Making healthy choices in the kitchen is essential to your family’s health. And yet, society is struggling against a relentless storm of less and less home cooking….and more and more processed food. Don’t give in, and do not follow suit. Protect your family, and invest in a healthy lifestyle.
I’m a bit crazy about “real” food. OK, a lot crazy about “real” food. I love to cook, and I’m pretty obsessed about simple, natural, wholesome ingredients. I wasn’t always so obsessed though. Growing up, some of my favorite foods were Zoodles, Fruit Loops, Kraft Dinner, and (gasp!) Cheez Whiz on toast. It wasn’t until I moved away from home, and started cooking my own meals, that I realized how great it feels to prepare and eat nutritious dishes that actually fuel my body.
Cut scene, enter two kids. Suddenly, I was responsible for the well-being of two little munchkins, whose bodies were growing and thriving, based on the meals that I was putting in front of them. Not only that, I felt a renewed sense of duty to be the healthiest possible “me” I could be, in order to ensure my own longevity and health as a mother. I want to, not only, be able to keep up with my kids, but inspire them as time goes by.
But things get complicated with kids. You see, cooking for two adults who get excited about, say….grilled eggplant, was easy. Cooking for two kids under the age of 4? Extremely challenging. It’s the pickiness factor that is the most frustrating thing. Trust me, I know. Neither of my kids will eat chicken without peanut butter spread on it. And every time one of them spits out the food I lovingly prepared (“yyyyuuuuuck”), it does hurt a little. But in the end, I know that if I offer them healthy choices, they will not starve themselves. And I will be teaching them an important lesson about food, and how it has the power to deliver a healthy life.
Creativity is key with kids. And cooking is no different. So when I’m looking for a little inspiration, I wander over to the cookbook section of the library, and take a few books home with me. Below, you will find a few of my favorites, tried, tested and true:
100 Days of Real Food by Lisa Leake
The creator of the 100 Days of Real Food blog draws from her hugely popular website to offer simple, affordable, family-friendly recipes and practical advice for eliminating processed foods from your family’s diet.
Inspired by Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food, Lisa Leake decided her family’s eating habits needed an overhaul. She, her husband, and their two small girls pledged to go 100 days without eating highly processed or refined foods–a challenge she opened to readers on her blog.
Now, she shares their story, offering insights and cost-conscious recipes everyone can use to enjoy wholesome natural food–whole grains, fruits and vegetables, seafood, locally raised meats, natural juices, dried fruit, seeds, popcorn, natural honey, and more.
Weelicious: 140 Fast, Fresh and Easy Recipes by Catherine McCord
Every parent knows how difficult it is to get to get kids eating happily and healthily. Catherine McCord has the answer: Weelicious! Creator of the wildly popular blog Weelicious.com, Catherine, who honed her cooking skills at Manhattan’s Institute of Culinary Education, strongly believes in the “one family/one meal” idea–preparing a single, scrumptious meal the entire family can sit down and enjoy together rather than having to act as “short order cook” for kids who each want something different. In Weelicious, she offers dozens of recipes and tips for creating quick, easy, healthy, and fun food that moms, dads, and young children of any age will absolutely adore–from the most persnickety infants to the pickiest grade-schoolers.
The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet by Laura Fuentes
We all know that kids need to eat right and get the nutrition they need to be their best all day long. So why not make lunches that will power their growing brains and bodies? Making lunches at home is a great way to keep your child healthy. Not only does it allow you to nourish your child with the most pure and wholesome ingredients, but it also gives you the peace of mind of knowing what has gone into every bite your little one takes. Full of recipes to suit every age and stage, The Best Homemade Kids’ Lunches on the Planet shows you how simple and easy it is to prepare food that’ll be the envy of the lunch table. The 200+ adorable and inspiring recipes in this book are just as much a joy to make as they are to eat! There are even entire lunchbox meals that are gluten-, soy-, and/or nut-free. Make your own super-delicious, super-nutritious homemade lunches today–it’s guaranteed to be at the top of the class!
Little Bento by Michele Olivier
Your challenge: Packing a healthy lunch for your picky little eater. Your solution: The bento box! Little Bento is your ultimate bento guide to planning, preparing, and assembling yummy, wholesome, easy bento box lunches that your kids will actually eat. Say “buh-bye” to the stress of getting your kids to eat, and “hello” to the deliciously simple bento box with:
Over 100 seasonally-inspired bento recipes and 32 photos of fully-assembled bento boxes for easy guidance Expert guidance from mom, food blogger, and bestselling author of Little Foodie, Michele Olivier, who shows you how to make balanced bento meals using the #1 selling kids’ lunch box A weekly bento meal planning worksheet with helpful tips for planning your bento lunches in advance Quick reference bento ingredient lists assist in making safe decisions for food sensitive or allergic eaters.
How to Feed a Family by Laura Keogh
What could be more important to parents than a healthy, well-fed family? As two urban, working moms, Ceri Marsh and Laura Keogh learned quickly how challenging healthy meal-times can be. So they joined forces to create the Sweet Potato Chronicles, a website written for, and by, non-judgmental moms, packed full of nutritious recipes for families.
In the How to Feed a Family cookbook, Laura and Ceri have selected their very favorite recipes, to create a collection of more than 100 for all ages to enjoy. These are recipes that are tailored specifically to families: they are simple, fast, easy-to-follow, and use ingredients that are readily-available at your local grocery store. Ceri and Laura unveil their tried, tested and true tricks for turning nutritious, sophisticated dishes into kid-friendly masterpieces, that will guarantee you success at meal-time, time and time again.