I'm literally so hungry I could eat an entire garden right now
How do we get our children to eat healthy foods? We offer them every opportunity to choose them. We liked to say that we need to eat our colors. So we try to have things available in every color throughout the day. The more brightly colored foods, the more nutrient-dense foods with vitamins and nourishment. We also let them make choices about what they want to eat and how much. These are great lessons that will follow them through life and give them a feeling of independence and self-efficacy.
"People develop their health habits when they're kids, and that carries through their whole life." ~Maria Rodale
You always hear, "You are what you eat." So, we try to eat the colors of the rainbow because if I could choose to be anything it would be a brightly colored, sweet, sassy, healthy rainbow full of color and light.
All time favorite Picnic Lunch
Picnic Lunch...what does that even mean? To me it means grabbing a fun sectioned wooden plate and filling each section with a fun finger-food type element, hopefully in a different color than the other sections.
One day it may consist of:
• locally made cheese, grapes, multi-colored organic carrots, garlic herbed crackers or homemade almond bread, celery and nut or seed butter, and apple slices
• chocolate red beet 'cookies', nuts and seeds, apples and pears, toasted coconut flakes, figs and dates, and herby cassava chips
• carrots, celery, sliced veggies, cheeses, clementines, a section of blue corn nachos, and sides of hummus and homemade guacamole
• meats, cheeses, blueberries, grapes, figs and dates, black rice crackers, almond crackers, and roasted lightly-salted pumpkin seeds
• little rice crackers with cream cheese and smoked salmon and radish micro greens, tomatoes, pickles, meats and cheeses, and berries
As strange as some of these may sound, the children devour them. There is a little bit of something for everyone. They are fun and colorful and they make the littles feel like they are at a fancy restaurant. "Cookies" —though made with veggies and unsweetened cocoa— and other treats are all served together on a beautiful wooden tray allowing little people to choose what they want, how much, and what they want first. Everyone has to take a little to start with so that there is enough for all, then they can decide how much to take for seconds, etc. We sit and chat and everyone eats while discussing our favorite part of the day so far and planning what we will do later. Lunch looks great, feels great, and tastes great. And it is seriously so easy! One apple and a few carrots sliced up here, a handful of nuts and seeds there, some pre-made or prepared bits here, and you're done and ready for lunch. We take this picnic lunch anywhere, the front yard, the porch, the dining room. We have a number of great Turkish cotton blankets that we grab and go for outdoor lunches and it makes the whole experience so much more enjoyable.
We found this amazing tray at the Emmaus Farmers' Market at the Mediterranean Delicacy stand where you can find all kinds of beautifully carved olive wood bowls, spoons, trays, cutting/serving boards, and more. There is even olive oil, preserved lemons, argon oil, and delicious spice blends.
Top Right (Clockwise): Handcarved olive wood tray with homemade bread, kiwi, red beet cocao cookies, banana chips, pistachios, mini pb/j sandwiches on almond bread, apples; a pillaged basket of vegetables from Pappy T's garden; one pot soup with root veggies, cabbage, and micros; and great finds at the Emmaus Farmers' Market: local cheese, tomatoes, carrots, chips, tea, calendula flower, tonics, sauces, kale, and apples.
The one pot soup
I love a good one pot soup. I like to use my Le Creuset and give my carrots, onions, turmeric root, ginger root, and garlic a good sautee. Then I throw in some chicken or veggie broth, sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnips, parsnips, leeks, whatever I have around. Let it simmer for a good 20 minutes, depending on how starchy the sweet potatoes are, and check when everything feels just right. Depending on what vegetables I used, I will add some fresh and dried herbs from my garden, top with fresh radish micros or pea shoots, and Bon Appetit! Hot, yummy, nutritious soup to warm your body on a cold day. Nothing heats you up better than a bowl of love.
Yum. There is nothing quite like fresh, whole food. Of course, we all do the best we can with what we have. Organic food seems to cost more, right? There are a lot of programs locally in conjunction with LVHN and St. Lukes that offer vegetable prescriptions from urban medical centers and doctors, partnerships with Rodale Institute and the Seed Farm/Second Harvest, and other great opportunities to find reduced priced organic goods and produce. Best of all, you can always grow your own. Start small with just one item like pea shoots, lettuce, carrots, tomatoes—start from seed or if you're nervous, get sprouted plants from local sources. Find a nice sunny spot in a window where you will remember to check on your plants and water them. Once you get the hang of it add one more and then add ten. Just kidding, baby steps.
I have an amazing recipe for a French Stew with chestnuts and bacon but I have been working hard to tweak it for my vegetarian and vegan friends. I am almost ready and will probably be posting that next time. See you soon. Thanks for stopping by.