Ok… let’s just say from the get-go that it’s not easy. I have gotten to where I am because I chose to research like crazy for, well, years really. And to be honest.. it’ll never stop. But, I’m also sensible enough to remember what I was like as a teenager. I could eat whatever I liked… never got sick, or had what I now know to be food related health issues. Even the things that are indicators of unwise eating for me now.. like intestinal discomfort (that’s a nice way of saying borderline constipation 🤣), headaches, gas, sluggishness.. that kinda thing… wasn’t an issue for me (as far as I can try and remember it anyway).
And to be real…. I pretty much ate whatever I wanted until after having my first bubba at 24yrs old… and didn’t have to even think about making ‘healthy choices’ until after that… and if I’m real honest, it was totally about weight management. (aka.. caring what I looked like… aka vanity🤔) . I did, however, make good choices around pregnancy… no deli meats, weird seafood… that kinda thing. I also began drinking water regularly when I was pregnant.. and that’s actually where I developed my love for drinking water. It was just convenient that you kinda NEED to drink lots of water regularly when breast feeding.. and seeing I was pretty much pregnant or breastfeeding from mid 2000 until mid 2003… and then pregnant with James in mid 2004, breastfeeding until mid 2006, I formed good habits that continue today. #thankfulI
(somehow, without even trying really, having developed a love of drinking water in my kiddos, but that solely comes down to it being the only thing I gave them when they were young. There was no cordial or juice in our house.. they may have had juice as a treat.. but they never had soft drink.. and even now, don’t like it much. Jordan is the only one who drink some occasionally. )
So, I am able to see why they don’t automatically just take on what I have to say around their health and the correlation to their eating. I didn’t give two hoots at their age either.. I had no reason to care about it. My 17yr old son Jordan is mindful re eating… but that is solely around body image. He wants to look a certain way, so he exercises and eats in a way that will best help him achieve that. He does still have his ‘naughty’ eating though.. so he’s still very much a normal teen in that way.
My 18yr old daughter, TJ…. well, let’s just say she probably has a % of Nutella flowing through her blood stream. How she doesn’t experience negative issues due to her Nutella consumption is simply beyond me. I mean, as I said, I didn’t care what I ate as I teen.. but I also never consumed things like Nutella by the tubful. 🤣 . Anyway… we’ll just need to let that one run it’s course.. only she will deal with the negative (if any) issues that come from her Nutella addiction. (Maybe there’s a Nutella addicts anonymous ?? who knows.😂) . And yes, trust me, I’ve tried to make my own, buy healthier versions etc etc.. no luck so far.)
My 14yr old, James… while not really caring about his food intake from a healthy point of view.. he also doesn’t really have any hugely unhealthy things that he eats. The issue with him, which has some correlation with his ADHD meds, is actually getting him to eat at times. If he’s focused on something… or basically if there’s something more interesting to do… he simply won’t eat. And seeing that his medication can only be given to him if he within a healthy weight range.. it’s super important to keep him fed.
I really do see it as part of my responsibility as their mother to respect THEIR temples… while they don’t have the maturity to do it themselves. I was blessed with those kiddos, I and I need to look after them.. that pretty much covers it really.
And then there’s my DH, Terry… He doesn’t really care about healthy eating…. that’s about all I have to say about that. LOL
Then we get around to me…. in the interest of total honesty… Peanut M & Ms are my kryptonite.. #nuffsaid
OK.. so now that I’ve thoroughly thrown us all under the bus…. let’s look at how I deal with this as a family.
It’s is a pretty important to me (that’s putting it mildly) to put a very healthy meal on the table each evening. I want out ‘meat and dairy footprint’ to be less than it has in the past, so usually, our meals would be considered Vegan, if not for the meat. LOL. I use organic extra virgin coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil, to cook in… a dairy free butter for spreading, or to cook in with veggies etc, cashew meal replicates the cheese flavour in pretty much all meals. Some cheese may go on the top of spag bol etc, but other than that..no cheese. When making any recipes that would have previously begun with a bechamel sauce, they now start with coconut cream, cashew meal & the vegan butter, Nuttelex.
Shameless Nuttelex plug… Dairy free, Lactose free, Nut oil free, Gluten free, Soy free, Cholesterol free oil, Salt reduced, Contains Vit D, Natural flavour and colours. The main ingredients are basically Olive Oil & Sunflower seed.
Having a family that loves curries is super easy too, as you can so easily substitute with coconut milk/cream.. and a dairy free yoghurt. In those types of recipes, you can’t even tell it’s a dairy free option used.
We also have ‘Meat free Mondays’… but it sometimes end up ‘meat free whatever night it happens’. It’s super super easy to make yummy vegan meals if you do just a little bit of research. The stigma around vegan meals is downright ridiculous. Now, to be clear, I’m not promoting a 100% Vegan diet, at all… I love my chicken and steak too much for that… but I do wholeheartedly believe that our meat and dairy consumption is ridiculously glutinous. I believe this very strongly as a Christian also ! Scripture backs the premise that meat was originally not even ‘on the table’, and even once it was ‘permissible’ following the flood, it was a luxury… not a main staple. The mass production of our meat industry is disgusting.. but hey, don’t get me started.
So, the biggest way I combat my teens lack of interest in eating healthy, is to put that healthy, appealing meal on the table each evening. While I transitioned to dairy free milk nearly 3yrs ago, we are now a dairy free milk family as a whole. It was a gradual thing though… with Jordan he was convinced by doing some research himself and finding out that milk products are like moths to a flame when it comes to acne… and what teen likes acne.. so over he came to the dairy free side. My husband was convinced when he received a high cholesterol result in a blood test around his 50th b’day. He could have just gone to a lighter milk option.. but hey, I shamelessly took the opportunity when it was presented to me. ha ha.
By this point, with it being 3 against 2, it was a foregone conclusion that we were going to go 100% dairy free milk as a family… but both James and Tyler-Jasmine were easily swayed by the possibility of acne improvement too.
We did play around with different options for a while, and finally everyone was happy with Rice Milk. Sadly, there’s still one certain 14yr old who much prefers the white rice milk as opposed to the healthy option of brown rice milk… but hey.. take the wins where they come.
With that change in the family diet, breakfast was sorted, as all 3 kids, and my husband, like weetbix for breakky each morning. No, I don’t think it’s the healthiest breakfast one could consume.. but hey, it’s far from the worst.
Snacks are typically tricky… I myself, don’t snack to be honest. I’ll have a bliss ball if I’ve made them.. but as a general rule, I don’t snack. I would like to improve in that area though, as besides fruit & good quality muesli bars…. the boys don’t take much else in the snack department.
Lunch can be an issue… and here’s where I’ve decided to ‘regress’ in some ways. My kids were encouraged to be independent with lunch (& brekky) from a fairy young age…. and that’s what has happened for many years now. Only thing is, I noticed that fairly basic things were being taken to school each day (that’s if anything was taken), and sometimes on weekends, I would notice that they didn’t eat lunch at all. It was then that I made the decision that I’d much prefer them ate well then argue with them about health and wellbeing… which, as I’ve already said, they pretty much don’t give two hoots about.
So, yes, I do now make my son’s lunches each day… and I don’t mind doing it. I would much rather they had good healthy food intake in these really important developing years, than have them eat food very low in nutrition, because I’m being a stick in the mud regarding independence. They’ve got their adult lives to make bad food choices, and I won’t be able to do a thing about it… but while I can have a say in what goes into their bodies, then I’m going to to that. Even my husband, who, for context, just walked in the door from woolies with dairy iced coffee and a bag of choc covered honeycombs.. Arrrggghhh… he will go without lunch when busy, rather than make himself something… so I don’t have an issue with making him something. I mean really… with those rubbish choices, I’ve gotta get as much nutrition in as I can. 😂
While I’m here.. a hot tip for you… If you suggest to your family to use wholemeal bread/wraps instead of white…. or to add spinach to their wrap/sandwhich… they won’t be too keen initially… but you make them a toastie on healthy bread, with healthier ingredients.. and all you’ll hear is “Thanks Mum!” As I’ve said before… sooooo much of it is about healthy substitutions.
That pretty much tells you how I subtly indoctrinate my family into the healthy eating lifestyle.. 😂🤣🤣 #noshame #letshopeitsticks
Blessings Peeps… Remember to Respect the temple, inside & out . xx