Today we have a unique spin on a subject that plagues every mom out there – the task of fitting nutrients into your kid’s diets. Last week, I asked my sister, Cecilia, to join me on a quest to come up with lots of different ways to fit protein and vitamins into our kid’s diets.
Her kids are 10 and 3, and mine are 8, 5, and 3. We have quite the task facing us every day!
Cecilia will share her ideas first, then I will go. We are very different, so I am interested to see everything we come up with! We decided that protein would be the focus of this post.
Take it away Cecilia! 🙂
This post is brought to you by TruMoo Chocolate Milk and DairyPure brand milk. Incorporating DairyPure brand milk and TruMoo Chocolate Milk as a way to start and end your day because it’s a great way to get extra protein into your kid’s diet.
Both TruMoo Chocolate Milk and DairyPure brand milk contain no artificial growth hormones and no high fructose corn syrup. Additionally, they are cold shipped from your local dairy, ensuring freshness.
We both believe if you’re going to the trouble of sneaking in extra nutrition, then you should make double sure the stuff you use is good for your kids.
And believe me – it’s kid-approved! Look at that TruMoo Chocolate Milk jug…I couldn’t keep them away from it long enough for me to take this picture! LOL
Summer is right around the corner. To me that means I need to up the food and liquid intake for my boys since they’ll be playing outdoors in the heat. My children are odd in the fact that they don’t like eating; in fact, they try to eat as little as possible.
I have seen the negative results when they don’t get enough nutrition, and I would like to avoid that. According to the Mayo Clinic, my youngest needs at least 2-4 ounces of protein and the oldest should have 5-6.5 ounces per day. While I want them to drink a lot of water, it doesn’t help to increase their calories or provide nutrients, so I add watery fruits and milk to their diet to meet their growing needs.
I’ve become a master at sneaking things into them. Ginger, cottage cheese, root vegetables, garlic, fiber, milk, etc…
If I can get in there I will. They never need to know. A lot of these add-on foods don’t change the flavor of the dishes and some make it even more delicious. The kids like it better but don’t know why.
Six Sneaky Nutrient-Packed Meals for Kids
I kept track of all the different meals I made over the past week that I considered “sneaky.” I think you can sneak almost anything into these meals:
1) Spaghetti – veggies, herbs, fruit, fiber
This dish is good for adding extra garlic, ginger, almost any spice, peppers, carrots, steamed and pureed squash and pumpkin and celery. I bought the sauce from the store then add all those things to it, and they love it.
2) Scrambled eggs/ omelets- milk, cheese, cinnamon.
I know cinnamon sounds funny for eggs, but I swear you can’t taste it. For my older one I use cottage cheese and milk as well, and he can’t tell the difference. My two-year-old likes any kind of cheese, so I can just grab any kind from the fridge for him. I always add the milk and cinnamon for both of them.
I have a thing for adding milk to dishes. It’s such a good source of protein, and I like to sneak it into my kids whenever possible. I am a fairly brand loyal person, and lately DairyPure brand milk has become my favorite.
Omelets are even better for getting them to eat eggs. As long as I put them over steamed rice, then they will eat them with all sorts of stuff on them. I add extra veggies and meat to the scrambled egg base then just don’t stir it while it cooks. Easy.
3) Fried rice- vegetables, fruit, herbs and spices, seeds and extra proteins
This is my favorite one to make. This is a true dump dish. Almost anything from the fridge and pantry can go in it, but the few things that consistently go in are: onions, sesame seeds, eggs, carrots, peas and ginger. That’s how I made it this week.
4) Pancakes – nuts, fruit, cinnamon, milk
I like to go wild with the nuts and seeds in this one; it gives them a different texture, but it is so delicious! This time I used pecans and strawberries, and I also substituted applesauce for oil and added vanilla.
5) Soup – unlimited nutrients
This is another dump dish. You can make your own broth using as many herbs and vegetables as you can fit in the pot. Even if they only drink the soup and leave behind the bulk, they are still eating some good stuff. This week I added a lot of carrots so the broth would be on the sweet side. Both boys loved it!
6) Smoothies – fruits and veggies of all kinds
I personally like to eat smoothies for breakfast or lunch, especially on busy days, and I offer them to my kids as well. They are the easiest of all the foods to mix and match and get the extra nutrition into.
I’ve found that raw spinach and a little bit of cinnamon will change the look, but not the flavor, of the smoothies. And if I add it in at the end, the kids like watching the blender change their food green!
My older son likes it when I use TruMoo Chocolate Milk instead of plain milk for his. He likes the taste, and I like the fact that it has no artificial growth hormones or high fructose corn syrup in it.
Now I’m hungry.
How I Fit Protein & Vitamins into My Kid’s Day
Hi it’s Lena here!
I can already tell you – my sister is wayyy more creative than I am when it comes to nutrition. She’s over there making up special vegetable broth while I’m over here offering straight up chocolate milk as an afternoon snack.
My theory is – if I can’t get the nutrients into them during dinnertime due to pickiness, then I will spread it out over the course of a day.
Since kids love to snack, I figure I can get them to eat whatever I want by limiting their snack options. I like to plan my whole days around a couple of fruits and vegetables and protein filled items. I look at my meal planning with a “whole day” and “whole week” viewpoint. My overall goal is to get a rainbow of fruits and vegetables into our weeks and plenty of protein as well.
For instance, on busy days I’ll make sure I have nutritious snacks available at key points throughout the day when the kids are likely to be famished. This is usually mid-morning for my preschooler and right after carpool for everyone.
After a morning full of activity like painting murals on our porch, I’ll offer my 3-year-old a protein-filled snack like cheese & crackers or chocolate milk by itself. Those snacks are satisfying enough to keep him going until lunch at 12.
This guy LOVES TruMoo Chocolate Milk. Today he told me he lives for chocolate milk. And I don’t think he was kidding!
Hence, hanging on to the countertop anxiously waiting to drink it. 🙂
At first, we just tried it plain, which he loved.
But then I got inspired and made a full meal out of it! This was his lunch on Wednesday – a peanut butter banana TruMoo Chocolate Milk smoothie. I have to admit – it was delicious!
We had a lot of fun making it together.
For our carpool snack, I’ll make sure our snack bin has the snack I want for each child to eat. If I give them too many choices, they will almost always opt for the least nutritious option, so I take the choice out of the equation and give them exactly what I want them to eat. They’re always so hungry at this time, they’ll eat whatever I bring!
For carpool, I like to give them nuts (pecans, cashews), cheese & dried cranberries, celery with cream cheese, apples, bananas, or strawberries.
Finally, if we are having dinner unusually late (we normally eat at 6), I will offer them a glass of milk to tide them over until we eat. We tried out DairyPure brand milk for the entire last week, and the kids really enjoyed it. The protein and sugars in the milk are filling enough to keep hungry kids out of the snack cabinet!
Sneaky or Strategic Nutrition – You Choose
So there you have it – two ways you can get nutritious foods into your kids. One way is sneaky, while the other method is strategic! We hope you got some ideas you can use from our experiences feeding the five kids between us! 🙂
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.
Come check me out over at my blog www.lazygeniusmom.com