So, you’ve fallen in love with the idea of raw foods. You start arriving at home with grocery bags billowing with greens, fruit and veggies. You are optimistic and hopeful that your new healthy habits will catch hold in the family and then someone screams,
“I WANT SPAGHETTI!”
Granted, transformation doesn’t take place overnight, but if you’re trying to increase the fruit and veggie consumption on the home-front, these tips may help the process along:
1. Avoid Criticism At All Costs and Simply Be the Change You Want To See
Ghandhi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We don’t need to inflict or impose our changes on our loved ones. Just embrace the positive changes yourself, enjoy the new-found energy and health and offer, don’t insist.
Making others feel “wrong” for their food choices is unhealthy in itself. Talking about the evil poisons of cooked foods when others you love are eating it is poisonous. Don’t make raw food a religion or you will create resentment and hostility. Just beam in your fruit and veggie glow and create a positive space for others around you.
So, that’s what you *say* and the environment you create. Here’s what you DO, even if ever so subtly, to promote the consumption of massive amounts of fruit and veggies in your home:
2. Make Fresh Fruit and Veggies Easily Available Often
Leave billowing bowls of melon, grapes and other fruit out on the counter for grazing. The fact is, sometimes kids are just too busy to want to stop. I often will stick a gigantic bowl of berries, sliced apples or other favorite fruit in the middle of my kids’ play space. I’ll come back half an hour later to be delighted by the sight of an empty bowl. I know that if I’d called them to come upstairs and eat that same bowl, they’d have told me they weren’t hungry, or gobbled 5 quick bites before racing to get back to their game.
Don’t worry about your kids “ruining” their appetite for supper by feeding them wholesome snacks of fresh fruit and vegetables. If they’re not hungry for “supper,” it’s because their nutritional needs have already been met by the best foods on the planet. So relax, smile, and know you’ve done them and their bodies a service.
3. Make It Beautiful
There is no food more beautiful and colorful than raw fruit and vegetables. Nature intended them to be this way to get our attention! The best chefs in the world know this and use slivers and slices of them to make their platters beautiful.
So what happens when you bring a rainbow of fruit and vegetables together at the table?
Eyes light up and mouths open in sequence.
You can do some fancy research online if you want, but with the use of some bigger fruits that can hold the weight, kebab sticks and sliced fruit of all shapes, colors and flavors, you can make edible works of art with your food. Not only is this a fun activity that is likely to get the kids involved with their food and nibbling while they work, but food that looks good is simply more enjoyable to eat.
4. Blend it!
The best way to get lots of fruit and veggies into those little critters is by conducting science experiments with the blender together. So, everything I’ve said above about looking pretty, just forget it. It doesn’t apply here. We’re in for the full flavor experience when pulling out the blender. This is also a more cost effective way of consuming fruits, because you can use frozen fruits blended with fresh fruit for some dynamite combos.
Skip the soymilk, honey and protein powder. There is nothing more tasty than bananas and frozen strawberries blended together with a bit of water.
Adding things like soymilk, does not make for easy digestion. Fruit digests quickly and easily in the body. It’s better to keep concentrated sources of protein out of the mix, or the result is fermentation and gas – NO ONE wants that.
VERY IMPORTANT: Don’t forget the straw: You’ll need a thick one, but they’ll always eat more with a straw.
5. Get Creative
You can put things like spinach leaves into a fruit smoothie and still get an amazing taste! If you’re going to experiment with greens in your smoothies, stick to the leafy greens. Things like lettuce, spinach, chard, and even parsley will mix well and cause no digestive upset at all. But I wouldn’t recommend a banana-broccoli combo. Celery also blends well with all fruit.
The first time I decided to try these green smoothies on my kids, I was nervous. They looked at it a bit strangely, but as soon as I told them I’d battled aliens in the back yard, then broke into their spaceship and stole their recipes, and that this recipe was their favorite, they grabbed the cup out of my hands before I could say, “Alien Juice.”
I don’t care if you call it Shrek’s Swamp Slime, or The Grinch’s Grumpy-Busting Cocktail, get creative. Make health a game and you will be blessed with happier, healthier, calmer, more emotionally balanced children.
Start now by substituting processed snacks and sugary treats that are void of nutritional value, with nature’s perfect foods and you will immediately see the difference in your children yourself.
For me, health is the best gift we can give our children, and to see them live disease-free lives in a body that thrives on good food, is the best gift they can give to me.