Being a mother of four children has taught me more than all my schooling combined. It has also taught me humility! When I started mothering I thought I knew it all, I followed what the "experts" said. And with my first child it was easy, I thought "Hey this parenting stuff isn't so hard". And then came my second child, a boy where I had only been raised with girls. What a wake up call and what a learning experience!
I remember that for a time there was a movement that tried to prove that gender made no difference and that boys could be turned into girls and vice versa. However with the advent of brain scanners researchers found that from birth to adulthood boys and girls are very different in how they learn, how their brains react to different situations, ect.
Ha any mother of many could have told you that! Boys and girls are different in everything they do! And what I have learned is that every child is unique. There are no hard and fast rules that will work for every child. I would have never found that out if I had only had one child. I would have been one of those insufferable prigs of a mother who would have thought she knew everything and that any other mom who's child wasn't the picture of perfection just wasn't as smart as me!
I have three children that are very good about food. They will eat anything put in front of them and try new things without complaint. And then I have one very challenging eater! It is my 9 year old son and from the first day we started feeding him solid food till now eating has been a constant battle of wills. And unfortunately up until recently I have been on the loosing end.
Its not that he just wants to eat junk food, I never have bought much processed food due to the fact that we have always been on a tight budget and so we couldn't have afforded it anyways. I've been cooking home-made foods so long that now I don't like junk foods or highly processed convenience foods and neither do my children because they've never had them. He likes healthy food and will eat tons of what he does enjoy.
I remember how shocked my sister was when my children stayed the night for the first time at her house and she asked if they wanted pop tarts. "What's a pop tart?" they asked. LOL she confronted me like I was cheating them of the finer things in life! I still don't buy pop tarts.
So on to foods he will not eat without dire threats
mixed foods like casseroles
any breads that are not white and smooth
meats that are not plain
As you can see getting important minerals and vitamins into his diet is a challenge. The vitamin part is easy because I can just give him a children's chewable, but did you know that most multivitamins do not contain the very important minerals? And much of our foods are stripped of them as well.
Minerals like magnesium, copper, iron, iodine, and others are absolutely essential to the proper functions of our bodies and yet they are lacking in our soil for food production and that translates into not enough in even the most perfect diet.
So some of the ways I sneak nutrition into my families foods are
None of my children are overweight, in fact they are all healthy and slim and tall so adding nuts isn't a concern calorie wise. Nuts contain huge amounts of essential fatty acids and minerals that you can get nowhere else besides greens. They are easy to sneak into meals and most children love them. The trick is to get RAW nuts. You can find them in many bulk sections and health food stores. The best nuts nutrition wise are almonds and cashews. Also if you don't have time to grind your own Bobs Red Mill brand of flours carries many types of nut meals and flours pre ground. I've notices lots of stores are carrying the brand now, even walmart!
Foods I sneak Nuts into
My home-made Granola mix that the kids love
Breads by adding ground up raw almonds in place of some of the flour
Foods I make that contain nuts
Almond butter instead of peanut butter as peanuts have less nutrition
Home candied almonds make a great high nutrition snack
Other things to sneak into your foods to add nutrition
Cook with olive oil as it adds lots of good fats, use it in baking (the ones labeled light olive oil is best for baked goods), sautéing, frying, as a pan coating for cooking
Natural salts, most salt you buy in the stores has been bleached with chemicals and has anti caking agents added, yuck! Also almost every bit of essential minerals including iodine are stripped from salt which used to be where humans got them. Why do you think everyone who has milk and meat animals provides them with a mineral salt lick? Numerous studies have shown that mineral salt licks are essential to healthy animal growth and production, so duh, humans need it too! The salt companies actually have to add back iodine after processing the salt! But now lots of stores carry natural sea salts, you can tell they are natural because they have color to them from the minerals. I use Himalayan sea salt that has over 45 minerals in it. This is very important!
Wheat germ added to baked goods adds vit E and Folic acid
Apple sauce (sugar free) into baked goods in place of half the fat or sugar
Pumpkin or other squashes into baked goods
I add a cup of greens like spinach to my smoothies and you cant even tell
Whole wheat flour into my home baked goods, even a cup makes a difference