How can I get my family to eat more vegies?
I don’t want to convert people to any specific diet but I am here to give you vital information and ideas to improve your health. I hope to get you thinking and planning ways to incorporate more whole plant based foods in your diet.
I want you to feel good about what you eat and enjoy the benefits of healthy eating. Remember; always respect those that choose to eat differently to you as we are all on our own paths. But I do want you to take charge of your health and leave the fear of being judged behind you.
I know you are thinking…..that sounds great but how do I talk my family into eating and enjoying their vegies?
I am not a parent, but I take my hat off to the mother who holds her head high and does not give in to a tantrum. It is a hard job and to all the parents out there sometimes you just have to learn to float rather than flourish.
I do not protest to be a child expert but being a teacher and a health and nutrition coach I have spent my fair share of time around the youth and have learnt a sneaky trick or two. Some of the strategies that I am about to suggest will not always work and may require the patience of a saint but none the less give them a crack and see what works for you. If you don’t have success dust yourself off knowing that at least you tried your best.
Lead by example. Children are copy cats they pick up comments made by their parents. I urge all you parents out there not to say “yuck I hate carrots”. They want your approval and to be like you and in no time at all they will not want carrots either. Always give your children options, maybe they would like to serve their own vegetables or salad after they see you do the same. You are the role model of good behaviour so always use positive language around healthy food. Don’t talk about diets and kilojoules just food that gives you energy and makes you happy and healthy and food that you only eat sometimes or at parties.
Trick them if you must…..Sorry kids and fussy spouses it is for your own good.
Zoodles mixed with noodles. Zoodles are an excellent way to get your children to consume more green vegetables without noticing a taste difference. If you have a spiraliser at home older children could help to prepare them and mix them through pasta before serving.
Green pancakes. These are a Dr Suess inspired breakfast. Add spinach to your pancake batter in the blender or grate zucchini into pancakes to up the vegie content of any breakfast. Kids like weird and wonderful colours and you can get very creative with names like “monster pancakes” and “green goblin breakfast.”
Grating extra goodies into Bolognese. When making a hearty bolognese sauce you can add grated carrot, grated zucchini and lentils. These will not impact the taste of the final product and most kids and fussy partners will be none the wiser. I also like to add lots of herbs as they too are wonderful for flavour and packed full of antioxidants.
Zucchini in porridge. This one is not just for the kids as I also like to add grated zucchini to add bulk to my breakfast and amp up my intake of vegetables at all meals. If your children are fussy just peel the zucchini so that they can’t detect it in their porridge.
Carrot cake oats. This is one of my favourite recipes for breakfast and is also super simple to prepare just grate some carrot and add dates to sweeten with some cinnamon, ginger and a pinch of nutmeg. It is a whole food and super healthy breakfast that will fuel you through till lunch time. These worked with my friend’s daughter who called them “bunny oats”.
Grow some lettuce and tomatoes. Kids love nothing more than seeing that they can grow their own vegies. If they grow it and harvest it they always want to eat it. I have grown tomatoes by drying seeds from the best tasting cherry tomatoes and planting them in an old yoghurt container with a clear lid. Keep it in a sunny spot like a kitchen window and give them a spray of water each day. When they start to grow to touch the lid, carefully take them outside and plant them in the garden. Children learn to be gentle, caring, patient and more sustainable.
Plastic knives for kids. These little inventions are fantastic to allow kids to be part of the food preparation while keeping all their ten fingers.
Make food fun. Remember that food needs to be fun for young children so let them make vegetable faces on homemade pizza or smear food through their tiny fingers. This ensures that they are learning about the world of food through tastes and textures and decreases fussy eating habits.
I have included my yummy Family Friendly Vegie Pie recipe to start sneaking in those extra vegies.
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Remember no one is perfect but we can all make conscious decisions to affect our health and that of our loved ones in the most positive way.
Hippocrates was right when he said “Let food by thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.
Family Friendly Vegie Pie
This recipe is always a family favourite. The deliciously creamy cauliflower mash can win over any fussy eater. I love making these pies when I have guests for dinner as they are served in their own little dish and look much more difficult than they really are.
• 1 large onion (diced)
• 2 large carrots (diced)
• 3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
• 2 small eggplants (cut into 2cm cubes)
• 400g can of diced tomatoes
• 2 cups vegetable stock
• 1 cup red split lentils
• 2Tbsp tomato paste
• 3tsp coriander seeds (grind in a mortar and pestle)
• 1tsp black peppercorns (grind up in a mortar and pestle)
• 2tsp cumin seeds
• 1tsp mustard seeds
• 1tsp ground turmeric
• 3cm piece of ginger (grated)
• 650g cauliflower (approx. half a large cauliflower)
• ½ cup cashews soaked for 4 hours in water
• 1Tbsp nutritional yeast
• 1/3 cup soy or nut milk
1. Heat a large pot and add the onion stirring frequently, as the onion begins to soften add the carrot, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and black pepper.
2. Add the eggplant stirring constantly to ensure that the spices do not burn.
3. When the eggplant begins to soften, add the garlic, ginger, turmeric and stir well.
4. Add the can of diced tomatoes, tomato paste, vegetable stock and lentils.
5. Bring to the boil and then simmer, stirring frequently until the lentils are tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
6. You may need to add more stock if mixture is too dry.
7. While the mixture is simmering: Roughly chop the cauliflower and steam until soft.
8. Place the cauliflower in a blender, strain the cashews and add to the blender with the yeast and soy or nut milk.
9. Blend on high until a smooth consistency is achieved.
Want more from Hollie?
Kirsty from The Mummy Somniac tells you exactly how it is. Her blog and Instagram is filled with gorgeous photos of her children, mumlife, her amazing #fitspo bod, new outfits and REALLIFE (sometimes wee your pants funny) stories!
When she said YES to featuring on my #showtherealyou segment I jumped for joy. I’m a big fan and I’m sure you will be too.
Haha thanks! I used to joke with my friends about ‘Preggo-Somnia’. Where if ‘Insomnia’ means you don’t sleep, then ‘Preggo-Somnia’ means you sleep like a pregnant woman, which generally speaking, isn’t that great. After I had my kids, it just turned into ‘Mummy-Somnia’, due to the fact that my kids don’t sleep that well… My eldest has always been a horrendous sleeper, she just turned 3, and still doesn’t sleep all night!
Can you tell myself and my followers a little about why you created themummysonic?
2015 was an extremely difficult year for me. I had just had my second baby (Dec ’14), and with an almost 2 year old, and a 4 month old, we moved from Brisbane to Canberra. My husband and I are used to moving, but not with two very small children. My body had been hit hard by my second pregnancy, and the recovery was taking much longer than I had anticipated. Basically, our lives had been turned upside down, and I wasn’t feeling that great. I realised I was starting to follow the same path that I did after my first daughter was born. Back then, I had suffered from mild PND and anxiety, and found it really difficult to cope with day-to-day things. When I realised that it was starting to happen again, I started to write. At first I didn’t do anything with the pieces that I wrote, but then after following some of the other amazing bloggers out there, I realised that it can be a pretty fantastic way to connect with other like minded mumma’s. So I turned my little Instagram account public, and posted my first blog. It was really the best outlet for me, and I’m sitting here almost 9 months later, feeling infinitely better than I had been, and I have made some amazing connections because of it.
As a busy mumma what is your go to workout?
Generally speaking my go to workout is throwing together a bunch of old favourites like, squats, lunges, or even just star jumps. I either do it in the living room while my little one naps, or out in the back yard. I really just do whatever I can to get my heart rate up, and to get the blood pumping. Sometimes, depending on the day, I’ll load the girls in the double pram, and take them for a walk. Pushing that thing full throttle up a hill is a pretty good workout.
How often do you find the time to move your body?
I aim for once a day… but that doesn’t always happen. So often I get caught up in general day-to-day mum life stuff that I forget, or I honestly just don’t have it in me. So it ends up being about 3 times a week. I generally don’t do anything on the weekends, mostly because I’ve been working every Saturday and Sunday lately, but also because it’s our only time together as a family. In saying that, we do often find ourselves going for a walk to the park together, and every little bit helps.
If we’re talking brands here, I’m a sucker for Lorna Jane. I cannot walk into that store without spending way too much money! But I recently received a Cadenshae nursing sports bra, and Holy McGoly is that thing comfortable! I’m not even breastfeeding anymore, but I still wear it more often than I wear any others!
When you are having a rough day, what do you believe helps you to pull through?
I actually left this question until last. I really had to put my thinking cap on to try and pinpoint what it is that truly helps! I’m terrible for getting caught up in the heat of the moment. I find it so hard to be able to walk away and take a minute to calm myself, or the situation down. As time goes on though, I’m getting much better at this. So when I’m having a rough day, I try to reach out to someone. I send my bestie a text, which is so helpful, because often times she’ll come back with something similar, and we have a giggle at how our lives have changed. I try and find some time to sit and write about it. I have found that looking at the situation and trying to find the funny in it (cause there’s almost always something to laugh at… no matter how small), really helps to put things into perspective. I guess that’s why most of my instagram posts are the way that they are! Knowing that it’s not the end of the world, that other people are in the same boat, or that there’s always a silver lining helps to pull me through.
Favourite quote or mantra?
“This too shall pass” is an old favourite, and so relevant to life with little ones! Another one I love is, in the immortal words of Taylor Swift “I shake it off, I shake it off”… Ok, I know that’s not quite a quote, but it’s always stuck in my head, and I think old Tay Tay’s got it right here… Cause haters gonna hate, hate, hate, and fakers gonna fake, fake, fake, so forget that rubbish and SHAKE IT OFF BABY!
Do you ever get a chance to share date night with your man? If so where do you go?
Sadly, date nights are few and far between for us, but when it does happen we love to go out to dinner together. We love just getting out of the house and sharing something together that we both enjoy (food), having a drink, and chatting uninterrupted. Even if the conversation still revolves around the kids!
Proud mumma moment?
I really had to stop and think about this question. I think my proudest mumma moments are those ones where I can see my girls growing and learning (given that they’re 3 and 17 months, it’s the little things! Lol). When my three year old counts her Barbies and says ‘Mummy, I have seven. See, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven’ (Ok I know, that’s a lot of Barbies… but I blame my husband for that!), or when she insists on dressing herself, or using her manners with other people, without being prompted. It’s those mundane, every day moments that mean the most to me. It means that the time and effort we’ve put into teaching them our morals and values are starting to take effect.
Something you do for yourself?
SLEEP! Oh wait… I’m a mum! Haha
Ok, but seriously, this is hard. One thing I always try to do is get my hair done, on a regular basis. I’m not one for beauty treatments, or day spas, BUT getting my hair done is definitely a ‘for me’ treat. It gives me 3-4 hours of sitting still, drinking a cup of tea or coffee while it’s still hot, and having a chat with my stylist… the man is hysterical! It’s something I look forward to every few months. Out of all of the things I used to do for myself pre-babies, this is one thing that gives me back a little bounce!
Who inspires you?
Firstly, my dad inspires me. Every, single, day. Without going into all of the details, that man as been to hell and back in his time, and he’s never once waivered in his love and devotion for me, and my three sisters… Oh god, I’m tearing up as I’m typing this. The man is unlike any other!
Secondly, my two closest friends inspire me. These women are truly amazing. Each of them have been through, or are currently going through infertility. I had never really experienced infertility until these ladies were touched by it. I’m so very lucky to be close enough to them to have an extremely open and honest relationship. There are no details spared, and I think that has really helped to give me a level of perspective on my own life, that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I have been in awe of them, and inspired by the level of love they have for babies that haven’t even come into the world yet. I’m not sure if that’s the correct way to put it, but that’s just one of the ways I see it. If they can put themselves and their bodies through the kind of torture that fertility treatment and IVF is, then these babies (when they arrive) are the luckiest babies around. To be loved with such intensity before you even exist, what an incredible thing to have!
I guess these people inspire me because of the love and determination the have, and show. I can only hope to be the same way.
Ok, well this one’s a hard one to answer! My first answer would be SOCIALITE! Is that even a job? I mean, I know socialite’s exist, but do they get paid for it? I’m thinking Kimmy K, and Paris here… I guess you don’t need to get paid when you come from money, and I guess therein lies my answer! Ok, no socialite-ing. I would also love to be a flight attendant, for one of those gorgeous airlines like Etihad or Emirates… They always look so glamourous, and they get to travel the world, and get paid for it! I’m sure it comes with some serious downsides (like every job)… but the only problem with all that for me is, I hate flying, I get serious anxiety! Which I manage to keep in check most of the time, but I couldn’t do it on a regular basis.
So I guess I’ll go with writer! How I would love to get paid for something that I do now for fun… Let’s see if one day I can get there!
Best advice you have been given?
That sometimes being the parents of small children can place a lot of pressure on your relationship. OH EM GEE did this ring true for us. Suddenly we found ourselves in the deep end, with this tiny, little, squidgy, squawking, bundle of joy! We both had no idea, no support nearby, and the lack of sleep hit us both hard. We found ourselves bickering and arguing about every little detail. A friend of mine opened up to me, and told me that it’s really hard work, and a lot to adjust to, and it’s ok to feel the pressure! It made me realise that our relationship wasn’t failing, but that we’re just feeling the gravity of raising a little person. It’s still true for us now. We know that when things get a little tougher, or the sleep goes out the window again, that we start to take it out on each other. It’s at these times that we try to regroup, talk it out, and readjust our strategies for dealing with all that life is putting in front of us.
Favourite beauty product?
Hmm… I’m such a minimalist in the beauty department! I have always had super sensitive skin, and found that I reacted to so many different products, especially on my face. So these days I only use Jojoba oil, rather than traditional moisturisers. I don’t get the reactions like I used to, and I don’t get any of the oiliness that the other moisturisers used to cause. I have also always used (and swear by it) a deodorant crystal. It sounds super weird I know, but I won’t use anything else! Do they count? haha
Thank you for sharing your life a little more in depth with us all. Keep doing what you do Kirsty, you make me smile on a daily basis.
Blog – The Mummy Somniac
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