I’ll admit it. Not my favorite activity from my daughter growing up, figuring out healthy school lunch ideas, especially when she would chuck it and charge school lunch instead. Who even knew they would give elementary school kids credit. Sigh! You are not alone if you feel the burden and the struggle of trying to instill healthy eating habits for your children. Here are some tips and options to hopefully make it easier to get food down them. No guarantees they won’t trade it for something else, throw it away, or leave it at home calling you in a panic to bring it to them when you are already late in back to back meetings all day… Haha! Isn’t parenting great.
First, let’s get some tips:
You will never win as a dictator lunch preparer, having a healthy school lunch means you will need to involve your children in the lunch decisions. Start off by showing them the elements of a healthy lunch to include fruit, veggies, and healthy protein. From here teach them how to navigate the kitchen and perhaps if they are old enough help you prepare the items. Cooking in bulk and making extra of their fav dinner meals really can save you time in the school lunch department big time, but only if they like what’s on the menu. I tend to recommend grabbing food that is convenient such as a cup of fruit, things like packable cherries, grape tomatoes, apple slices, carrots, and hummus, etc. These are quick grab items that are easily packable and stackable with other food items. Also considers that they really do not have a lot of time to eat during lunch as they are busy socializing and meeting with their friends that things that are convenient finger food make it easy for them to grab a bite in the time allowed.
Packing a healthy school lunch should be a no brainer, but just in case, I often have used non-toxic, durable, and dishwasher safe items that are mostly leak proof. I also always had a spare in case I found something growing in one, or just needed to throw one away and start over. Hello Monday! My daughter would often lose her lunch box, regularly, so I always had to have a spare that was sot, durable, and that would not break easily. Now if they offered GPS on the thing, we would be all set.
I would also include a water bottle in her healthy school lunch with filtered water and a small organic juice for her just for variety. I was often appalled that the school never seemed to have filtered water and my daughter easily turns her nose up at non heavily filtered water (even as a teenager) Yay! Parents – 1.
Some combos like Veggies with hummus, protein muffins, Caesar salad, homemade pasta and marina sauce wee common favorites of hers growing up.
I would also include things like crackers, berries, nuts, granola, lots of fresh fruits, and some grain free sandwiches. She always loved peanut butter and jelly, which was s safe option that I could always go to.
If I happen to get adventurous with her healthy school lunch, I will do quinoa salad, lettuce wraps, plantain chips with dip, homemade nachos with salsa and black beans with many tortilla roll-up options.
I found that really quick and safe finger foods were the best and anything too elaborate was often overlooked, disposed of, or returned back home for my mid-afternoon snack (why waste food).
Lastly, be mindful of these last parting words:
Be prepared for trial and errors
Be prepared to throw out food
Be prepared for loves today, hates tomorrow (I am still waiting for her to like avocado again)
Don’t take it personally
Throw in some non-health snacks too (I know, cringe)
Let them make their own choices (Again, cue the cringe)
I went on a long ride with my daughter in trying to force her to eat healthy to no success. Even still, there is a moment that she makes my heart been as she orders salads and other various healthy foods after a binge of McDonald’s, Burger King, and Five Guys. At this point, she has opted to purchase her own food with her own money that she makes. It is truly impressive; this kid is only 15 years old. For me, the more persistent I was about eating healthy, the more she was insistent upon rebellion. I can truly speak candidate that great stress was relieved when I let go, but it took quite some time. I was extremely careful with her pregnancy, breastfeed, raised her vegetarian, no television, and lots of love up until 5 years old and then once Kindergarten hit GAME ON!. Haha. So try and relax, do your best and forget the rest. Remember you are not alone, and Kale may be just a seed planted today, but eventually, she/he will catch the clue.
Its that time again, Summer fun is winding down, and more of a structured routine is coming before us. This year let’s support you in creating a healthy family. Thank goodness! If you felt like everything had gone out of the window, you are not alone. The summer is such a busy time with losing schedules, travel, family gatherings, and challenges on a healthy lifestyle. There is some calm and peace to having a schedule, and September is the time to get it in gear. Here are some tips to get back into a healthy family routine.
Start early. Instead of rushing into the school year with a new schedule, begin implementing that schedule early by starting in August. Especially as sleep schedules for children and parents tend to be slightly different, it is important to get acquainted with earlier nights and earlier mornings sooner rather than later. Cue the groans from the kiddos. Healthy family planning explains the importance of a regular sleep schedule (as if they have not heard it all before) and let them know that during school, there is one schedule compared to summer fun times.
Create routine schedules. As much as children hate to admit it, they love the structure of a schedule. Healthy family schedules help us feel safe, secure, and in control. Let’s face it, who does not like to feel in control of things. Having a schedule that you can depend on helps everyone involved feel as though they know what’s coming and hey can know what to expect, which cultivates relaxation and internal peace.
Eating dinner together and way the same time. Remember that old tradition of sitting around the family table eating dinner. Yes, me too. Perhaps it is time to bring that one back. The health family eats dinner together around the table can rove to be a bonding experience for the family. It opens up conversations and communications regarding school, friends, and various work projects. Be mindful of turning it into a staff meeting of sorts and resist the urge of handing out a dinner time agenda (that is more for me that you…haha) Just enjoy being in the moment with your family and sharing good times with each other.
Teach everyone to clean up after themselves. This was extremely important for me to teach my daughter was cleaning up after herself. Naturally, she was not cleaning every once of the house like we were growing up, but she does carry the responsibility of keeping her room clean too which she consistently does without being told now because she finds great joy in keeping her room nice and tidy.
Plan ahead. A healthy family plan starts deciding plans for holidays ahead of time. Are you staying in town or leaving out of town. Need to start creating a budget for holiday spending or perhaps needing to figure out how to accommodate house guests. Starting early and involving the entire family in the plan can help to ease any stress that the holidays may create, and less holiday stress is always on everyone’s wish list.
Routines are necessary for a smooth family organization and creating a healthy family. Without routines, you have controlled the chaos. Just ask single mothers with multiple children. Without routines, it is difficult to get things done. This modeling of habits and behaviors also spill over into children’s lives as they mature and helps them to continue the trend of organizing their schedule with their own families.
Good routines are
often well planned, consistent, and predictable that way, everyone can create
effective routines. Daily routines vary based on family size, age, and health
factors, so care must be taken when developing a healthy family routine that
works for you.
Holistic Prenatal Care looks at the the first 1,00 days of a child’s life is critical. This I the period between conception to the child’s 2nd birthday. This period of time support’s the child’s development, their long term health and can have many short as well as long term impacts towards their health. Environmental as we as nutrition can play a vital role in the development of the babies brain, digestive tract, metabolism, and immune system.
Pre-Conception – If a woman has a clean bill of health (not just an absence) of disease but a truly comprehensive view of her lab work from a functional diagnostic perspective it takes one year to prepare the body to get pregnant. Holistic prenatal care looks deeper than just the absence of disease but rather prepares the body for pregnancy. Many people assume that because they do not have symptoms that they are free and clear. It takes the body quite a while to develop disease and disease is not just merely the absence of health but rather the total health. Even subtle things can have critical impacts tot he body if left unaddressed. Simple gas, bloating, fatigue can all be signs of deeper biochemical imbalances that will show itself more throughout the pregnancy. During the perinatal phase of holistic prenatal care, it is recommended to do the following:
A healthy lifestyle of regular physical activity
No alcohol or nicotine consumption
Control of chronic conditions such as diabetes and hyeprtension]
Adequate water intake
Stable home life
Healthy stress management techniques
Screening, treatment, and prevention of any infectious diseases
Maintaining a healthy body weight
A healthy, balanced diet
Stable mental health
During the pregnancy phase of holistic prenatal care, a baby is exposed to various environmental factors the mother is exposed to, such as nutrition, toxic agents, medications, etc. So it is important for a mother to get in the best health possible to potentially work with their medical providers to reduce the toxic load on the body. This includes things like medication reduction, detoxification of organs, etc. It is important to note that it is dangerous to reduce medication load without the assistance of a qualified healthcare professional.
During pregnancy, it is helpful to have a balanced diet with supportive nutrient supplements. Energy requirements are only minimally increased during pregnancy, which leaves the fallacy of eating for two to the wind. Any cravings experiences during pregnancy are often as a result of nutrient deficiencies either in the diet or lacking in absorption. Therefore attention should be made to the diet to include healthy and balanced nutrition. Critical nutrients to be mindful of our iron, iodine, calcium, zinc, magnesium. All necessary vitamins A- E, as well as added Omega-3 Fatty acids.
A Healthy Lifestyle while pregnant is critical. Here are some healthy habits during pregnancy that we outline in holistic prenatal care.
A healthy, balanced diet
Moderate weight gain
Regular to the moderate exercise of hiking, yoga, walking
Regular prenatal visits
A balance of work-life
A healthy delivery after holistic prenatal care is a key to the development of the babies immune system including vaginal birth, being able to breastfeed for at least a year, and ensuring that the same lifestyle habits that were maintained during pregnancy care over to the babies, the first year or until breastfeeding stops.
Breastmilk is the best choice for quality nutrition for the baby. It is recommended to breastfeed for a minimum of four to six months. Breast milk has so many quality nutrients for the baby while also supporting the babies digestive tract, immune system, neurological system, and reduces the risk of late development obesity. Breastfeeding also promotes bonding between mother and baby and can have a positive influence over the mothers’ hormones as they return to normal.
Breastfeeding women have an increased need for several micronutrients of iodine, vitamins, and EFAs, as well as a healthy and balanced diet. It is important to continue a healthy balanced diet, adequate water intake with no unhealthy habits such as smoking, alcohol, smoking, etc. Here is a company that sells herbs to help mamas milk production: https://www.euphoricherbals.com/
As baby crosses over the 6-month mark into 7 months of life, complementary feeding can be encouraged. Solid foods should not be initiated before 5 months but not after 7 months while continuing breastfeeding for as long as mom and baby would like to continue. Move slowly with adding complementary foods in and do so one at a time. Try to avoid cow’s milk int he first year of life, sugar-sweetened beverages. Ruit juices, and honey that is not fully pasteurized. It is encouraged to make your own whole food baby foods rather than the store-bought options that are often loaded with sweeteners, etc. This will allow for a healthier palate that will last for many years to come down the road.
The first 1,000 days of life are critical to the immune system, neurological system, and digestive system of your child. With the new medical and healthcare information at our fingertips with genetic as well as epigenetic understanding, it is a very exciting time to have children. Care must be taken to ensure mommy and baby are healthy and happy before, after, and during pregnancy. Holistic Family Practice is here to help ensure you and your family are healthy with expert care and attention to detail.
As a holistic health doctor, I see it all the time. These days kids turn their nose up at just about anything green, healthy, and nutrient dense in search for cardboard, sugar-laden, fat packed, good tasting food options. Couple that with challenges of pregnancy, gut health, mineral deficiencies, and many children almost come out of the womb as picky eaters. Many parents come to the practice concerned about their children’s growth, development, and nutrition. I would like to ease you from the frustration and acknowledge that you are doing the best you can raise a free thinking human being. You are not able to force them to do something, even if we think we can, want to, or otherwise. I have had to learn that myself as a mother and a holistic health doctor. Children, even young ones now are coming into this world full of opinions, communications, and wisdom well beyond their years. As a parent, you can either burn yourself out trying to force your children to do something they do not want to do for whatever reason or learn to educate and stand back and let them make their own decisions. This can be a tough ask, especially as you fill your head with various nutrition dangers, being stressed by healthcare providers (some who are not holistic healthcare providers), school officials, etc. There has not been any greater time than now that we as parents are more stressed and guilted about the ills of parenting, the ills of improper nutrition, and the ills of poor self-care. Beating yourself up surely is not going to produce the results you are looking for as you work to help support the picky eater in your house. Here are a few ideas to help the process along:
Offer lots of colorful options – Holistic healthcare doctors work to engage your child’s senses and we encourage you to do the same with eating color is one of those through the eye site. Try to have a plate that has multiple colors on it from green to red to orange and allow them to choose which items that seem most appealing to them. This new generation of children are very sensitive, and those with the more visual appeal will enjoy the bright, refreshing eye site palate choices they can choose from. Perhaps even brushing up on your food presentation could be helpful as well to include squiggles on the plate of smiley faces, cartoon characters, and more. Get creative it may be just as fun making it as it is for your child to explore it.
Multiple textures – As a holistic healthcare doctor, I can hear some of you groaning now as many children have texture challenges, however, do not fear to offer various textures for your child to explore. Ultimately, they must find what works for them and what doesn’t and try to let go of the need to sway, control, or otherwise coerce out of fear of a lack of nutrition. We want to develop healthy habits with food and a healthy association with food that works for them.
No shaming, no blaming, no coercion – This is an easy one to slip up on. Even if you have made the most nutrient dense, yummiest tasting food option, they may not want to eat it. This does not mean you are a failure as a parent. This is not a personal attack. Yes, there are starving children everywhere and no your child will not eat the food if you push harder or convince more. I have often worked with adults deprogramming their childhood angst associated with food. From not leaving the table all night, to being forced to eat every bite on their plate, to being forced only to eat certain things and shamed not to eat others how we teach our children about food stays with them, so keep it light, enjoyable, and fun.
Monkey see monkey do – You cannot exactly boast about all of the healthy food items when they see you eating junk. As a holistic health care doctor, I am not saying you now need to be a perfect eater, just consider that kids watch and pick up everything. Even things that you do not think they see, so be mindful of your own eating process. Do you eat when you are stressed? Do you eat when you are bored? These unconscious habits are being spunged up, even when we do not know they exist.
Think Independence – Picky eaters also want their thoughts and choices respected so involve them in the meal planning and allow them to choose the dishes. Make some suggestions and offering but begin early by teaching them the importance of meal planning. M daughter loved cooking with my Dad and often speaks about making quesadillas and various food items. Even those these are not the healthiest options she can always doctor them up with healthy items later on as their palate changes over time.
Lastly, it is important to be patient with your children and yourself. I tend to offer this patience as a holistic health doctor teaching people that developing healthy eating habits takes time and should not be a stressful and difficult experience. Here are some other tips for helping picky eaters here: https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/nutrition/Pages/Picky-Eaters.aspx. There are plenty of times that even myself does not want to eat 100 percent healthy, and in those moments, I do provide myself those options. I have been super restrictive at times and more loose and relaxed at other times. Stress has been a big factor for me in my eating as well as convenience. I often have seen how these habits have developed in my daughter, mostly the, not the stress eating part. I have had to be patient with myself and her by allowing her to make healthy choices that best suit her. In some moments, when I think all is lost, she orders a salad and explains that she has been eating unhealthy lately and needs to clean it up. Hooray! I celebrate the small success and you should too as you develop impressionable palates.
Are you wondering how you should be parenting highly sensitive children in today’s world? We have reached an age where the phenomena of intuition, gifted intellectual insight beyond our years, creative and emotional compassion even at an early age. I was one of those children. I recently saw a Facebook post of a toddler hugging everyone when she was leaving. I was that child too. I embraced the energies and needs of others as if they were my own. I acknowledged others and had deep empathy and compassion for their struggles. I still do, and this is one of the reasons I do what I do and am on a mission to bring care back to healthcare. In fulfilling my mission, I am encountering more children like me, highly sensitive ones. THose that are wise well beyond their years. Those that give their parents a run for their money, this is also why I only have one child and enjoy help guiding you through the ups and downs of raising your highly sensitive child. Working with and parenting a highly sensitive child requires a great deal of wisdom and patience. The other thing it requires is a shift in emotional intelligence from the parents.
Not all parents were raised in emotionally intelligence or emotionally supportive homes. IN fact, many of us were not raised in these types of environments at all. Even if we had wonderful childhoods our western society as a whole was not in an awakened state where it acknowledged sensitivity and intuition as well as a emotions as a positive things. As a result, our parents and even their parents were raised to be more in survival mode and less in a compassionate, loving realm. So the real challenge becomes how do we teach something that we ourselves never learned. Or how do we manage with a split brain, meaning the brain that was taught using fear and discipline with the new more sensitive loving emotional brain that values safety and compassion?
This requires that we “raise up” the other side of our brain. The side that only views the world from a punishing, victim, wrong/right paradigm. We all have this aspect of ourselves. The self-righteousness. The judgments, and the fixed views, even if we do not always recognize or acknowledge thes not so pretty sides of ourselves. The control, the ego and the do as I say not as I do mindset. The hypocrite, the accuser these are all aspects of this side of our brain. Notice I said a side of our brain and not a side of our soul. There often is an inner battle that happens between the brain and the soul. The soul wants peace, love, and also sees all the truths about a scenario yet the brain wants to be right and often will look for any means necessary to prove that point of being right. Alas, the mind is seldom right, ha! IN fact, it can keep you spinning and spinning in doubt, worry, fears, and overthinking. Did I do this right, did I say this well enough, should I have yelled, it was wrong to yell, and on and on and on again.
Parenting highly sensitive children need you to raise this part of the brain u and in a lot of ways is challenging you to tonify the nervous system. The highly sensitive child has a very sensitive nervous system that is hypersensitive to the world around it. Highly sensitive children pick up the emotions of other people. They sense other peoples emotions, pain, and suffering because of this they can get overwhelmed in crowds, new situations, large noises, and sudden changes can send them spinning out of control. Criticism, defeat, and confrontation are also not easy for the highly sensitive child who takes everything incredibly personally. They can be perfectionists and strive for that to a fault because they feel so deeply.
Parenting highly sensitive children can help you grow in many ways and can also leave the parent feeling exhausted, burned out, and at their wits end at the irrational behaviors at times. Raising a healthy well-balanced child with whom is sensitive is possible it just requires a certain level of patience and willingness to shift to the children needs ahead of your own. You may want a more logical, disciplined, and a far more obedient child however G-D had other plans for you in your discovery. See the child’s sensitivity as a gift instead of a weakness. Embrace their emotions and teach them how to manage them instead of viewing them as innately flawed or there is something wrong with their sensitivity.
Resist the urge to make passive aggressive comments to them about their emotions such as you are such a drama queen, or other name calling as well as not validating their emotions and telling them whatever they feel and however they feel is not a big deal. It may not be a big deal to you, but it is important to them. Harsh dogmatic and rigid discipline can send a sensitive child wrestling. They often cannot handle these harsh tactics, and this will often have the opposite effect that you are looking to create. Harsh discipline can crate crying, yelling, name-calling, tantrums, etc. Teach them about their emotions instead and how to work with them if they get triggered and what tools they can use in order to not allow their emotions to run their lives. Embrace the healthy aspects of themselves and the positive attributes that they possess. Reward the positive behaviors and encourage them when you see them show initiative, independence, and they do something great no matter how small. Try not to express every flaw that they have and only verbally acknowledge the negative behaviors versus the positive. Accepting who your child is goes a long way in the process. Do not try to change your child, fix your child, mock your child, or otherwise see them as wrong. They are not wrong, they are a new wave of spiritually intuitive and gifted children come in to help the world heal. G-D intended them to be this way, and therefore to not accepting them would mean not accepting G-D and G-Ds will. Be easy on yourself and be easy on others in the process.
When it comes to parenting highly sensitive children, it is important to cultivate stillness, calm, and consistency within the home. HSPs love structure, it helps them feel safe. Having the same time for dinner time with the same people does encourage a sense of safety. HSPs do not like change, they do not like variations all around mostly because our nervous systems and auric fields are so far reaching that we are always picking up on things such as danger, emotions, thoughts, pretty much anything that floats by we grasp, pick up and run away with it. Yes, HSPs have pretty creative minds and therefore create stories big and small that may or might not be true. Creating safe spaces with consistent encouragement goes a long way for these special folks.
I always thought discipline was a dirty word but am beginning o acknowledge the safety and security that it contains. When disciplining a child remember it’s not about negative reinforcement which can be at times demeaning and self-esteem challenging. Instead, teach discipline as a guideline to life. Meaning in order to create more freedom the need to create more discipline for self. Think about the CEO that disciplines their mind and time in order to have more time and financial freedom for their families. Discipline has many interpretations not just telling someone when they have done wrong in life. With overbearing and undermining parents they often inadvertently affect a HSPs self-esteem and confidence with their overburdening shame, insecurity, as well as need to control others. There is a healthy way to redirect a child who is not performing the way we think they should, and there are also many ways to approach the same concept, so reflection goes a long way before parenting.
Authenticity – HSPs are truth seekers, but they can also feel and see authenticity in a human being. The deeply love and are empathetic as well as compassionate, while not judging others harshly. They see who you are and they love and accept you anyway so do everyone a favor and be authentic. That means no lying, hiding, or pretending. That means total honesty even if it is tough as well as having full integrity. We often have very good memories and can remember as well as make clear connections to things based on the things you say. Imagine we study you, and hear your words, watch your actions, and can distinguish the two… I know pretty scary, right.. haha.. Not to worry, it is really our, and we hope it feels comforting to have such an understanding and loving soul around you.
Leaving the authoritarian Piscean era of do what I say not what I do, and my way or no way, and the most famous because I say so or because I am the adult, etc. are over. HSPs do not blindly trust, meaning they do not blindly just do what you say because you say it. They do not live in fear like that. In fact, they think for themselves. Gasp! Even more of a gasp if you have raised them to think for themselves and they actually do it. Darn it! How could they! It’s okay, don’t react just observe, and even still learn to teach instead of tell. This has been extremely helpful with my daughter upon raising her. Whenever I tell her to do something, she has about 10 reasons why she is choosing not to do that, and it can quickly become a wrestling match over just about everything. However, when I explore all of the concepts of understanding and teach her all of the aspects she magically says Oh, I can see that, or I understand, or the beloved that makes sense now. So get they are not property, and this is not a police state where you are looking to punish, judge, and admonish at every moment. Your job as a parent is to guide, teach, encourage, and support them in making their decisions. Sometimes the cause and effect will work in their favor to the result they are seeking, and sometimes it will result in a lesson. Either way, it is their road and their journey to discover and jumping up and down and yelling will not do anything to shift the mindset.
Ultimately there is no right or wrong way when it comes to parenting highly sensitive children, there is no expert opinion. I think we all bumble through this infinite discovery of life and work towards deeper levels of understanding both ourselves as well as others. I think another aspect that HSPs take on is the need to care Take others emotions ahead of our own. I think in a lot of ways we feel deep[ly responsible for those emotions around us that we love, honor, and admire. However., as we get healthier, wiser, and more conscious, we discover that we can leave all the feelings that we pick up where they belong. We no longer need to pick up intuitively every thought that floats by and we can recognize where we begin and end, and where another picks up. I often teach people about houses on a street. All of the houses are in neat little rows separated by streets. And before we cross the street, we make sure our street is in order. No throwing trash around and no sneaking into other peoples backyards. We can relax inside our home or on the porch, and we know exactly what laundry needs folding, or trash needs to be taken out, but we do not need to go and do the neighbors laundry or throw his or her trash out. We are content and at peace with our own space, our own place, and our own feelings, thoughts, etc.
In a world filled with anger, judgment, discontent, and disease we need highly sensitive people in order to heal the world. So if you have these sweet spirits in your life love them fiercely, acknowledge them, support them, and be mindful and present to them with authenticity as well as peace. They will appreciate you for it.
*All information contained in this blog post is intended for informational and educational purposes only, and is neither intended nor suited to be a replacement or substitute for professional medical treatment nor for professional medical advice relative to a specific medical question or condition.