Making Eating Healthy Easy as a Family [Episode #829]
This week’s topic is: Making Eating Healthy Easy as a Family
I want to stress the easy part because the way I eat with my family, which is the direct inspiration for today’s show, is not about complicated recipes. It’s not about endlessly searching different apps and figuring and calculating and doing really complicated meal planning. It’s actually really simple steps that I’ve been working on for the past seven years as my older son is seven now, and I’m very excited to share with you today.
This show also applies to you if you don’t have kids, if you have kids, if you have nieces and nephews, if it’s you and your roommates, you and your partner. I want to stress that we use the term family here quite broadly in our community. This is a show I think that applies to everyone, and it’s been my experience in wellness and working directly with so many different clients and different types of people, and of course busy people and people juggling a lot, which is a lot of us that if something isn’t simple and easy, we don’t tend to follow through with it.
Simple and easy are the foundation, healthy and nutritious, ideally organic, however, not necessarily right. We’re doing the best that we can with what’s available and what’s within our budget, and it’s accessible because it’s going to be simple. And I have some really practical tips I’m very excited to share with you today.
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Namaste loves and welcome back to our Monday solo cast show where our topic today is Making Eating Healthy Easy as a Family. And I want to stress the easy part because the way I eat with my family, which is the direct inspiration for today’s show, is not about complicated recipes. It’s not about endlessly searching different apps and figuring and calculating and doing really complicated meal planning. It’s actually really simple steps that I’ve been working on for the past seven years as my older son is seven now, and I’m very excited to share with you today. This show also applies to you if you don’t have kids, if you have kids, if you have nieces and nephews, if it’s you and your roommates, you and your partner. I want to stress that we use the term family here quite broadly in our community, of course. So this is a show I think that applies to everyone, and it’s been my experience in wellness and working directly with so many different clients and different types of people, and of course busy people and people juggling a lot, which is a lot of us that if something isn’t simple and easy, we don’t tend to follow through with it.
(01:30): So simple and easy are the foundation, healthy and nutritious, ideally organic, but not necessarily right. We’re doing the best that we can with what’s available and what’s within our budget, but it is accessible because it’s going to be simple. And I have some really practical tips I’m very excited to share with you today.Before we go deeper in, just wanted to give you a reminder that over on our website, mysolluna.com, you can submit questions for our Thursday q and a show and there’s tons of articles and easy plant-based recipes and amazing digestion products, courses, articles, meditations, and more.
Solocast: Making Eating Healthy Easy as a Family
Okay, so let’s get into our show today about healthy eating as a family. Now, I want to share with you upfront that it’s very important that as the heads of the family, if there are little ones that we are demonstrating healthy eating, that we are not having to be perfect, but we can’t tell our kids not to drink soda all day if we’re guzzling down the Sprite.
(02:41): We have to really live what we preach and it would perhaps be easier and most definitely. So actually, if both parents ate the same way and believed in the same sort of dietary principles, that would be ideal. I want to with you that this is not the case in my family as most all of, and my kids are plant-based. They’ve been plant-based since conception and I’ve been plant-based now for over 15 years. My husband, when we met did become plant-based when he was trying to woo me. We just had our four year wedding anniversary a few days ago actually. And then, excuse me, and then he sort of went back into an omnivore esque diet. He’s tried different iterations and I will say that for the past few weeks he has been doing a full carnivore diet, which has helped him lose weight. Everybody has their own goals, their own journey.
(03:53): It’s definitely not my preference. I’ve expressed to him many times my concerns about him not eating any fiber, his gut microbiome. Believe me, we’ve had these discussions, but at the end of the day, I know it’s a short-term program. And the bigger thing here is that everybody really is on their own journey. So it’s very stressful if we’re trying to convince somebody and create this energy of right, wrong. So in our family, we have conversations, and it’s funny because we have a book, it’s in Hawaii and it’s called Vegan is Love, and it’s all about how eating plant-based is really great for the environment and great for the animals and how all animals really want to live. And then there’s this page with meat and different cuts of meat and fish and they’ll point at it and they’ll be like, Papa eats that. And so we explain, it’s not right or wrong, but this is papa’s choice and this is how papa ate growing up and he really enjoys it.
(04:58): He’s a bit addicted to me and this is how it is. So I just want to share that no one has this overly easy situation. It’s not always exactly perfect, but we do our best, whether that’s the parents eat differently or we’re out of the house a lot of the time, it’s very difficult to create meal prep or different schedules or whatever it is. I just want to say that it is possible to bridge to find the bridges of unity and connection and to still come together and still to create that healthiness. So right now, my husband’s on this very extreme diet. He’s not having any vegetables at all. We still eat dinner together. And to be honest, it’s easier now this season in Hawaii, we eat outside because it is quite challenging for me to smell the food and to see just this huge plate of one thing versus any sort of variety.
(06:01): But this is where we have to sink down into our hearts, into our true self and say trying to push someone differently from where they are doesn’t really help. So we want to be respectful of where people are. When it comes to our little ones though, of course they need our guidance and they need our examples. So if one of the parents is, or someone around your kids or someone in the family is dieting or doing something that you may not necessarily choose for yourself, let’s say, or you may not necessarily think is the best option, again for ourselves, we just have to have honest conversations with our kids and say, this is what Bob is doing for a short time. This is his choice, whatever it is. So it’s not shoved underneath, it’s not talked about. And our kids can ask questions and they’re very curious and just sort of see that, oh, mama eats differently than papa.
(07:02): And then we have very open conversations about plants and we grow our own food and we talk about how important it is to eat from nature. So there’s a lot of conversation about why we do eat healthy is the way I define it, and we define it here in our community, which is lots of natural foods, a wide variety of plant-based foods, fibrous full of vitamins and antioxidants and a wide variety variety of nutrients. So it’s really important for their bodies. We just went to our checkup with a pediatrician and it was amazing that they’re so healthy, exceptionally healthy. And my older son is the 75th percentile for weight. So yes, on a plant-based diet, our kids have their natural body shape and their body type and their weight, and they can get very enough calories, enough protein, all of that. So back to some practical tips here that I wanted to share with you besides the importance of communication, sharing with your kids, how the parents eat if they’re different, and just why healthy eating is important.
(08:09): So they know, right? We want to have more energy, we want to run faster in your sports, you want to not get sick, you want to feel good. However you want to explain it to them. It’s really important because that’s a missing piece I think for a lot of parents and a lot of people is just thinking, oh, eating healthy is drudgery. I don’t know why I’m doing this. It’s almost like my mom makes me eat these carrots and I don’t get it. So we also talk about colors and how important the colors are. And spirit created nature, mother nature, however you like to phrase it, created all these colors and there’s so many health giving properties and all the colors. So my first practical tip is, or one of them I guess you could say the communication was also a practical tip, but is to lay out all different types of cutup veggies of
Speaker 2 (08:55): Colors on the table for when your kids get home from school. And again, if you don’t have kids, this is great for roommates, spouses, partners, whatever. Just lay them out on the table. And what you’ll notice is that your kids will gravitate towards certain veggies and without thinking too much, they’re starting to play. They’re unpacking their backpack, whatever they’re doing, they’ll start to eat some of those particular veggies. Now this is great information because those are the ones they’re naturally drawn towards. So I’ll notice when my older son, Emerson is eating a lot of carrots right now and my younger son eats a lot of bell peppers and he loves cauliflower. That means that I’m not going to get a school lunch back with a bunch of ea green beans or ate celery because he actually liked that a few months ago. But it shifts.
(09:47): So when I put it out on the table, it gives me a natural barometer of what their favorites are right now. And I don’t know about you, I don’t know about your kids in particular, but I can say for mine that they go in phases. And so it’s easier back to our title to go with their natural flow instead of fighting them, you have to eat the broccoli, you have to eat the broccoli. My kids went through a broccoli phase and they’re not in it right now. And I’ll try again and I’ll keep trying and introducing, but I’ve just found that they’re in their natural cycles and I would rather promote the veggies and the healthier plant foods that are easier for them to eat for everyone’s sake. So try it for yourself. Try cutting up a bunch of veggies and noticing what your kids family members are drawn to.
(10:37): The second principle here that I want to talk about, the next actual food principle that’s a core part of our community is smoothies. And we have so many different smoothies ingredients in our house. And depending where you live, it might be getting a little cooler. It’s not where I live right now. We’re still having a lot of daily smoothies. So my younger son loves acai. We actually have bowls, we call it acai soup. He’ll have that as part of his breakfast. My older son loves mangoes and he loves blueberries, so I make very simple smoothies for them, and they love to make the smoothies together as a family with hemp milk or coconut milk, the frozen blueberries, banana and raw honey from our farm in Hawaii. And it’s really fun for them and they like it really thick, so they eat it with a spoon.
(11:33): It tastes like ice cream, but of course it’s not. And frozen fruit is one of those foods that’s flash frozen at the moment of peak ripeness. So it actually has a pretty good amount of nutrition, even if it’s not fresh. It’s arguably far better than getting un fruit that’s been shipped across the world and has been picked well before it’s been ripened, meaning it’s not going to get any extra nutrients from the tree because it’s been picked so early. So I would say that frozen fruit is a wonderful thing to stock at home, and you can make unquote ice cream or very thick varieties for your kids, which are fun and replace a lot of sweets and you can make them together. So again, similarly to the vegetables, I recommend stocking your freezer with lots of different types of raw fruit, whether it’s mangoes, blueberries, strawberries.
(12:32): We also have frozen bananas, acai, so on and so forth. And my next tip is to make food fun and not just healthy. So we have a couple recipes that we like to make together, very simple, but one of them is guacamole. My older son loves to mash the avocados. My kids love to make trail mix and to put the raisins together with the cashews, the goji berries, whatever we put together, they like to mix things together. Sometimes they’ll help them mix the salads. We’re not chopping or cutting quite yet. I think there is some safer knives they use at Waldorf, my older son’s school system that he’s in. But at home I just find it easier and it still makes me a little nervous to do more of the mixing. The tossing together. They help me add ingredients in to the bowl. They measure out if we’re making pancakes or we’re making cookies, which we definitely make.
(13:38):So it’s not that we’re not having treats, but when I do make cookies, I use brown rice flour or almond flour or buckwheat flour, some sort of healthier flour. And I use the KO’s butter, which is my favorite brand of vegan butter, which is delicious and made of cashews and coconut and also chia seeds instead of eggs. And if you’re interested on our amazing, easy, healthy, gluten-free vegan chocolate chip recipe, please check it out on my site, my sauna.com. I tinkered with it and it’s a very simple but very delicious formula recipe. I think you’ll like it very much. So just check out, be creative with things that your kids want to make with you and that makes it so much more fun or your spouse or your partner. So it’s not drudgery, but it’s fun and everybody’s participating. The next thing that I encourage very much to make healthy, easy and fun as well is taco night.
(14:44): We have taco night at least once a week, and it’s a great chance to put out a bunch of ingredients to throw into a taco. So we either do soft almond tortillas by the STE brand or sometimes we do. My kids like the hard organic blue corn shells. We do both. My older son in particular likes the harder shells. And then we put out cut up avocado, we put out tomatoes, we put out vegan cheese, shredded lettuce, and sometimes we put out mushrooms. Sometimes we put out some of the Beyond meat burger or like the Beyond Meat taco meat Beyond meat taco meat, that’s right. And again, it’s your preference. I’m not saying those are the healthiest products because they do have seed oils, but they’re great to incorporate sometimes and it’s a great thing to keep in your fridge, your freezer for sometimes because it does have a nice consistency.
(15:50): It tastes delicious and it’s fun for your kids to have. But if you want to avoid any sort of pseudo meat like that, any sort of meat replacement, there’s so much else you can add. Like I mentioned, you could make a base of brown lentils. I have some of those recipes in my Beauty Detox power book and recipes for your perfectly imperfect life. There are mushrooms as I mentioned. You can grill portello mushrooms and add those. There’s a lot you can do with tacos, which is one of the reasons I love them. Oh, cauliflower, we do tahini cauliflower tacos, so we’ll roast the cauliflower and toss it in a tahini lemon sauce, which is really great as well. So have fun with your tacos, but it’s also just a really great way to get a lot of colorful, wonderful foods in and it doesn’t require a lot of time in prep.
(16:47): Super easy. In a similar vein, my kids love wraps and so back to those almond flour tortillas or brown rice ones, which are the ones that are easier to access for us in Hawaii, we toast them up. My younger son likes things very crunchy. My older son likes things softer. We put hummus and back to sprouts, cucumbers, they love avocado. So it’s easy to pick up things with your hands. And this is true for our adult friends and our children. So I have wraps every day. It makes it easy. I can load a lot of things in our wraps. I put a ton of sprouts, for instance, that you want to work them in, so it’s just easier to throw them in there. So it’s a wonderful, wonderful practice that I highly recommend. So another part of making food easy is healthy food, easy is to have things stocked at your home that you can reach for when you’re tired, when it’s the end of the day that will keep you from resorting to grabbing pizza or ordering takeout.
(17:56): And in our family, one of the things that we always have for fast and easy meals is lentil or quinoa pasta. It cooks in about six to nine minutes. It’s great with red sauce, it’s great with pesto sauce or good old olive oil and salt. It’s high in protein, it’s gluten free and you can toss veggies into the sauce. We like to make a mushroom sauce. Sometimes you can add cut up carrots, you can be creative with the sauce, but the pasta itself is really wonderful option I find for the family because it’s so easy. Back to our title and it’s so fast. So you might want to experiment with different shapes. We have spaghetti, we have zdi, we have the curlies as we call it in our family. And there’s also these types of varieties for lasagna, which I plan on making this weekend, which is another great option because you can layer the veggies in with a lasagna mix itself.
(19:06): Alright, and I did mention acai bowls, but I want to mention them again here as a great ice cream replacement because we just won’t keep ice cream in the house. It tends to cause issues because my kids will know it’s there, it’s rare thing and they’ll say, oh, a little more, a little more. So if we’re out, we’ll buy ice cream sometimes like a one serving or you have a cone, we do that. We have a couple places in Hawaii we go or Sheave ice, but at home we have all those acai packets and we mix them with granola sometimes or banana or whatever it is. And we make it really fun to have that at the house for our kids, the whole family really. Another easy healthy food and item that you can build around is sourdough bread. So if you are particularly sensitive to any type of bread or any type of wheat product at all, this might not be for you.
(20:09): I have found even with my gluten sensitivity, that I tend to be able to digest it really well. And so it makes it easy for me to use that sourdough bread in different ways. I pack it in my son’s lunch with mustard vegan cheese or with hummus different ways. Sometimes I’ll make a toast with it with the vegan butter or we have avocado toast a lot as well. I keep it fresh, we have it. There’s a bakery that we get it from fresh and I also free some for food emergencies and I’ll thaw out the next day because when we’re busy sometimes we don’t always get to the market at the perfect time, as we all know. So it’s really great to have that sourdough bread component around. Another thing that I do in my family is I keep a lot of dips and our main dips, if you will, are the Kite Hill cream cheese and hummus.
(21:13): And then we make our own different dips and tahini sauces and things like that. But the reason dips are so great is because again, back to the veggie sticks, back to keeping it really simple. You can toss them into salads. You can make a cashew sauce for instance, or kind of a sauce dip situation and just pour it over Kale, my younger son loves kale and it’ll almost just have it raw, but if there’s something to dip it in or adding the cream cheese rolled into it, it’s extra yummy for him and extra easy to make it healthy. So I could go on and on. There’s so many infinite things that I want to share. I want to pause for a moment to remind you that in my last book, which was, or two books ago, recipes for Your perfectly imperfect Life, there is a kids section of recipes if you’re not aware, if you want more ideas.
(22:12): And I will also say that I just notice in my diet it’s gotten so simple, it’s gotten so easy, and that really does extend out into the family. How we tend to eat starts to go. It starts to fan out through the rest of the family, and it’s okay to have some more complex meals. Sometimes we have Thanksgiving coming up. There’s certainly family special recipes you may like to prepare. But on a daily basis, I would encourage you to stick to simpler foods, consistently easy versus really healthy for a few days, but then getting burned out and then resorting to not so healthy because the recipes are so difficult and there’s so many challenges with eating that way. And I will say as well, what’s really important to make healthy easy for your kids is to try to stick to a consistent or try to stick to consistent meal times.
(23:17): So your kids really do expect the food. There’s a rhythm, there’s a pattern that’s really great for their bodies, it’s great for their digestion. It’s great for your digestion as well. Sometimes I will admit in our family dinner creeps up a little bit later. We’re just having so much fun playing after school and sometimes the afterschool snacks get a little bit heavier, so dinner gets pushed back a little bit later. But ideally, we would eat right at six to six 15, which is a really great time for our family anytime from five 30. But that starts to get a little tough when we eat after school now to six 15. So I encourage you to look at your schedule and try to map out and make it really sacred and make it really a wonderful time for everyone to come together.
(24:10): And this is a random thought, but I wanted to throw this in that back to noticing what your kids are drawn to right now. My kids love corn on the cob and it fills them up. It’s yummy for them. It’s really satisfying. I like to eat it as a snack, and that was one of the newer introductions we have been incorporating in. Also, sushi rolls are something that my kids love and they’re really easy to make with nori wrappers. And you can use quinoa as I’ve had in some of my book recipes or simply some rice, avocado, again, soy sauce and roll it up. And it’s fun. You don’t even have to cut it up. They can just eat it as a whole little unit or you can try it for yourself. So I want to stress that eating healthy as a family can be fun.
(25:03): It can be very practical. It can be doable, and don’t worry about being perfect. As I mentioned, my kids still like to have Skittles sometimes and Halloween’s coming up, so they’re going to eat some candy and sometimes we’ll go out to eat or sometimes there’ll be pizza. So it’s not about being perfect, but it’s about creating some consistency and really sourcing yourself with healthy options so it’s accessible and it’s doable and it’s just great when the family feels great. I notice when my kids eat well and they sleep well, everybody’s happier, they’re less cranky, and it’s just a better experience for everyone. So thank you so much for tuning in. This one, as you can tell, came right from my heart, right from my direct family experiences, and I look forward to connecting with you more. You can always ask me more questions over on our website, as I mentioned earlier, which is my sauna.com. You can also check out our many Properly Food Combined simple recipes, our articles, meditations, and more. We’ll be back here Thursday until then, also check me out, send me a comment, say hello on social media at Under Kimberly Snyder and I look forward to connecting with you more. Sending you so much love. Namaste.