How the Alley's Eat! Part 3: Feeding a Family

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If you read my first post you know that my philosophy to eating and feeding my family is to eat healthy whole foods. When you’re a busy mom this can be challenging, but one trick is find brands that you know and trust to keep their ingredients clean and healthy. I have a growing list of brands that I trust and are my “go-tos” in the grocery store, this way I don’t waste time reading labels at the store. Another important “hack” is to get your kids to eat the same foods as you. Easier said than done, right? Well below are some of my hacks, tricks, and tactics for feeding a family with healthy foods!

Eating Meals Together

I found the easiest way to get my kids to eat healthy meals is to give them what I am eating. As often as possible (though it’s getting harder as Jackson gets older) we eat together as a family. I am open about how much I hate being in the kitchen - so there is no way I am going to cook once for my boys and then another time for me. I also find that if we are all sitting down eating together, the boys are more likely to eat things that David and I are also eating.

One helpful way to serve the boy is to break the meal down into its components. For example, my meal might be a salad with grilled chicken over fresh spinach, tomatoes, and avocado with dressing. For the boys, I’ll make a plate with cut up grilled chicken, bite size tomatoes chunks, and some avocado and give the dressing as dip for the veggies. It’s the same ingredients but served in a way that the boys are more likely to eat.

Veggies!

I serve a vegetable with almost every dinner. The boys will always get that vegetable on their plate. Sometimes its raw veggies, like cucumbers, and other times they’ll be cooked, like brussel sprouts. The boys must always have a “no thank you serving.” That means they must try the veggie and take at least one bite (this applies to all the foods I serve, but veggies tend to be the more challenging food). If they choose not to eat the rest they just say “no thank you.” I don’t force the boys to finish any specific foods. I find this is a fast way to get them to dislike a food. I also don’t want to create any unhealthy habits of eating past the point of being full.

Meal Prepping

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I do not always meal prep. Sometimes Sundays are being spent with the family or I have other things to catch up and I just don’t have time. When I do meal prep, I am always glad that I did. It is a huge commitment to spend most of the day Sunday cooking (especially for someone who doesn’t love cooking) but it’s always worth it.

If I am not meal prepping I do find ways to save time. One big way is to organize my pantry and fridge. I wash, clean, and cut my veggies and fruits. This saves time if I am using these items for meals during the week and also makes them accessible for snacks for the boys. I also make sure that snacks for the boys are organized in a way that is just grab and go.

Lunches

For lunches for the boys, I usually make those in advance. I’ll make a weeks worth of lunches Sunday night and I have a system down so it goes quickly. Here are the basics for what I include:

Sandwich or Wrap: with applegate meat, swiss or cheddar (a good dairy brand like stonyfield), and either dave’s killer bread or a whole wheat wrap

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Fruits and Veggies: I always give at least one fruit and one veggie. Usually either apple, strawberries, blueberries, banana or grapes. For veggies either carrots, cucumbers, or spinach (in their sandwich)

String cheese (babybelus) or small yogurt drink (stonyfield)

Snacks including: goldfish smiles, pirates booty, annie’s homegrown crackers.

Nuts: wonderful pistachios or almonds, cashrews, or a mix of all three with some craisins.

Treat: I’ll sometimes give them a small treat like stretch island or trader joe’s oreos or a homemade cookies.

Feeding a family is not easy - feeding a family with healthy foods can be really challenging. Just keep in mind that you are building healthy habits long term!

xx

Kendra

Kendra Alley