Help! What Should I Feed Our Children?
One morning you open your front door to get the newspaper and stumble over a beautifully wrapped package. In amazement you open this gift and find nestled inside a pure, white bunny. Around its neck is a little note that reads… “This is a special gift from heaven for you. I want you to take care of it for me. I trust you to make sure it grows big and strong. From your heavenly Father.” Wow! After receiving this gift, I’m sure you’d be off to the library to research the best food to feed your bunny.
Let’s bring this imaginary world back to reality. If you are a mother, God has visited you, and blessed you with a beautiful gift (or gifts) from His creative hands. Each miracle of life was carefully chosen for you to help nourish and nurture them to healthy maturity. This is a heavy responsibility, not something to take lightly or do nonchalantly. It should not be a burden, but an exciting challenge that God, the Creator of life, has entrusted to us. We are to nurture this seed of life from conception onwards.
We are talking about human life, not bunnies, so why don’t we raise them healthily? Is it because it’s so easy, in our busy lives, to drive through McDonalds, or buy pre-packaged, devitalized junk? Is it because everyone else does it, so it must be okay?
Would we give fruit loops (full of dye and over 50% sugar), or some white processed bread (basically no more nutrients than cardboard, no matter how much it is chemically enriched), and some pop, to our little bunny and hope for the best? Of course we wouldn’t. We would feed it the healthiest bunny food possible, and not take any chances. So why do we feed our precious children whatever rubbish is convenient, and maybe appease our conscience with a smattering of fruit, and a daily bright orange vitamin in the shape of a cartoon character? One day it dawned on me that I cannot gamble with my children’s health. God assigned me this very job.
Who’s the Best Fed?
The sad realization is that most pets are fed nutritionally better than a lot of children. There are many advertisements for special vet recommended dog food, filled with a myriad of vitamins and minerals. Food advertisements for children are almost always for a new brand of sugar-frosted cereal or a processed, packaged meal like macaroni and cheese. Who would dream of filling their dog’s drinking dish with coke? Yet it is not a shocking thing to see a glass of pop poured out for a child! What a sad mix up.
In most restaurants the children’s menu has nothing that you could call nourishing. Cheeseburgers, fries, chicken nuggets dunked in greasy batter, and pizza are the usual fair. Young children are being filled with garbage, not fit for an animal, and suffer discomforts like obesity, allergies, skin disorders, headaches, tummy aches, earaches, anemia, fatigue, moodiness (which is frequently diet related) and even hyperactivity. This last complaint is sometimes sadly mistaken for A.D.D. and then the children have to live on drug medication which destroys living cells - all because of the dead junk food we put in their bodies to begin with!
As mothers, we need to ask ourselves; are we poisoning our children through today’s accepted diet? We do live in an imperfect world and there are things beyond our control. God is our ultimate trust, not our diet. I believe however, that what we “can do” we “should do”.
I love the Scripture in Psalm 144:12 TLB that describes the children in a nation that God blesses, “Sons vigorous and tall as growing plants. Daughters of graceful beauty like the pillars of a palace wall.” To have our children be described this way, our sons would need to be fit and vigorous, and our daughters would have to be in shape, elegant and strong. We can only fulfill this verse by feeding our children in the right way.
Out with the Whites!
Let’s get down to the nitty-gritty. What foods do we need to eliminate from our children’s diet. What are the main offenders? I like to call them “the whites” – all white flour products, white rice, white sugar, white pasta and all white foods that were meant to be brown. These foods are poisons and give our children nothing but a clogged colon. Denatured white products are molecularly altered from the way God made them.
White flour mixed with water is an old glue recipe that has been used for years with paper mache making. White bread is nothing but GLUE!
White sugar is a drug, which is seriously addictive and is the culprit in many behavioral problems. It destroys our children’s immune defense from warding off illness. The average American child consumes 33 teaspoons of sugar per day, hidden in the food we feed them; not counting sugar that is added afterward. This is easy to achieve when you consider a lot of the packaged cereal is 50% refined sugar, and even daily items like bread and peanut butter contain sugar. Nearly every pre-packaged food item in a regular grocery store is brimming with sugar, not to mention a myriad of other preservatives, food dyes, and chemicals. Get rid of all the processed junk. It’s dead, lifeless and won’t nourish lively children, full of health and gusto.
What we put in our children’s cups is also filled with sugar and other deadly substances. This includes our babies’ bottles. Most of the formulas on the market are laden with corn syrup, which is a refined sugar. Pop is a chemical cocktail and can start to corrode a 10-penny nail or a baby tooth if left in overnight. Can you imagine what it is doing to our children’s insides? Train your children to drink water.
Away with Pickiness!
Eating habits like refusing to eat crusts, wasting food, and general pickiness are habits of an unhappy eater. Children who will not eat their sandwich if it is not cut in a particular way, or who will not eat foods that have different texture, are often the children who do not enjoy their foods. They get in a habit of moaning, and nothing seems to satisfy them. They always want something else because they are allowed to choose. Children who are made to eat whatever is cooked for the family are a lot happier at the dinner table. They learn to enjoy a wide variety of different foods and textures, and have a broader, healthier palate than children eating packet macaroni and cheese and the like.
Remember, you in control of what your children eat, not your children. You are the one who buys the food and prepares the meals. Do not let that control slip over to them. When I was growing up we were taught to thankfully eat what was put in front of us. Today, overworked mothers are making two or three different meals for different family members.
Another area to work on with our children is self-control regarding food. They can’t have every thing they want, when they want it, or be catered to every whim. This training also helps when you are guests at other people’s meal tables, as the children will be grateful for whatever is served.
A World of Fun and Flavors
It is never too late to start! Train your children to love fresh produce when they are young. Children are naturally inclined to these foods, if not introduced to junk food. Serve lots of raw fruit. Arrange in funny faces, throw in delicious smoothies, freeze and whip into dessert treats, or eat whole – they are perfect for little hands to grip.
Give your children lots of raw, colorful fresh veggies such as carrot sticks with a yummy healthy dip. My three-year-old and I love to eat corn, raw and sweet, straight off the cob. Of course theses foods are a little harder for younger toddlers, but creativity can make it work. When I make my 15-month little girl her meals, I try and incorporate raw vegetables as much as possible. For example, I put a peeled and cored apple in the blender and add a few lettuce leaves. The sweetness of the apple makes a delightful taste and the lettuce is already pre-chewed. I also throw in some sprouts or other super foods in her blended concoctions. The sweet fruit makes almost anything palatable.
My three-year-old loves salad. I told him that it is cool because it is dinosaur food as the big dinosaurs ate lots of greens. He loves dinosaurs, so he devours it. I cut the yummy dinosaur food finely, add crunchy seeds, nut sprinkles, and homemade zesty dressings that he helps me make in the blender. We add sprouts that he helps grow, and he feels part of the whole process.
Make it fun! Hand out raw little trees (broccoli) with a fun dip, celery with peanut or almond butters, and raisins (wash them well if they are not organic). Slice fresh yellow squash thinly in rounds for crunchy chips to dip in whatever your imagination can dream up e.g. guacamole, fresh salsa, and cheesy tofu spread (recipe included).
Green is Great!
Get your children comfortable with “green.” Use whatever tactic you think will work. My son thinks green foods are the coolest. I make him delectable smoothies with frozen banana, purified water, almonds, a little honey, and whatever else I want to throw in. It is always bright green, however, because I also add “spiralina” which is a super food, full of protein, vitamins and minerals including B12. It also is a cancer fighter. You cannot taste the spiralina because of the banana and other goodies, but it is GREEN! We call this drink “army drink”. Arden thinks it is groovy, because it is green like all the camouflage army stuff and makes soldiers strong.
He is really into swords, and when I give him his “barley green”, (a health supplement), he takes it straight from the spoon, and asks for more when I say with a real exuberant voice, “Time for sword fighting powder to give you big muscles!”
My children love “army ice-cream” which is frozen bananas whipped into the most delicious ice cream with a teaspoon of spiralina, and whatever else you want - maybe some tahini, or peanut butter, or a dash of vanilla. It is truly the best guilt-free ice cream you could serve for breakfast! Of course, you can call it “princess food” for the little girls (explaining how this food helps keep you pretty as a princess.)
Sprout! Children love to water them and watch them grow. You can throw them in their smoothies for an extra boost and they won’t even know it. Raw is best, but you can also bake chickpea sprouts at 350 for 15 minutes with some zesty flavors for a crunchy treat instead of potato chips. My little ones like to carry them around in their own little zip lock pouch and snack on them here and there. They are really fun with their little tails hanging down and they taste great. I call them “tadpoles” for my bug-loving boy.
Use honey, fruit juice, blackstrap molasses or stevia instead of sugar. Lower the amount of meat and dairy in their diets, as they are high in cholesterol and fat, and contain no fiber whatsoever. If they are not farm raised, they are also filled with hormones. There are purer and higher sources of protein and calcium to be found in the plant kingdom. Incorporate beans, lentils, and whole grains into mealtimes on the nights you don’t serve meat. Purchase a vegetarian cookbook and make some hearty chilies with these healthful staples. Give tofu a second chance. With the right recipes, it is tasty, and healthy.
Have fun with a “baked potato bonanza” party night. Bake plenty of taters and have an assortment of dips, dunkers, sprinkles, and sauces. Eating healthy is fun. I get excited even writing about it. It will be a challenge at times, but don’t see it as a burden. It is an exciting task to raise our children as healthy as we possibly can for God.
Start them out Right!
Breast milk is all a baby needs for the first nine months, unless it is a specially hungry baby who may want to start at six months. When you first start solids, start them with raw foods. Mash a banana, or an avocado, peel a very soft pear and let them suck it to the core, or make raw apple-sauce by blending peeled and cored apples. It’s a lot healthier than store-bought baby food that has been cooked and shelved for who knows how long. After they have tackled fresh fruit, steam and mash veggies for them.
When they are ready for finger foods, put little mounds of grated veggies on their high chair tray and let them go to town. Cube soft melon in season. Bake tofu fingers (see recipe). Make home made hot cereal – grind millet, oats, quinoa, brown rice etc. in blender and cook with water until soft. Forget the packet white rice infant cereal – it will only constipate your little one.
Always be positive. Be excited about the foods you are preparing for your children. Teach them the names of the produce, and tell them what it will do for them. My three-year-old likes to sit on the counter as I prepare the food. I get him to say the names of the vegetables I am cutting up, and I tell him about them with an enthusiastic tone. Now I hear him running around telling his little friends, “I ike abacado. It gween and God made it for me cause it good, and it make me swong and have musckles.”
Always return a negative remark with a positive. When my son tells me he doesn’t like apple (or some other food) I say, “Yes you do, of course you do. God made it for us. I love it and daddy loves it.” I then go on serving it to him as if he never said it.
I know there are things that some people truly don’t like and I would never force something upon a child that would literally make them vomit. But, when our children are young, we train their taste buds. If we don’t train them, who will? Their peers? TV advertising?
God is with us and he will help us do it! He will give us the strength, ideas, and motivation. Let’s raise strong and healthy children who can be used by God, unhindered by common ills. Let’s teach our children to enjoy food the way God made it for them. Let’s raise thankful, happy eaters.
Serene’s Healthy Snacks for Children:
2 packages of silken firm tofu
1 12oz can of 100 percent juice concentrate
Handful of fresh fruit, e.g. strawberries
Blend in blender and pour into Popsicle molds
(You could use apple concentrate with strawberries, or pineapple concentrate with banana, etc.)
This is fast alternative to dairy yogurt for children with lactose intolerance.
1 package of silken tofu
Lemon juice to taste for tartness
1 tsp. honey or more
Fresh fruit of choice, e.g. strawberries, blueberries, peaches, cherries.
Natural vanilla essence for vanilla yogurt.
Blend, and enjoy by itself, or with granola.
(This is actually Evangeline’s recipe that we all use).
In coffee grinder or blender mix
1/2 cup Nutritional yeast
½ cup raw sesame seeds
½ tsp. sea salt
Blend until well mixed.
Add to all foods, e.g. salads, soups, especially good on popcorn.
Creamy Cream Cheese
1 packet of regular tofu
Handful of sunflower seeds
1 recipe of Savory Sprinkle
Three squirts of Braggs Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
Extra handful of Nutritional Yeast for extra cheesy flavor
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
Dried or fresh herbs, e.g. chives, basil or dill
Blend with in food processor or hand held blender
Put on crackers, sandwiches, in celery, or make lettuce burritos.
1 cup sprouts your children have made
1 cup of sprouted grain, e.g. spelt, wheat
1 cup raisins
1 cup almonds
4 Tbs. Coconut
Blend in food processor. Put almonds in first so they are well ground. You may need a few Tbs. of water to keep disk moving. It will not blend into a paste unless the sprouts are lengthy – full two or three day’s growth.
Shape into logs and roll in coconut. They will keep for three weeks in the refrigerator, or can be frozen. These bars are high in nutrition and iron, and full of protein and vitamins. Even your young children can be involved in the sprouting process and rolling the bars in coconut.
Baked Tofu Fingers
Cut up tofu food into finger sized strips
Marinate in Braggs Liquid Aminos and other seasonings, as you desire, e.g. garlic powder, onion powder, herbs etc.
Sprinkle with Nutritional Yeast
Place on baking try and bake or non-stick skillet until firm on both sides.
Dinosaur Mud Balls
Place in a bowl the following ingredients:
¾ cup tahini (ground sesame paste)
¾ cup carob
1 Tbs. Honey
½ cup raisins
½ - 1 cup nuts or seeds as you desire
Mix together and roll into balls and put on plate. Place in freezer until hard. Remove to container and take one whenever you feel the inclination.
Nana Balls (This is what the grandchildren call my mother’s CHEWY OAT BALLS)
Melt together 1 cup honey and ½ cup butter (soy butter for vegetarians) Or you can use tahini instead of butter.
Take off the heat and add the following:
4 cups rolled oats
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup dried apricots (use the unsulphured brand)
You can also add raisins, dates, nuts, and preserved ginger as you wish. If I don’t have apricots on hand, I leave them out and use something else.
Add sufficient milk powder to bind the mixture (about ¾ cup)
Wet your hands and roll into balls and then roll in coconut.
Place on plate in fridge or freezer until hard and then transfer to container. Keep in fridge or freezer as you wish.