I love making a healthy snack with Micha. Three or four times a week, we make a smoothie together. We start with Keifer, add a banana, some greens, flax or hemp seeds and berries. Micha helps break up the banana. Then she grabs big handfuls of whatever green we’re putting in (usually spinach or a blend of spinach, kale and chard). Next, I shake in a tablespoon of flax or hemp seeds. Finally, she dumps a cup full of frozen berries in. We put the lid on, she puts her finger on “ON” and pushes hard. Sometimes she gets it and other times she needs help. Once the blender is going, she holds onto the handle and watches our ingredients mix together. We usually have to add more keifer or milk to get all the berries to move but she always watches in wonder of how the foods blend together. The color also changes from when the banana and greens blend to when the berries start grinding up. When I get out two cups she always shouts “MUCHO!” so I fill her cup up. We have a silly tradition of clinking our glasses together, saying “ching, ching”. Then we enjoy. We usually make smoothie mustaches and chit chat while enjoying our healthy treat.
I pride myself on investing time and effort to teach Michaela how to eat real, healthy foods. I used to worry that she would starve if she didn’t eat something at every meal. However, I stopped worrying. I became calm and confident in offering her a variety of foods. If she would say she didn’t want to eat something, I calmly removed it but wouldn’t give her something else. If she chose not to eat a meal, she was always more hungry and willing to try something at the next. Since I stuck with the plan and ate the same foods with her (sharing a meal is very important!) she began to eat more and more. Today, she is great at taking a bite of everything even if she doesn’t eat more. Sometimes she realizes she likes the new food and other times, she’d rather not have more.
She is more willing to try things when she helps make it. And it’s fun to cook with her! We make pesto together almost every week. We also make homemade peanut butter–super easy! (See below for recipe.) Micha “helps me” chop veggies by holding the end of the knife (behind where my hand is). Once things are chopped she helps me put them in the pan. She helps me stir muffin or pancake mix. She tosses popcorn kernels into a big pot and we listen and watch them pop-pop-pop.
As parents we have the opportunity to show our children how to eat well by involving them. We have lots of choices to make and must prioritize what matters to us. Healthy eating matters to me. I know that I create what type of eater we have. We have to be dedicated, consistent and creative but we can create little beings that love their veggies! They are sponges and now is the time to instill good habits. All children can learn to eat well and like a variety of foods. Sometimes we parents need a bit of encouragement or ideas, but remember: ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
If you have a picky eater and would like me to share more info, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d LOVE to hear from you!
Have a healthy, smooth-eating week,