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I know my kids should eat better but I'm too tired to make good food

Does anyone have this problem? It's so much easier to make a grilled cheese and I know they'll eat it. Help. I don't feel like doing anything else.

Thu. Feb 3, 2:13pm

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If I buy junk food, and it is in the house, I will eat it! so I try not to buy junk food anymore.

Start slowly. Your kids will revolt if you try to do a 180 degree turn on them.

Place a bowl of fruit on the table. right now I have a bowl with 4 Apples, 5 oranges, a bunch of bananas, 4 pears, 3 plums, couple of mandarins. I usually replenish this fruit bowl about 2 to 3 times a week. When my 5 year old is hungry, and I'm lazy (shhh!) I tell her she can have a piece of fruit on the table or a yogurt (soy yogurt) in the fridge. She is really excited to serve herself. She also likes Texas Ruby Red Grapefruit. plain. She loves fruit. She won't touch anything green though... except for lettuce. She won't eat tomatoes either. (sighs)

I think if they see us eating well, day in day out, it sinks in. and also, if the only options they have are healthy ones, they will eat the healthy ones. honest!

ease into the healthy foods. if that is all you have in the house, that is all they can eat. it really is that simple.

unless they are teenagers, I suppose...

oh, and my 5 year old eats dinner with us. we do not make a special dinner for her... we may put aside some of the meal before we add curries, chilies and spices, but she pretty much eats the same as us. We pretty much eat the same thing... except for spinach smoothies, she has her smoothies without the spinach, so I make hers first, then I do mine in the blender after and add the greens.

I'd love to hear what other parents do...

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 2:25 PM

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I do the same - keep a fruit bowl on the counter and full all the time - with stuff that's in season. It makes for a simple snack or addition to any meal.

I keep the fridge stocked with prewashed greens - romaine and spinach - and make them small salads several times a week.

I've been making stuffed baked potatoes -filled with broccoli - those are so easy. Add a fruit or salad - an easy meal.

I buy frozen fruit and make fruit smoothies (with spinach added) which they love.

I do all these things and more AND I make them grilled cheese and mac and cheese too, just not for every meal! And it's always served with a fresh fruit or vegetable. Family time and balance - it works for us.

You could boil a pot of whole wheat pasta and have enough for a few meals , add some sauce, serve with a salad or fruit - you have a meal that requires very little effort.

Perhaps rethink 'meals.' It doesn't have to be this big entree with several, cooked sides. Just eating together at home with things that come from your kitchen is a great thing to do for your family - even if it's the occasional grilled cheese (which is fabulous paired with a good soup!) I found that by rethinking meals, we're eating better, we're eating less, and it's a lot easier!

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 3:00 PM

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I hear you!

I totally agree. I had one solution that worked for years for me and that was nachos. Not plain nachos, but supreme nachos. Get everything ready one day, be that onions, peppers, black olives, spinach, meat or similar, cheeses, tomatoes, or anything thing else, then the kids can make nachos on one plate. This way you meal can actually be organic, or natural, with no sink of pots. And tomorrow night too. The fruits and yogurts is perfect too. If you think about the actual and true nutritional info on anything you make compared to anything packaged or picked up, you'll see you are way ahead.


Thursday, February 03, 2011, 6:00 PM

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mmm...a nacho night! Love it! I may have to do that this weekend!

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 6:39 PM

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2:25 here

3:00 - Brilliant with the small salads! I can hide baby spinach leaves in the salad! and I forgot about broccoli! my 5 year old likes to eat "trees."

How did you get your kids to eat the green smoothies? My 5 year old is really turned off by the color. any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 7:19 PM

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Sounds like you just need to get ahead a little

OP, It sounds like you are just really exhausted by the time dinner comes around. Maybe if you get ahead and prep a meal or two over the weekend or on a night when you have time you will find healthy meal making more manageable.
We always have a fruit bowl on the table and have fresh veggies prepped in the fridge for quick bites and easy prep.

As other posters mentioned, nix the junk food and give your kiddos healthy whole food choices. They may not LOVE it right away but they will get the idea and adapt.

Perhaps also try stocking your pantry with staples that you can use to whip up a meal in a flash. Canned organic beans, vegetable stock, rice, lentils, tomatoes... these guys all cook quickly and can be made into sauce or soup or filling for tacos. Fast, easy and shelf stable! I totally support fresh and local produce too, but it sounds like you need a quick solution and having these things on hand will be a step towards success!

For meals other than dinner just keep thinking simple and fresh. There's nothing faster than fresh veg and bean dip or a gorgeous, wrapper-less piece of juicy fruit! I don''t know if you're a meat eater or veg, but I find that vegan eating is just super easy and healthy for my family. You will find what works for you. When we switched about 5 years ago I found that everything got simple and prep went from overly time consuming to easy. Wash, chop and eat!

Try to make small changes every day. Your confidence will build as you witness your kids accepting fresh whole foods. Try getting them in the kitchen with you --- my guys cook with me and while it doens't get anything on the table faster, it is educational for them and fun for me! (They always want to try what they've made and have a real sense of pride when they are they chef!)


Thursday, February 03, 2011, 7:30 PM

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2:25, this is 7:30 --- My kids have green smoothies every day, sometimes twice a day! They are 4 and 8 and now pick their own ingredients, but when they started I was making them simple smoothies with organic baby spinach, blueberries and cocoa powder. The cocoa powder makes the smoothie taste like chocolate, which is palatable to most kids. It also changes the color from kermit the frog green to an earthy brown. Add more blueberries with the cocoa powder and you have a pleasing purple! The key is the color! Banana is also an addition that will take over flavor wise. Pineapple is another.

Try making a color menu for your kids and name it things like "Yummy Yellow" and "Groovy Green" to make it fun for them to choose the color of their fruits and smoothies. Involve them in fruit and veg selection and let them guess what the final color of the smoothie will be.

Making it fun changes everything!

Thursday, February 03, 2011, 7:35 PM

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It's so important to get those fruits and veggies into our kids but not always easy. Every kid likes different things but here are some quick, easy things that work for our family. Strangely, my kids love tomatoes but not tomato sauce (except on pizza) so I always keep store-bought pesto sauce in the fridge which they love on pasta. If you have ever made pesto you know that there is a good amount of basil in a small serving. We keep the freezer stocked with bags of cut-up fruit (organic when the budget allows) for smoothies. This is a great way to save fruits that are getting over-ripe, especially bananas. My kids won't eat spinach but they like smooth soups so I nuke a box of frozen creamed spinach then puree it in a blender with some water or stock. They love to float those little oyster crackers in their soup. My son hates the texture of beans and lentils but once I puree a can of organic lentil soup into a smooth soup he eats it happily (with oyster crackers of course). Those skinny persian cucumbers are a big hit in my family but they don't last very long in the fridge. I leave the skin on, slice them into long spears and serve little cups of their favorite salad dressing for dipping. My kids love to munch on raw fennel which seems to have a decent shelf life in the fridge. Frozen edamame are quick and easy also. Of course it's always best to buy and prep fresh vegetables but it definitely takes time to shop and prep. Hopefully some of these suggestions will appeal to your kids.

Friday, February 04, 2011, 11:14 AM

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These ideas are great!! I love the cut up fruit and vegetables. Throw it on the table as the appetizer and get the kids full.

Saturday, February 05, 2011, 1:54 PM

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ketchup is an amazing tool to help kids eat better. Best of all it is all made for you!

Saturday, February 12, 2011, 6:00 PM

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This new PEERtrainer article discusses some adjustments you can make to help you feel less tired. It works!

How To Stop Feeling Tired


Friday, September 02, 2011, 1:25 PM

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This is me! This is totally me. I want to stop feeling tired so badly.

Saturday, September 03, 2011, 12:46 PM

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I have several thoughts about this, #1 Drink more, haha no not a bud lite, I mean drink more water. A lot of times we think we are tired when in fact we are dehydrated!!
#2 Plan ahead, I write out our weekly menu on a sheet of paper on the fridge on Sunday. I write out next to each day if there is anything special on that day, like say, church Wed night. So I know ahead of time what nights we will be rushed. I then can plan ahead what easy healthy meal we can have that night for dinner. I use the crockpot at least 3 days a week since we have very busy schedules. I can put all the ingred. in the crockpot in the morning before work and then I can open a bag of salad when I get home and dinner is ready! Go to the public library and get yourself some crockpot cookbooks. There is one and I am sorry I can't remember the name of it but it is like "5 ingred. cooking" or something. You are responsible for keeping your kids healthy! Remember, they will grow up to be just like you :) So let them see you planning ahead and eating healthy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011, 11:37 PM

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