouts, raw beetroot shredded, avocado and tomato. Then as they got use to the salad fillings I cut back on bread, so instead of a sandwich it was a salad plate with a slice of bread. Then a salad bowl with boiled eggs or cold roast chicken with olive oil, herbs and salt to taste.
Everything I changed was slow and gradual, and I made a point of leading by example and always being open and honest with my boys. I stopped trying to hide veggies in things. I wanted the boys to know what they were and why they should eat them. To have that discussion I needed the boys to see vegetables on their plate and ask me questions about them. I decided that I should not expect them to like everything I put in front of them, but I could request that they at least tried it. If the boys did not like it then that was fine, but I would tell them they would have to try it again in a week or so. The more the boys tried things eventually they started to like them, then they started telling me how they liked it cooked or what dressing they wanted on it.
Now the boys are happy to take butter chicken with cauliflower rice to school, or a salad with scrambled eggs, fresh chicken salad or roast veggies with chicken wings with homemade seasoning. They take green smoothies and homemade snacks and if they are board with things they make suggestions of what they would like to take. There is foods that we avoid as they do not serve our bodies very well, however over the years I have learnt that its about adding in all the good real foods to crowd out the empty foods that have no nutrition.
Don’t get me wrong we still have times when eat the same meal twice in a week and yes I still get stuck in a rut with my cooking. But as soon as I realize it I set myself a goal to change it up again. That’s when my awesome range of clean healthy living cookbooks come out and I start whipping up some new things and change recipes to suit our lifestyles. I encourage the boys to pick out recipes for dinner and they have to help prepare it and cook it.
Cooking and eating should be fun, exciting and nourishing. Pick one or two things that your kids are addicted to and try and workout how you could come up with the same thing but a better version. Always lead be example and eat what your are asking them to try. I recommend to learn the health benefits of some foods because your food becomes you so knowing how to use food as preventative medicine to build up your immune system and gut health is a very powerful tool.
In Good Health