Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sneaky Nutrition Part I

Doesn't that sound terrible to have to use sneaky and nutrition in the same title? I mean really, nutrition should never be sneaky. It should be right out in the open and whole nutritious food should be celebrated! Unfortunately that is not how it works in the land of children. Children eat for completely different reasons than adults do. It starts as hunger for them and then it's a feast of the eyes and nose. If it looks pretty and smells fragrant you are in. That is why the shelves in your grocery store are lined with brightly colored boxes of dyed food that contain less than zero nutrition and yet they are bestsellers. So I thought it might be fun from time to time if Shannan and I shared some ways that we are "sneaking" in some nutrition at home.

Some of my latest adventures include:

  • Adding avocado to tuna fish. Now the first hurdle to overcome of course is getting your child to eat tuna. I have one who like myself loves tuna and she and I have it quite often. The other day I took a few slices of avocado and mashed it in with the tuna. It make it really creamy. L. was a little skeptical as she didn't like the way the avocado smelled, but I told her it was very healthy and she would love it. She ate the whole sandwich and declared it the best tuna sandwich ever! By the way, avocados are chock full of nutrition with at least 20 different vitamins and minerals. It's also a great source of monounsaturated fat (the good kind) which helps with absorption of those fat-soluble nutrients and gives you tons of energy to conquer your day.
  • Letting them eat shelled peanuts on the kitchen floor. This one was a little more difficult for me, but it worked. I want the kids to eat more nuts and whole grains. Unfortunately, nuts are small, brown, hard, unattractive, and don't really smell great. Therefore they are not interested! So, I had a crazy idea to buy peanuts in the shell and let them peel them open and eat them. It worked. They had so much fun tearing into the peanuts that they didn't realize how many of the little peanuts they were consuming in the process. Of course I had a bit of a mess to clean up, but nothing a dustpan and broom couldn't handle. Hopefully they will realize how much they really like peanuts and I won't have to let them shell them forever! Peanuts by the way are a wonderful source of plant protein with 6.7 grams in an ounce. They are again a wonderful source of monounsaturated fat. Peanuts are a great source of fiber. One handful of peanuts contains 9% of your total fiber intake for the day. Wow! They also contain a ton of vitamins and minerals that your body needs.
  • Adding dates to our Green Smoothies. We continue to love making Shannan's Green Smoothies and I'm always experimenting with new things to add. This week I added three or four dates to the smoothie and blended them in. Those dates increased the sweet factor by 100%. L. couldn't believe I was letting her drink something so sweet. Dates contain about 20 vitamins and minerals and a surprising amount of protein. They contain 2g of protein for every 3-4 ounces of dates. I know commercial smoothies contain alot of sugar and the kids love that. If you add some dates to your smoothie they will not miss the sugar and the nutrition they will receive from the dates is fantastic.

Well that's it for now. We will keep you updated as new sneaky nutrition tips become available! Until then, Happy Sneaking!



inneedofgrace said...

I'm smiling thinking aobut the kids shelling peanuts on the floor. You're my kind of mom.
Getting kids to eat healthy is a real challenge - mine are just about grown now - 20 and 17. One thing I've found with the kids who hung out at my house is that having fresh fruits and vegetables around and accessible works. I almost always have a bowl of grapes in the fridge as well as celery sticks, baby carrots, green and red peppers, etc and I'm amazed that some of my kids' friends who never eat vegetables will dive into grapes and celery - or apple and orange slices like they're potato chips.
Have a great day!

Shannan and Karla said...

Hello inneedofgrace! I know, having a ready supply of edible fruits and vegetables on hand always helps. It's a lot more work, but definitely worth it. Happy New Year!

Shannan and Karla said...

I am proud to report that the only empty bowl at our New Year's party was the raw veggies. Our kids ate more veggies and fruit than anything else there!
- Shannan

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