Since the day I found out we were expecting our first child, my view of food and nutrition shifted, and my perspective on food that we brought into our home became this:
“Is this the best thing that we can provide for our family and the best for their growth and development?”
I researched brain growth and development of babies and children extensively, and the foods that supported these the most.
It’s why I tackled the physical hurdle of breastfeeding, some of the most trying months of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I”m a teacher and many, many days I spent my lunch time and planning time pumping. I was determined to do it no matter what. I realize some aren’t able to despite their best efforts and I truly sympathize with that. I am very thankful that it was something I could provide both of my children the first two years of their lives.
We do our best do buy non-GMO, organic and gluten free when we can. We also try to seek out wild-caught seafood and cage-free chicken and eggs as much as possible.
I felt led to share a very clear list of healthy toddler snacks. I know many who feed their children name brand chips, cookies, cakes, candies and they thrive as adults and turn out just fine! So I am in no way condemning anyone’s choices in writing this.
However, I also know that 80% of the immune system is located in the gut and the foods we choose to eat greatly impact our digestion, and therefore our immune system function and overall health. If you share my goal of avoiding the doctor’s office and pharmacy line as much as possible, this shift to eating for wellness has served our family well. My girls have only been to the doctor for well checkups, a broken bone and for my oldest’s migraines which we are now getting a handle on by limiting her sugar and food coloring intake and preventing anxiety.
It may feel like an impossibility at first because may of the companies who produce the popular name brand package foods are a) so heavily advertised and geared toward children and b) have chemicals added to them that not only are harmful to the body, but cause you to crave more of them! You can google search this and find a wealth of evidence to support this. I so wish I was wrong about it.
The good news: You crave whatever you are given. If you are fed healthy food, your body will crave healthy food. The more water you drink, the more water you crave. As your children shift to eating REAL food, they will begin to PREFER IT. Real foods don’t have ingredients, they actually ARE ingredients. Or the ingredients they do have are only real foods. Jamie Oliver, the famous chef, is a huge proponent of this movement. He has done a great deal in his home country to make people more aware of this and to encourage it.
LET THY FOOD BE THY MEDICINE!
Prunes (my kids actually ask for them!)
Applesauce (Organic squeeze from Aldi – lots of flavors!)
Honest Kids Juice
Organic fruit snacks from Aldi
Kettle Chips (love the sea salt ones cooked in avocado oil)
Stonyfield organic yogurt squeezers
Blue cheese crumbles
Bagels + cream cheese
Whole grain Cheerios
Cascadian Farms organic cereal
Popcorn (Newman’s own)
Whole grain toast and butter
Some of our favorite snacks right now:
banana + peanut butter wraps
salami and cheese roll-ups
carrots and hummus
tortilla chips + guacamole
gluten-free pretzel sticks (Snyder’s of Hanover)
Whole grain cheerios
Lindt – Sea Salt Dark Chocolate (one square) + dried mixed berries
Kids puffs from Aldi (no artificial colors/flavors)
Mozzarella + basil + tomatoes + balsalmic/olive oil (caprese salad)
Disclaimer: You you follow me on any social media, you WILL see that I post pics of my girls eating ice cream, donuts, and enjoying Icees. This is because I also believe in moderation. I believe that if I completely deprive them of all of what they perceive to be “life’s pleasures” based on what they see others consuming in their real life and advertised, that they will resent our lifestyle. They are great kids and I see the joy that occasionally allowing these foods brings them. But rest assured, this will always be followed by a detox bath and days of healthy foods before we have them again. 🙂