Dana Carvell (3BoysUnprocessed)
One of the most common questions I get regarding healthier eating habits is “Do your kids really eat that stuff?”
In short, the answer is yes! They do. However, they are all their own little selves, so there are some exceptions to that statement. After all, my kids aren’t heath-food robots and neither am I. We are a real family, trying to live a healthier lifestyle by cutting processed foods and cooking from scratch. Believe me, some days go better then others, but what I know at the end of the day is everything my kids eat in our home is home cooked, real food. Nothing comes from a package, they don’t eat boxed cereals and pop-tarts for breakfast, and I cook nearly every single meal from scratch. I also have the job of being a mom, in my home, where my food goals are easily attainable. Not to mention, I am already a trained pastry chef and cook, so cooking form scratch was never an issue for me. However, I would be foolish if I thought this was everyone’s life, and I know busy families will quickly fail if the only advice they are given is “cook from scratch.”
Removing processed foods from my household didn’t happen over-night. I was desperate to loose my baby weight, and I knew the key to doing that was getting rid of packaged stuff and replacing it with fresh stuff. Little by little my husband and I made smarter choices, came home from the grocery store with more produce, and started incorporating new foods into our family dinners. When my husband was grocery shopping alone I would ask him to bring home one mystery item for me to create a new recipe with, and to encourage all of us to try something new.
When I started sharing pictures on Facebook of what I was feeding my toddler for lunch, people were instantly interested.
” How do you get your kids to eat that stuff and how can I learn to do the same thing?” came from just about everyone I knew.
Unfortunately I don’t really have any fun or interesting answers! I changed the way we ate little by little, and began cooking everything from scratch instead of using convenience items. The more and more I read ingredient labels, the more I understood just how much food companies take a simple item and turn it into something horrible and unhealthy. I also realized relying on marketing wasn’t going to cut it. I began realizing the more items I purchased THAT DIDN’T EVEN HAVE PACKAGES, the easier making healthy choices became.
Since starting the blog I’ve been on the look-out for helpful ideas for parents trying to solve the never ending mystery that is getting their kids to try new foods. I know every family has their own story, way of life, and eating habits so I was really looking for something that was relatable to all families. When I came across Jennifer Tyler Lee’s new book: The 52 New Foods Challenge, I knew this book was exactly what I was searching for!
Have you ever considered forgetting about pushing “healthy” foods and just asking your kids to play a game with you? How about pitting your oldest against your youngest to see who can eat the most colors and score the most points? What if broccoli and kale scored higher so they were now the most sought after foods at the dinner table?
I know, I know, it sounds crazy but when I was reading The 52 New Foods Challenge, I started thinking “Why didn’t I think of this before?” My boys absolutely LOVE to out-do each other and dinner time is no exception.
What about considering taking just one hour a week and putting it toward trying something new? No need to completely over-haul your life, just one baby step at a time, and you will be reaching your food goals in no time! Can you imagine next year at this time if your kids were familiar with 52 new fruits and veggies that you could now incorporate into your family dinners?
The 52 New Foods Challenge lays all of this out in a fun and exciting new way to deal with food. No more stressful evenings fighting with your children about why they won’t eat their veggies! Not only does Jennifer explain the game, the point system, and the foods, she also talks about how she plans her meals and packs lunches. Last but not least, Jennifer suggests NO SNEAKING! This was one of my favorite things in the book because I feel the same way. Foods don’t count if your kids can’t see them, and feel their texture.
*For more about Jennifer Tyler Lee’s new book The 52 New Food Challenge, check out her website here!
One amazing thing about The 52 New Foods Challenge is that the foods are listed in season. We try to eat in season as much as we can because I can get a ton of produce at local markets, and it is cheaper! I also prefer food that comes from my area, and eating in season makes this goal really attainable.
Sweet potatoes have long been a staple in our household. When my son was a baby I started feeding him sweet potatoes and he’s been loving them ever since. When he was small I would steam them really soft, and when he got a older I made fries with them. I still make my kids sweet potato fries a few times a week because I know for sure they will always, always eat them! Most of the time they are gone before I even get a chance to grab one!
When sweet potatoes became a staple in our home they started finding their way into our family dinners, and when I put them in chilli I knew I had a winner on my hands. It was absolutely the best chilli I had ever made, and I have been making chilli with sweet potatoes ever since! When I was thinking of a fall recipe to share, I knew this Sweet-Fire Chilli had to be the one. I take fire roasted tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and great northern beans to make a colorful, delicious dinner that your whole family will love. My kids love the color, I love the nutrition, and everyone loves the cheese and sour cream we get to put on top. 🙂 How many colors can you count in the bowl?
Jennifer also suggests getting kids involved with food preparation, so I let the kiddos cut up their dessert, a fruit salad. The used baby oranges, strawberries, and pomegranate seeds to mix together to make themselves a snack after school. They had fun eating their fruit as they were cutting, and even helped me with some of the tomatoes for the chilli. It actually went a lot smoother then I thought it would because typically I don’t let them help.
Sweet Fire Chilli
By October 21, 2014Published:
- Yield: 6-8 Servings
- Prep: 15 mins
- Cook: 45 mins
- Ready In: 60 mins
Dana Carvell (3BoysUnprocessed) One of the most common questions I get regarding healthier eating habits is "Do your kids really eat …
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 white onion
- 1 sweet bell pepper
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can fire roasted tomatoes
- 3 cups strained tomatoes no salt added
- handful cherry tomatoes
- 1 and 1/2 cup chicken stock can substitute beef, veggie stock or water
- 1 can great northern beans drained and rinsed
- 2 sweet poatoes
- 1 Tbsp cumin
- 1 Tbsp chilli powder
- 2 tsp adobo seasoning
- 1 tsp whole grain mustard or mustard powder
- 1 tsp paprkia
- salt and pepper to taste
- Dice onion, pepper, and garlic. Place in large pot with beef and brown over medium-high heat. Drain grease.
- Add all other ingredients. Bring pot to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for 25-30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Add additional seasoning/salt and pepper to taste.