Do you have teenagers? Are you struggling to feed them healthy, nourishing foods? If so, please be reassured that you are not alone. Trust me, I'm a mother of 4 children -- 1 adult "child," two in high school and an energetic 9 year old. There seems to be an abundance of information about how to feed babies, toddlers, and elementary aged children, and then ... "poof" ... a huge void in the advice field just as our children start reaching those tricky teenage years. If we didn't have it hard enough dealing with our kids changing bodies (and minds) -- hormones, irritability, sulkiness, acne, boyfriends/girlfriends, body image, sexuality, (the list goes on and on) -- then they throw in the "I only want pasta or pizza" for dinner and the parenting job really starts becoming fun, especially if you are passionate, like me, about feeding your kids healthy food. I followed all the advice out there when they were young (and kept good habits learned from my Mom) -- eating as a family, cooking meals from scratch, having them pick out food at the grocery store, baking together, suggesting favorite meals. I thought I was doing pretty well, and then WHAM, out of the blue, they became teenagers and everything changed. They didn't want to hear anything I had to say anymore, especially if it was health advice -- what did I know?
Well, being a Health Coach for the past few years, I thought I knew quite a bit. I had it covered, or so I thought. Oh boy, was I wrong. Knowing what my teenagers should eat to feel great was one thing, but actually getting them to eat healthy foods and lay off the white, refined, processed foods was a different story. That story had a lot more to do with my parenting skills than my food knowledge ...
So, here are my top 10 tips to help you with your big bundles of joy!
- Set a good example yourself -- be the role model.
- Stop nagging about what they are eating or explaining the benefits of healthy eating.
- Accidentally "run out" of foods that you would like to limit. Promise to buy them again next time you go shopping, but keep forgetting. ;)
- Make Smoothies (sneaking in vegetables when you can) for breakfast. Invest in a high power blender if possible.
- Buy the best quality food you can -- organic fruits and veggies, grass fed dairy and beef, pastured chicken and eggs.
- Keep cut up veggies and fruits in the fridge for snacking, along side hummus and guacamole.
- Offer a salad before dinner or a plate of cut up veggies/fruits.
- Make your own junk food -- cookies, muffins, cakes.
- Serve the same veggie every night if that's all they will eat. Offer a new one a couple of times a week.
- Make the dinner conversation about them, not the food!
A favorite "Treat" for my kids is a homemade candy bar! You definitely need a good food processor to make them, but other than that, they are pretty simple and keep well in the freezer. And, at the end of the day, if the kids are driving you crazy, at least you'll have some yummy treats to enjoy (yourself)!
- 1 ½ cups raw cashews
- 1 ½ cups dates (preferably Medjool), pitted and roughly chopped
- ½ cup almond butter
- ½ cup real maple syrup
- ½ cup coconut flour
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 1 ½ cups dark chocolate chips (60% or higher cocoa content)
- 1 ½ Tbs coconut oil
Grind the cashews to a very fine meal in a food processor. Add the dates, almond butter, maple syrup, coconut flour, shredded coconut, and almond extract and pulse until you have a sticky ball of dough.
Line an 8x8" square baking pan with parchment paper and press the cashew mixture out onto the paper, making a square bar 1 inch deep. It helps if you put a drop of oil or water on your hands before doing this. Refrigerate the mixture for 6 to 8 hours, until it’s firm.
Meanwhile, combine the chocolate chips and coconut oil in a stainless steel or glass bowl set over a pot of simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bowl). Stir the mixture until it’s just melted, remove the bowl from the heat, and pour the chocolate mixture over the cold cashew mixture. Return the bar to the fridge and let it cool until the chocolate coating is set, at least 1 hour.
Using the parchment, lift the bar out of the baking pan and cut it into rectangles (or you can use cookie cutters to make fun shapes for kids!). Serve at once, or store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
Recipe from: It’s All Good by Gwyneth Paltrow and Julia Turshen