Re-writing the Kids Menu

While you might think you’re in charge of your household, we all know who really runs the show. More often than not, it is a 2 1/2 foot mini human, running around with sticking fingers and a full diaper. They decide when you go to bed, when you come inside and when you have to turn the T.V off. Most importantly, they determine the inventory of the kitchen.  

It is no secret that getting your little human to eat foods that are healthy, easy to make and allergy friendly can be a challenge. Some kids will go through phases where they eat everything in sight, then refuse to eat anything at all which can be quite frightening for any parent.  Watching your kid refuse to eat healthy foods or eat at all can be frustrating, so taking the route of least resistance becomes the easiest option. That’s when you find yourself stocking up on the packaged fruit snacks, dino-nuggets, mac-n cheese and potato chips.

Tired parents will also find themselves snacking on these highly processed chemical filled snacks.  Preparing one meal that everyone in the family will enjoy is a task in itself, and eating together is a whole other story.  Busy schedules, different aged family members that come with different taste palettes, the list goes on and on. We are here to bring everyone back to the dinner table again, all ages, all family members, all food allergies, all coming together over flavorsome, wholesome cuisine.  Here at RollinGreens we cater to all audiences. From the babbling little humans, to your picky teenager with a dairy allergy, busy parents, even grandma or grandpa who is always complaining that food just isn’t as good as it used to be back in their day, we have something for everyone.  

Starting from the beginning-Pregnancy  

Being meticulous about what you put in your body is one thing, but when there’s a tiny human growing inside of you, the word meticulous takes on a whole new meaning.  During pregnancy, every women wants to make sure she is nourishing her and her baby properly. Getting enough fruits, veggies, whole grains and protein that will make you and the growing baby strong and nourished, is one of the biggest priorities for most pregnant women.   Not only is millet a hardy whole grain that is also gluten-free, it is an exceptional addition to a diet when pregnant because of plethora of vitamins and nutrients that are vital during pregnancy. Millet is easy to prepare and can be incorporated into numerous different recipes, from sweet or savory breakfast foods, to snacks, and delectable main courses and side dishes.  Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean you should have to choose between flavor and health.

Vitamin B Complex consists of 8 B vitamins that are essential for the pregnant women, especially in the first and third trimester of pregnancy when women start to feel fatigue and run down. The Vitamin B Complex gives the body energy while also properly nourishing the growing baby.

Vitamin B1- Thiamine

-According to the Mayo Clinic- “Thiamin (vitamin B-1) helps the body generate energy from nutrients. Thiamin is necessary for the growth, development and function of cells.”(Mayo Clinic).  A deficiency of thiamin could leave a pregnant women exhausted and interfere with the proper development of a growing baby. Thiamine is especially important when it comes to the growing baby’s brain, “Thiamine plays a major role in the development of your baby’s brain, aim to consume 1.4 mg every day” (American Pregnancy Association).    Millet is a great source of thiamine with 1 cup having 0.2 mg of thiamin which is 12% of your daily value!  No need for chalky, expensive supplements here.

Vitamin B2-Riboflavin

-Riboflavin helps the body produce the energy it needs throughout the day.  For pregnant women, Riboflavin helps promote growth, nerve development, good vision and healthy skin for a growing baby.  It also helps in absorbing and activating iron and folic acids, other essential vitamins for a growing baby. I cup of millet has 8% of the daily value of riboflavin!

Vitamin B9- Folic Acid

-One of the most common supplements taken during pregnancy is folic acid, and for good reasons too! Folic Acid plays an essential role in the development of the neural tube and prevents against birth defects.  Folic acid also aids the body in producing red blood cells, important for mamma and her baby! According to the American Pregnancy Association, “You should be consuming 400 – 800 mcg (micrograms) of vitamin B9 every day throughout your entire pregnancy, which translates to 0.4 – 0.8 mg (milligrams)”   Luckily, once again, millet has you covered, one cup of millet has 33.1mcg of folate which is 8% of your daily value.

Now that we’ve shed more light on just a few of the innumerable benefits this itty bitty grain has to offer, it’s time to put the millet to work! Most parents can tell you, the first words children learn is- “no”. “Are you hungry?” “No.”  “Time for a nap.” “No.” “Please finish the rest of your dinner.” “NO.” It can be tricky to find foods that your little one likes, especially when they are transitioning from formula or breastmilk to real foods. During this transition period and early stages of solid food, it can also be difficult to find foods that your child will say yes to every time that you can eat as well instead of having to make two separate meals. Alongside our everyday Millet Tots, try these mini millet pancakes!

healthy kids breakfast ideas

Breakfast

Mini Millet Pancakes-Gluten-free, Vegan, Paleo, Plant based, and easy on the go breakfast for kids or parents! These pancakes are also great for kids who are just learning to eat by themselves because they are so soft and easy to chew! Makes 25-30 mini pancakes.

Ingredients:

3/4 Cup of organic millet flour

1 tbs of baking powder

2 tbs of flaxseed mixed with warm water (egg replacer)

2 tbs of coconut sugar (or sweetener of your choice- see notes below)

1/2 cup of plant based milk

Cinnamon/ nutmeg to taste

a pinch of salt

Directions:

Mix ingredients together

-heat skillet to a medium heat, coat pan with butter, spoon batter into the skillet

-flip over pancakes when you start to see bubbles

-Serve with fresh berries and yogurt

-Note: DO NOT USE HONEY AS A SWEETENER OR TOPPING FOR INFANTS.  HONEY IS VERY HARMFUL FOR YOUNG CHILDREN AND CANNOT BE DIGESTED PROPERLY.

Now that you have a tasty breakfast to entice your guests of all ages, it’s time to bring in your finest critiques! Between sports, parent teacher conferences, it’s not always easy to bring everyone together.  Despite the obstacles, there are great health benefits of eating together at the table. “Research has shown that adolescents who frequently share evening meals with their families experience more positive health outcomes, including diets of higher nutritional quality.”(Science direct).  Eating together is not only a great opportunity to talk about nutrition, but to practice it too, “A 2000 survey found that the nine to 14-year-olds who ate dinner with their families most frequently consumed more fruits and vegetables and less soda and fried foods. Their diets also had higher amounts of many key nutrients, like calcium, iron, and fiber.”(Goodnet)  And if you think eating as a family is only something for the kids, think again, “in 2008, researchers at Brigham Young University conducted a study of IBM employees and found that sitting down to a family meal helped working moms reduce the tension and strain from long hours at the office.”(Goodnet)

Eating together every night as a family is a magnificent idea that pretty much everyone can agree on, but how do you bring the whole family together with busy schedules, impromptu hockey practices and meetings going past 5pm?  Here are some tips to get you and the family back to the dinner table!

1) It doesn’t always have to be dinner-  Eating together doesn’t strictly mean you have to eat dinner together.  If your family’s schedule is especially busy in the evening, or if you just happen to be more of a morning person, try eating breakfast together!  After all, it is the most important meal of the day!

2) Theme nights-  taco Tuesday, mediterranean Monday, make your own pasta night, breakfast for dinner.  Having theme nights will get your whole family excited and give them something to look forward to throughout the week.  It’s also a great way to introduce new flavors and tastes from other cultures to kids!

3)Round up the whole crew and get your family in the kitchen with you- Having your kids cook with you not only teaches them life lessons like always salt your pasta water or how to properly rinse root vegetables, it helps kids appreciate their food and where it comes from.  Cooking with your family is a great opportunity to explain to them where exactly these carrots came from and the great deal of work it took to harvest them. Enlightening your family on the journey their food has to take to just to get to our plates will make your family more aware and more appreciative of Mother Nature’s finest work!

4)Planning in advance- If your family has a million things going on Tuesdays and Thursdays it may not be realistic to expect family dinners on those days. If you know your family’s schedule will be packed a certain night, make sure to secure a few other nights in the week for a family meal. It’s okay not to eat together every night, unfortunately it just is not realistic with our busy schedules, but try to reserve at least a few days during the week to eat together.

5)Everyone does their part- Make mealtimes a team effort because there is no “i” in team!  Assign each family member a role. Whether its setting the table, unloading the dishwasher or making the salad, having every family contribute can turn into quality family time.

6)Meal time positivity- Keep the mood of mealtime a light, positive one.  Save the grief of grades, bad behavior or negative energy for a seperate time.  Allow meal time to be a time of positive reflection or a time to catch up. Even playing some peaceful background music or lighting a few candles can create a positive, safe and relaxing aura for meal times.  

Between keeping the whole family happy, keeping them feed and well nourished, and throwing that Frozen themed birthday party your 5 year old is begging or with only one weeks notice, we truly commend all the parents out there, we don’t know how you do it! What we do know is that a happy stomach means a happy heart and happy hearts lead to productive fulfilling futures, what more (besides maybe a full night of sleep) could you want for your little one?!

CITATIONS

Eating Breakfast and Dinner Together as a Family: Associations with Sociodemographic Characteristics and Implications for Diet Quality and Weight Status. (2013, October 15). Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221226721301335X

Roles of Vitamin B in a Healthy Pregnancy. (2019, January 03). Retrieved from http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/vitamin-b-pregnancy/

Thiamin. (2017, October 25). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-thiamin/art-20366430

9 Scientifically Proven Reasons to Eat Dinner as a Family. (2016, July 19). Retrieved from https://www.goodnet.org/articles/9-scientifically-proven-reasons-to-eat-dinner-as-family