By: Leanne Ely
There are few skills more important for your children to learn than those that will empower them to feed themselves for the rest of their lives.
Think about it. Over the course of your life, what will you spend more time doing than planning for, shopping for, preparing and eating food? The only thing I can think of is sleeping, and you don’t really need any special skills to sleep!
But where cooking is concerned, there are many things you need to teach your children and in my opinion, as early as possible. By the time they’re in their late teens, they might not be all that interested in learning how to scramble eggs or do anything else in the kitchen.
As a parent, you know it’s your job to teach your children about nutrition and why they need vegetables and not candy. Why they need to try everything on their plates (often more than once!) before saying they don’t like it. Why they need protein and iron and fiber.
It’s also your job to arm your children with basic skills, advancing with them as they grow older, so that by the time they leave the delicious comfort of your nest (and your dinner table), they will be able to cook for themselves. I did this myself and raised both of my children to be proficient in the kitchen and today both are good, healthy cooks and eat intelligently (most of the time).
If you do this, you will have instilled in them a good solid education in basic nutrition so they understand what types of food choices they need to make at the grocery store and how to cook for themselves and their eventual families
It truly breaks my heart to see so many young adults leaving their parents’ homes and ending up fueling their bodies with fast food and sugary snacks because they don’t have the skills they need to feed themselves. (Foraging for pizza does not count.)
We’ll keep talking about food, cooking and how to prepare it and how you can learn new skills yourself and pass them down to your children. But for today, we’re going to talk smoothies because they’re a great, easy and highly nutritious way to start the day off right.
Depending on the age of your child, you may have to do some of the work—chopping fruit and helping to get the blender set up, cleaned up and put away. But, no matter what age your child is, he or she will be able to add the ingredients, press the buttons and enjoy the result of his/her work!
Start by teaching the basics of a fruit smoothie and what it includes:
• Frozen organic berries. As you select your berries, teach the children about the nutrients in each item so they know why it’s being added to the smoothie and how those frozen berries will make their smoothie icy cold.
• Liquid. My preference is almond milk or coconut milk, but maybe you like kefir or straight cow’s milk. Whatever it is, pour your choice into a measuring cup so it’s easier for your child to pour it into the blender’s container.
• Fiber. I always add chia seeds and/or FiberMender 2.0 to my smoothies. Show your kids how chia seeds thicken up like magic and explain that they help take yucky stuff out of your body when they eat them and makes them good poopers! Honestly, kids love talking about poop. You might as well go there and tell them why, LOL.
• Perfect Paleo Protein. It’s important to get that protein into your smoothie. This is what keeps you full and satisfied. There’s chocolate and vanilla flavors—why not let the kids choose which one they want to add?
• Just Juiced Greens. 1 tablespoon, can’t taste it (and dark berries hide it) and it adds a huge nutritional punch to the smoothie. I LOVE this stuff! Shortcut for juicing!
See how easy that was? A whole nutrition lesson with your kids, they did it themselves and now they’re drinking something that tastes like a milkshake but is so good for them!
And listen, if you’re thinking about a vacation or party that involves bathing suits (did I hear you say, “EEK!”?), Come on over and do the 10 Day Paleo Blitz with me—we’re getting our smoothie on and ditching flab and muffin tops (we start July 7th!). Get more details here!