Real Food For Real Kids: Three Practical Tips

real-food-for-real-kids-tips

Since having kids my life’s been forever changed.

Sleep. Maybe in eighteen years.

A clean house. Is there really such a thing?

Quiet moments in the bathroom. They always find me.

Sweet little kisses and hugs. The precious moments that melt my heart.

Motherhood truly is an amazing job full of challenges, joys, and more responsibilities than one can ever imagine.

One of my greatest responsibilities is the nourishment of my children.

From the moment I held my firstborn in my tired labor-strained arms, I knew our food choices had to change.  Soon, my nightstand was piled high with books such as: Nourishing Traditions, Real Food: What to Eat and Why, and Food Rules. My pantry and fridge were cleaned out. Farmer’s markets, local farms, and a local health food store became my new stomping ground.  Words such as “pastured”, “grass-fed”, “real”, “from scratch”, “raw milk” and “homemade” were added to my vocabulary. Our family experienced the huge impact nourishment from real food can have in the life of a growing child.

My baby, Piper, turns four in three short months. Where does the time go? As Piper gets older and experiences life outside our home and fridge, he’s been introduced to many foods found in the Standard American Diet. From cookies to candy to delivery pizza to chips. We live in the real world and I’m fully aware he’ll partake, at times, in such “food”. At home, I strive to nourish him along with the rest of my family, with real, nutrient-rich food.

real food real kids

Photo Credit: Christina Maldonado Photography

Today, I’m sharing three practical tips to getting real food in real kids. Kids like Piper and Londyn, who live in the real world– exposed to commercials, birthday parties, and aisles of kid-enticing “food”. These tips are tried-and-true, implemented in our home with my real kids.

Three Real Food Tips For Real Kids:

1. Buy Real Food: Introducing kids to where food comes from is essential.  Take them to the market, the health food store, local farms, anywhere you source food. Piper knows every Saturday morning is “Market Day”. In his little mind, that means a balloon, his favorite Belgium Waffle, and lots of colorful fresh veggies and fruit. In fact, my picky little eater can’t resist the myriad of colorful veggies lining the market tables and can often be spotted sampling a crunchy carrot or juicy cucumber.

real food real kids

Photo Credit: Christina Maldonado Photography

Piper also gets $5 every market, his grocery budget. He is encouraged to buy any of the market selections. He faithfully picks carrots most weeks. Does he always eat the food he buys? No, but the rest of the family enjoys partaking in his choices and eventually, I know he will too.

2. Get Cookin’: Children are amazing kitchen helpers. Young children can help by washing and drying food, mixing simple ingredients, and rolling out dough. Older children can cut food, experiment with recipes, and work with kitchen appliances. Both my kids, three and one, love to help prepare dinner. Both find it hard to resist sampling the ingredients as we make our tasty creations. This results in new food discoveries.

The sense of pride gained from helping means they are excited to partake in dinner and share their creations with Dustin and I.

I’ve found these real pint-sized tools to be the most helpful for my little sous chefs: rolling pin, measuring kit, Chef Knife, apron.

real food for real kids

3. Be Prepared: The truth is real food takes work. Waiting until your kids are hungry to think about real food is a recipe for disaster. A plan of attack is essential.  Planning our meals has been one of my greatest challenges. It’s hard to find plans in-print or online which contain kid-friendly real food recipes. Recipes that are delicious, nutrient-rich, and kid-friendly (picky-eater proof).

Breakfast and dinner take most of my planning effort, so when it comes to lunch, I struggle.  The idea of having kid-friendly lunches planned and prepared in advance would be glorious, but who’s got time for that?

I’ve done the work for you. You can find my two week meal plan and shopping list here.

Real food real kids

Those are my simple, tried-and-true tips for getting nutrient-dense, real food in my real kids. My kids aren’t perfect (I know, shocker), but with these simple and consistent steps, my kids are learning that real food is tasty and fun to prepare and eat.

What are your tried-and-true tips for getting real food in your real kids?

Read more:

60 Plus Nutrient-Dense Recipes Every Kid Will Love

Healthy Real Food Lunches for Real Kids: Video Guide & Over 50 Recipes

Is Your Child’s Diet Nutrient-Dense? Five Important Nutrients Children Need

Is Your Child’s Brain Starving?

A Child’s Perspective on Whole Food

The Gift of Real Food

 



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9 Comments

  • Great post! I love your idea to give each child $5 to spend at the farmers’ market!! I may have to use that one when we start going again next Spring. I agree that the biggest way to get kids eating real food is just to BUY REAL FOOD! If that’s all we have at home, that’s all they’re going to eat at home!

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Thank you. Piper really loves the $5 every Saturday. I think it’s the highlight of the market for him. It’s so true, if you stock good food, eventually, kids will eat it!

  • Daja says:

    I love this! Especially #1 with the tip to give your child his own grocery money to spend at the Farmer’s Market. That’s brilliant! Sharing your post on our FB page today!

  • Elizabeth says:

    I have an older daughter, she’s 9 now and fully on board with eating real food, but it was somewhat of a challenge in the beginning. We switched over about a year and a half ago and she was used to eating fast food at least once a week, sometimes even more. Anyway, believe it or not, the way I got her to stop griping about no more fast food was to show her the youtube videos of the pink slime. That really peaked her interest and then she watched me practice my speech for class on GMO’s and Monsanto and now she is my biggest supporter!

  • My daughter also *always* selects carrots (with tops). She’s fascinated by them. Eventually she started eating them too (she’s 5) but the only veggie she’ll really reliably eat is fresh green beans. Probably because they are my favorite veg. I struggle so much with getting them to eat “real food.” I swear even when I have nothing that resembles the typical American diet in the house, what they find/choose to eat is a pretty close facsimile (aka carb strike – will only eat bread, rice, etc).

    • Kristin Marr says:

      Thank you, Brandy. So blessed to hear that. My son is super picky, even though he’s been raised on real food. We just do the best we can. Continuing to offer the real food in our homes and when out and about, and trust they will eventually get more adventurous in their choices. It took Piper nearly two years to eat an egg. Today, he will only eat hard-boiled eggs, but I’m happy. We have a new kids in the kitchen cooking series starting soon, videos for kids, so be on the look out.

  • Kristen says:

    Love this post and your site. I have just subscribed…I needed this. I am struggling with how to get my kids to eat real food…instead of nuggets. You have inspired me…so thank you!

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