I will be the first to tell you that I’m a lucky mom when it comes to my son’s eating habits. He has always LOVED fruits and veggies, whereas most of the moms I know say that their kids will NEVER touch anything green (unless it’s an M&M), or only eat one or two types of fruit. My kiddo’s favorite food in the world? Red peppers…seriously, who is this child and where did he come from?!
The one thing that is interesting about my son is his particularity about food textures. He likes ice cream (I tell him it’s because Mommy ate it practically every day of my pregnancy…true story), but he has never liked smoothies…not quite a liquid, but not quite as “solid” as ice cream. Eh, whatever, as long as he’s getting the nutrients his little growing body needs.
Lately, however,I’ve gotten a bit bored with the “same old thing”, as I’ve been having at least one green smoothie a day for quite a while now (see Day Two of this series for more!). I’ve been “playing” with my smoothies more, testing & tweaking with different ingredients and flavor combinations (I fancy myself a bit of a bartender-type, a la Tom Cruise in “Cocktail”).
[OK, so I can’t do this…besides, it could get awfully messy with almond milk!]
For lunch today, I made an absolutely delicious smoothie that tasted like chocolate-covered cherries, and it was beautiful…not the typical green color (because of the cherries), but a deep red. It got me thinking that, if my child were a picky eater (and didn’t have the aversion to the texture of smoothies), this would be the perfect way to get him to “drink” his fruits and veggies while he enjoyed something tasty!
I personally have never thought to advise my clients who are parents to try this, so that’s when the voices in my head started arguing (they do that a lot…fortunately I rarely let them come out of my mouth, unless I’m absolutely certain that no one can hear me. Then I just have a full-on fight with myself!). Answer this question for me, parents: would you be more likely to…
- be “sneaky” about it, telling your child(ren) “here’s a smoothie for you” without telling them what’s in it?
- educate them about, and show them, how food they typically shun can be turned into a tasty treat?
I’ll be honest…I tend to learn toward the “sneaky” option myself. My son THINKS that he doesn’t like onions (simply because they smell yucky), so he refuses to eat them if he knows they’re in a dish. However, one of his favorite foods in the world is my homemade vegetarian chili, which has…you guessed it…onions in it! My “trick” is that I dice them small enough that he just has never noticed them (so the “evil” mom in me giggles silently every time he eats it and says how good it is!).
I suppose the educational option just may work too, depending on the personality of your child and exactly how much they trust you. Have you noticed that when children help with food preparation they are far more likely to eat it and enjoy it? By including them in making a smoothie, for example, or a soup with pureed vegetables, they learn that maybe they should be more open to trying foods they have previously deemed “icky”.
Then again, perhaps there’s a happy medium…make the smoothie, give them a taste, and after they say “yum!”, you can exclaim, “HA! You just drank spinach, mango and peaches in almond milk!” In which case, they may glare at you and stomp away, forever scarred by your trickery (which will surely come up in therapy later in life)…OR they may be pleasantly surprised and curious. For the sake of assuming your child(ren) are forgiving and eager to learn, let’s assume the latter.
The point of this post is that we CAN pass on our own healthy eating habits to our children, even if you label them “picky eaters”. The key is to find ways to incorporate the healthy stuff into things you know they like, and include the kids in preparation if possible. Not only does including them make them feel like part of the process, it’s a shared memory for you both to recall fondly as they grow, and become more open to their food choices.
For those of you who might like to try the smoothie I made today, here’s the SUPER-EASY recipe:
Chocolate-Covered Cherry Green (Red!) Smoothie
- 2 cups chocolate coconut milk
- 2 cups green leafy vegetables (today I used Organic Power Greens from Costco…a mixture of spinach, chard, & kale…but you can use any one of the above on its own, or whatever you have on hand, from romaine to bok choy to dandelion greens [just note that dandelion greens can tend to taste a bit bitter, so adding a banana to the smoothie will help to diminish that])
- 2 cups frozen dark red cherries (you can use fresh, but I like using frozen fruit so my smoothie is more dense and cold)
- pure vanilla extract or honey to taste, if you find the cherries are more tart than you’d like
- First of all, start with a GOOD blender, like a Vitamix or a Ninja…it’s crucial to get everything blended just perfectly, so that you don’t end up CHEWING your smoothie!
- Combine the leafy greens with the coconut milk, and blend together.
- Once the consistency is smooth, add the cherries, and blend again.
- Taste, and add vanilla or honey to your liking.
- Pour into a glass (I like insulated plastic “mason jars” with lids and reusable smoothie-sized straws, because you can take them on the run!) and enjoy!
I would love your feedback! Let me know what you think of the recipe, and especially if your kids enjoy it also! If you would like 5 more of my FREE smoothie recipes and a complimentary breakthrough session with me (to talk about how to make “eating clean” easy and inexpensive, learn 3 super-simple ways to calm down when your kids are driving you crazy, increase your income while GAINING more time in your day, or whatever else you’d like some help with), CLICK HERE. I will send your recipes right away, and we can set up a convenient time to chat. Bon appetite!
This post is part of the FYB “31 Days to Quiet the Voices in Your Head” series.
Read more about it HERE.
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