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General Tips for Healthy Tot-meals

April 11, 2017

 

When it comes to eating healthy, I think we've all heard the old adage; "eat colorful foods". Finding those colors every day can be tough, we all know that green veggies are good for you- but, where do we find orange, yellow, red and even purple?

 

Or black?

 

In order to help myself stock our house with healthy, colorful foods, I've made a list for that I look at before I hit the grocery store. Because I will admit that I struggle with this, too!

 

I'm going to share it with you, below.  Feel free to print it out and stick it on the fridge... then you can think of me every day (yay)!  

 

*Please note that I've split these up into two lists, specifically for kids that need extra calories in their diets.

GREEN                             RED                             YELLOW

Kale                                  Tomatoes                   Bell Peppers

Spinach                            Bell Peppers              Peach

Brussels sprouts             Beets                          Carrots (come in a variety of colors)

Broccoli                            Raspberries               Beets (come yellow too!)

Asparagus                       Strawberries              Cauliflower (see note above)

String beans                   Cherries                      Banana

Snow, snap peas            Grapes                        Winter squash

Bell pepper                     Watermelon

Artichoke

Celery

Cucumber

Kiwi

Honeydew melon

Grapes

 

ORANGE                        PURPLE                                 BLUE/BLACK

Carrots                          Carrots (yep)                          Blueberries

Bell peppers                 Cauliflower (double yep)     Blackberries

Winter squash             Cabbage                                 Black olives

Orange                          Plums

Tangerine                     Grapes

Grapefruit

Papaya

Nectarine

Apricot

Now, it's important to remember that our CF-toddlers are obviously not on a lean foods diet.  They need calories and fat!  Unfortunately, the rainbow of foods listed above are lower in calories (I'm not talking about fat, here).  That doesn't mean that you shouldn't give it to them!  Just be sure to also pick some foods from the colorful list below:

 

GREEN                             RED                             YELLOW                         BROWN

Edamame                       Kidney Beans             Corn                                Brown or Wild Rice

Peas                                 Quinoa                        Mango                            Quinoa 

Pear (surprising)                                                 Pineapple                       Whole-grain pasta

Avocado                                                                                                        Nut butters

Lentils                                                                                                            Oatmeal

                                                                                                                        Hummus

ORANGE                        PURPLE                         BLUE/BLACK                Nuts

Cantaloupe                    Figs                                Black Beans                   Seeds

Sweet Potato                 Raisins                                                                 

Yams

Cheese (cheddar, muenster, colby, etc.)

This doesn't mean that white foods can't be healthy!  Here's a list of some healthy, yet pigment-challenged foods (calories and fat vary on this list):

 

WHITE

Cauliflower

Jicama

Radishes

Onion

Okra

Potatoes

Eggplant (I know it's purple on the outside... but remember what your Grandma told you; it's what's inside that counts)

Apple (see note above)

White cheeses (feta, mozzarella, parmesan, etc)

Coconut

Yogurt

Milk(s)

Eggs

Couscous

 

Now that you've got your colorful foods all listed out for you- how do you implement this into your child's diet?

 

The short answer is: any way you can!

 

Honestly, though, if figuring this out for ourselves is tough, then doing it for our toddlers is even harder! Toddlers are always testing us when it comes to eating.  They tend to want the processed, white and sweet things.. meals are challenging, snacks can be nearly impossible.

 

Just think about it- snack time is short and fast, and usually interrupting some game or activity that your kiddo would rather be doing.  It's so easy to grab the nearest quick, crackery or boxed item handy and toss it on the tray.  I've done it many times!  But, when I get stuck in a colorless snack (or meal) rut, I remind myself of three things:

 

1- Food groups (I try to incorporate 4 in each meal/snack)

2- Fat / Calories 

3- Color

 

For example: Avalyn wanted yogurt and hummus (or hummie as she calls it). While both of those items are good, fatty foods, they don't have much color to them.  It's also only hitting 2 food groups.  So, I remedied her "off-white" plate by throwing chunks of RED strawberries into her yogurt, letting her scoop the hummus with GREEN snap peas and putting a few BLACK olives on her tray.

 

Later that day, dinner was a "burrito" bowl with BROWN rice, BLACK beans, GREEN avocado, ORANGE cheese, YELLOW corn and RED tomatoes. 

 

So some Mothers might be thinking... right, Lady, you make it sound SO easy.  Well, I will acknowledge (again) that I struggle with this a lot.  I'm not perfect, and not every meal is easy, healthy and stress-free.  It's even harder for us CF Mamas because not only do we have to give our kids healthy foods, but we also have to give them fatty and calorie heavy foods.  

 

I think the bottom line, and the reason I'm writing this post, is to keep mealtime as simple and stress-free as possible.  Stock your house with good foods, save recipes that work and get creative.  

 

And don't beat yourself up over the occasional afternoon snack of goldfish and store-bought fruit and veggie pouches.  You'll make up for it tomorrow.

 

You're doing a good job, Mama!

 

 

 

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