I began limiting animal-based foods from my diet when I was in college, mainly because I never loved the texture of most meat, and I was drawn to the idea that cutting back on such food could be beneficial to the environment. I went back and forth on what exactly I included in my diet, eventually settling in my comfort zone, which is as a technical pescatarian (though my fish intake is limited), who is currently limiting dairy.
Social media makes me believe every other family has kids who happily eat platefuls of raw spinach, while I am happy with mine eating a few pieces of lettuce at dinner. What I am learning, however, is no family is perfect, and that we need to take a deep breath and realize we are all probably doing much better than we realize. I was grateful for the opportunity to speak with Brooke Brimm, a mom, advocate and champion of plant-based eating. Brooke, who has been vegan for many years, believes adding plant-based foods shouldn’t be a negative or stressful experience. In our chat on Instagram, Brooke shares how eating more vegan foods is not about shaming meat or meat eaters, nor is it about projecting our own needs onto our family. She urges her followers to make food a positive experience and to embrace the myriad of ways many of us (our kids especially) enjoy eating.
Getting kids to eat healthy is a battle I know all too well. From artistic uses of fruit, to “hiding” vegetables, parents seem to have to go through extreme lengths just to add some nutritious foods into our children’s diet.
While eating produce is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, and sometimes we do need to get creative with our recipes, there is an even easier way to add nutrition to your family meals, and chances are, you already are doing it.
My son loves macaroni and cheese, or as he lovingly calls them, “yellow noodles.” Key word being, “yellow.” You try to serve him some fancy Fontina/Gruyere concoction, he will summon the depths of his rage and unleash his fury upon thee. Only noodles tinted with the yellow-orange hue of the sun will appease my picky eater.
Fortunately, there are several options in the organic/all-natural department. Amy’s brand frozen mac ‘n cheese is delicious, and tastes the most “home made.” My son loves it and could eat a package or two a day if I let him. While it is one of the “healthier” choices, it’s still a frozen meal, which tend to be higher in sodium, and they aren’t exactly cheap. At one Brooklyn supermarket, a single-serve box could cost as much as $6. I’m no mathematician, but even I know there are better ways to stretch a dollar.
My three-year-old, like most three-year-olds, is, shall we say, particular, when it comes to food. He wasn’t always this way. When he first began eating solid food, he would consume anything put in front of him. And my smug self thought I had birthed the perfect little gourmand.
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