WFMW – Backwards Day

WFMW Hooray, it’s another Backwards Day at Rocks in My Dryer. Instead of doling out sage advice and tips on lofty topics like diet/exercise, better sleep w/fans, and coffee, YOU all get to guide me with your wisdom.

I can hardly wait! I need lots and lots of help in almost every category. Well, I do have ‘blogging until 1 in the morning’ down pat so I have a few things figured out. Still, that leaves all sorts of other areas in which I am pathetic and desperate.

rachel and Mia

Rachel rallied from her on-going stomach flu in order to take Mia for a walk this morning.

After much thought, list making and soul searching, I’ve decided to beg for your ideas on healthy eating for the family.


feed this boy

David is a great baseball player, but he obviously needs more veggies to keep him strong and healthy.

How do you get your children (and husbands, God love ‘em) to eat vegetables?
What kind of healthy snacks do you serve during the day?
What things are you willing to pay extra for in your budget – organic food, more expensive protein choices (fish, grass fed beef, free range chicken), supplements?
Can you share one thing in particular that you believe has highly benefited your family’s health?

sarah sweetie pie

Look at that little girl, she can’t wait to read all of your comments.

Thank you! I am so excited to hear lots of great suggestions. Go to Rocks In My Dryer and you can find all sorts of other folks who are breathlessly awaiting your words of wisdom.

Project 365 – Day 310

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31 thoughts on “WFMW – Backwards Day”

  1. My husband is a very healthy eater. And he’ll eat any veggie. (not a fan of mushrooms though, but they’re fungi)

    My kids….They’ll pretty much do only ordinary veggies.

    I never scrimp on fresh fruit though. I’ll buy lots and lots of fruit and don’t say no to it. If I buy 8-12 pears, they’re gone in 1 day. No joke. It’s sortof annoying, but at least they’re not eating cake.

    Most kids do grapes, I assume your kids are normal that way. But I hadn’t really thought about plums, until recently. They’re hip to them. Sortof like a big red grape!

    My kids love stew also, so you can get all sorts of root veggies in a stew and for some reason my kids will consume celery and onions. which is pretty amazing, ’cause they don’t like either.

    Sorry I’m not very helpful. I’m sure you’ve thought of those things.

  2. For our family, it has everything to do with what I bring into our house. There simply aren’t any unhealthy snack choices available. We eat 6 times a day (breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, dinner, snack), so if they don’t like what’s offered at any given time, it’s usually only about 3 hours until the next opportunity. They all help plan the week’s menus, and they look forward to helping prepare and serve the meals and snacks they selected. The older girls will pore over my cookbooks looking for new and interesting things to try.

    All of my kids prefer their veggies raw, and I offer a small assortment of dips with the fruits and veggies, so they’re usually a hit.

    Another thing that has helped is that the kids and I plant a very modest garden in the spring. They love to eat what they helped to grow, and they are very proud of themselves when a relative or neighbor takes home a bag of okra or tomatoes from the surplus.

  3. Hi. I’ve been reading your comments on the other blogs and YOU HAVE GREAT IDEAS!

    I up our veggie intake by making lots of pasta sauces and toppings for baked potatoes with a onion and tomato base. I also do home-made pizza with LOTS of veggies on top, and I have veggies at every meal, except breakfast. Snack on fruit, raisins or carrot pieces. I blogged a wholewheat spinach pizza on my blog a few weeks ago – this was THE BEST pizza ever. And there’s spinach in the base. Actually if you look though my In the Kitchen label on my blog, there are tons of healthy (veggie-laden & low-fat) recipes.

  4. I totally agree with keeping healthy food in stock. At snacktime, today my kids can choose from pear, apple, tangerine, celery, or toast (real bread with fiber in it, not Wonder Bread). They have to choose something healthy, because that’s all there is. I don’t buy junk, there are no Twinkies laying around. Seriously, if I had to choose between whole wheat toast with fruit spread, and a can of Pringles, I’d never eat healthy either.

    My kids eat lots of veggies, but the key is I’ve ALWAYS served lots of veggies. Usually two different ones at every meal. I make *just enough* of a meat main dish at dinner (if I make more, I leave it in the kitchen. I put just enough on the table) but they can have unlimited helpings of the veggies.

    You might try giving them veggies and dip. Kids love to dip! Put ranch dressing in a squeeze bottle and write their name or the Letter of the Day.

    I also will often make a sort of antipasto/crudite platter for a snack. I get out the divided veggie tray and put this and that in the holes.

    Frozen green beans and frozen pea pods make really GREAT snacks on hot days, especially for park days or beach days.

    The best thing I did for our family’s health, IMO, is eliminate the artificial food dyes and MSG. I pay more for soups without MSG, and I pay more in TIME because I do cook a lot of our food now in order to keep that stuff out.

    I’ve got some links, including a link to our story, here:

  5. Hommus is a great dip for veggies, and has lots of protein. I also am always buying lots of fruit, which seems to disappear quickly. I buy grapes, red pepper, asparagus, apples, and pears in bulk at Costco. At this time of year, I buy fat free caramel dip and serve apple slices with little containers of caramel dip when the kids get home from school.

  6. I have noticed mentioned on several blogs a new cookbook out called Deceptively Delicious. I don’t know the author, but it is all about sneaking in veggies to food the family normally eats. Might see if it is in your library…
    (I am not a good one to give advice here, because my kids are all grown and we eat healthy all the time now. We are willing to spend on all the things you mentioned!)

  7. We keep raw veggies and fruits in the house and the kiddos are allowed unlimitedamounts of fruits and veggies. I do have one son that tries to get away with not eating ANY veggies but…..hehe I DO make him eat them. We live on a VERY modest income but we do our best to keep our kids healthy, yet rounded out with “unmentionables.” We have an organic co-op here to where a group of us in our town purchse thinsg online, they are delviverd, adn we save $$$ as things are bought in bulk. We can’t possibly do everything organic, but we try to keep our staples (fruits, veggies, oatmeals, flour, sugars, cheese etc) as healthy and organic as possible. We simply can not add on the cost of organic meat but we do have a local country meat processer who only accepts animal that have not been given growth hormones and they do no add nitrates into their meat. Their cost is the same or cheapr than walmart so that is one thing we can afford.

  8. You have to start somewhere. Start with what they do like and then move out from there. If they enjoy fruit then I would suggest you buy it for them even when it’s a lot per pound. I think it’s amazing how we’ll spend so much money at a fast food restaurant but balk at spending a lot for fruit out of season. I’m not an expert for sure and I probably failed miserably in this department but yours still look young enough (and cute) to get them on the road to some good habits…

  9. I agree with Clementine – it’s all about what’s in the house. If the kids know there is junk around, they are begging for it. If it’s not around, they never even ask for it.

    Here’s a couple things we’ve done to get the kids to eat veggies:
    –serve them a lot – the more exposure they have to them, the more likely they are to become familiar and even liked foods
    –when I serve a dish with lots of veggies (like stew or stir fry), I let them pick out one kind of veggie they don’t want; the rest has to get eaten
    –having a garden is great, just like Clementine said!
    –fix veggies lots of different ways: steamed, grilled, sauteed with a bit of Parmesan cheese (this is great for summer squash, carrots, etc.), stir fry, in a light cheese sauce,…

    I have some snack ideas I posted a while back:
    Add to that fruit & yogurt parfaits – fruit, yogurt, & granola layered in a dish (the kids LOVE to make these on their own), cereal w/ or w/o yogurt, or whole grain bagels with soft cheese or low fat cream cheese.

    One thing that has highly benefited us: trying to eat things that are less processed/more natural. It takes a bit more prep time for me, but we are getting less sugar, preservatives, and fake dyes and more whole grains and nutrients. It’s taken us years of taking baby steps in the right direction, but the slow changes have stuck.


  10. I’ve heard good things about the Deceptively Delicious cookbook.

    My girls LOVE a snack or dessert, so it is easy to say they can’t have anything unless they eat their veggies. They are like their mommy- a sweet tooth is a powerful motivator.

    As for getting my man to eat better… I’m anxious to hear others’ thoughts on that! Scott would NEVER think to pick up a veggie on his own.

  11. 1. We purged all the boxed, conveninece snacks…..this would mean cookies, chips, crackers etc etc…this freed up money for LOTS of fresh produce.

    2. I have found that if I prepare produce they’ll grab it for a snack. For example, I peel and chop carrots to be “baby” size and put them in a gallon ziploc. Now they are ready for snacking or quickly throwing into the steamer. If I don’t do this the carrots will simply sit in the crisper all week. I do this with Pineapples too.

    3. I have one of those cheap servers from Walmart (think it was for tacos or something maybe?) but I put a variety of cut up fruit and veggies into it. Grapes, pineapple, carrots, celery, cantelope chunks…..and this is for open snacking and pulled out at every meal 3x a day.

    4. The apple corer thing are a saver and I have two of them.

    5. I dehydrate apples and all like them for those snack attacks.

    6. When the season was “right” I bought strawberries, peaches, grapes etc and froze them for use in smoothies through the winter – trouble is we’ve used them all up already and it’s ony November. LOL

    7. I bought a tupperware steamer – now I’m not so sure about the plastic and microwave – BUT it does make a quick lunch or even light dinner…..we’ll throw all kinds of veggies in (usually sweet or red potatoes, celery, carrots, asparagus or green beans, onions) and then top with just a wee bit of flax oil and a handful of garlic and Italian spices….or I put homemade dressing over it…..makes a filling and quick lunch.

    8. We dont do organic produce – can’t afford it.

    9. If I DO buy any packaged foods (graham crackers etc) I usually buy organic because they are the ones with the ingredients that are closest to what we are looking for (minus perservatives, color, dyes etc). So this would be in answer to your question about where I’m willing to spend more money.

    10. I do buy grass fed and organic meat…not all the time but this is my next area where I’m willing to scrimp (really make more from scratch) in order to spend more for meat that isn’t full of growth hormones and antibiotics.

    11. I make up BIG batches of cookie dough and freeze it. This way the children can have healthier snacks that are home made even when I’m busy.

    12. I try to make a lot of bread and get it in the freezer too. I know it’s best to make it fresh but it doesn’t happen well like that around here and I figure a loaf from my freezer is better than the .99 cheapo at Walmart.

    13 I’ve found that scratch takes a LOT of time – BUT I can do some things to make it easier. I cook dried beans and freeze them. Then it’s easy to throw them into casseroles, soups and salads – low sodium. Spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, refriend beans – I cook all in big batches and once they are in my freezer it is really no more time to thaw and use as it is to open the can.

    14. Highly benefited our health – our motto “we don’t spend real money on fake food”. LOL

  12. I highly recommend edamame, soy beans in the pod. My kids LOVE them. Offer them a cookie or edamame, they’ll take the edamame. The most flavorful kind is sold at Super WalMart, in the freezer section near the peas and green beans, which are a Thw and Eat variety. I’ve tried other kinds, and we always come back to this one, which has better flavor. They love popping the beans out of the pods and they love how they taste, and it’s very healthy! And once they open up to one green thing more will follow.

  13. It looks like your kiddos are quite a bit older than mine–don’t know how set they are in their ways, so feel free to discard my advice. I try to make as many things as possible from scratch (tortillas, wheat bread, etc.) Snacks are fresh fruit and veggies or whole milk cheese. We do eat kid-friendly foods like hot dogs occasionally, but I buy the kosher variety–they’re four times the price of the cheapo meat/chicken/turkey kinds so I’m less likely to offer them more than once every other week or so. The main thing I think about when shopping/cooking is the fiber content. If you think about it, most dishes with lots of fiber will automatically have less fat/cholesterol/refined sugar/preservatives.

  14. We try to eat a healthy diet and buy local produce when we can. The best thing we have done for our health is to start walking a lot. We walk to the library, to the corner store, to the park. Instead of driving (and I realize this only works for those in cities or ‘burbs), walk to your destination.

  15. My kids love veggies, but they love them even more when a dip is involved. I figure I can handle them eating a tablespoon or two of dressing if they’ll eat tons of carrots, celery, cucumber, mushroom and tomato.
    As for healthy snacks, we have raw almonds (they’re better for you than the roasted ones), apples, pears, pineapple, raisins, and other dried fruits.
    Something that has benefited their health – kids only have milk, water, and juice – no soda, no kool aid, or anything like that. And, they can have all of the milk or water they wish to drink, but they get 2 cups of juice max. per day.

  16. I best not say too much here as I’ll get up on my soapbox, but…
    My overall philosophy is to eat my food as close to the way God made it as possible. Thus, I rid the house of all overly processed sugars, flours, oils and packaged foods. I make as much from scratch as possible. And buy organic as much as possible.

    Arguments I tune out as I seek God for my family’s health (He’s our Creator, so I bet HE knows what true health is! LOL):

    1) “but it will take too much time”
    I read an article recently (I’m kicking myself that I didn’t make note of the source). It was referring to a study that showed the convenience foods did NOT significantly reduce the time spend preparing food for dinner vs. homemade, from scratch meals. I don’t spend more that a half hour or forty-five minutes from start to finish on average.

    2) “my kids won’t eat it”
    You’re right, they won’t, BUT that is because their taste buds haven’t been trained to appreciate food at their finest. Taste buds are tainted by sugar. I first weaned my children off of processed sugar (we ate tons of fruit during this time). Then, they began to be able to TASTE their food. Appreciation skyrocketed. My husband and I try our best to emphasize to our children that God made it for us. To complain about the food HE created is an unappreciative attitude…very unacceptable. (That sounds kinda overly righteous, but I’m sure you understand that we want to cultivate a grateful heart in our children.)

    3) “it costs too much to buy organic”
    Yep, it can be costly, but not in the long run. Think of the body building/immune system strengthening going on…less trips to the doctor! Tip is to buy in season and locally; it’s cheaper. Or, find a local co-op. Make your menus based on what is in season. I’m still learning this.

    Well, actually, I’m still learning all this healthy stuff. But, please, consider…isn’t it odd that we will opt for buying pesticide filled/less nutritionally plump produce because it is a dollar less than the organic and then turn around and buy a candy bar (no value to our system) for 79 cents or a cup of java for $3.50? (Oops, did I step on someone’s toes. LOL)

    Yikes! Maybe I did get up on my soapbox. LOL. Bottom line, I commend you for your beginning quest for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t worry, God has the answers for this puzzle too!

    Many Blessings,
    Holly @Aiminghigh

  17. I get my kids to eat veggies by always offering them. Eventually with limited other options they eat at least a few bites. My husband though, I’ve just learned what he will and won’t eat. Though we have worked things out so he’ll eat things I’m trying to get the boys to eat. Even if just a few bites.
    What kind of healthy snacks do you serve during the day? We serve fruit they can eat themselves and crackers. Sugar isn’t around much at our house on purpose…we’re all addicted to it so we try to keep it out.
    What things are you willing to pay extra for in your budget – organic food, more expensive protein choices (fish, grass fed beef, free range chicken), supplements? We will pay more for things that don’t have crappy ingredients in, a.k.a. spagetti sauce without sugar and with fewer ingredients and well just about anything that has fewer ingredients is a good thing. We also try not to buy things with high fructose corn syrup. Oh and hormone free milk though for us its cheaper because our local dairy is hormone free and we’re close by so its cheaper than wal-mart. We do pay more for local produce during the summer when it is available.
    Can you share one thing in particular that you believe has highly benefited your family’s health? Not eating factory processed food all the time. Our kids don’t like kraft american singles b/c they’ve been raised on cheddar. They don’t like white bread b/c they’ve been raised on wheat and homemade. They love canned low sodium tuna (another thing to spend more money on – it tastes infinetly better) because they’ve been eating it forever. So its been exposing them primarily to good things. But yes we love candy and sugar and crappy foods too but we limit them.

  18. Hi Kathy, You know how hard it is to keep fresh fruits/veggies in stock living in Brinnon, ( 1 hour to any civilization). We do try though to have apples, oranges, bananas, and other seasonal fruit on hand, also we picked blueberries and strawberries last summer and keep baggies frozen, the kids just reach in anytime and grab some. Making fruit smoothies is also fun. All my children will eat tossed salad, they enjoy ranch dressing with it. Mostly though they enjoy eating raw veggies over cooked ones.
    Our family also takes Juice Plus + it gives us 17 fruits and vegtables in a daily dose, it is all natural and I find I’m not as worried about making sure they are getting enough of the fresh stuff. A person would have to eat alot of veggies/fruit everyday to get what Juice Plus offers. I look forward to reading all the other ideas when I have more time.

  19. WOw! I’ll look forward to reading these entries! Meals are a constant work in progress here, and I love to get new tips.

    We have a lot of food allergies over here in Hun-ville, and David likes very specific things, so I have to be really strategic about our eating. I sometimes have to make two versions of dinner in order to make David something tasty and also have something Sarah and Ben can eat. David loves Mexican so that is an exception to the sauces rule, below, but I make it myself and then I know what is going into it.

    I have found the best thing to do for us all is to 1. avoid eating out and 2. eggs and turkey bacon or plain bacon get served almost every day here for one meal, and 3. green apples add a nice zing to any meal and have anti fungal, heart healthy properties and 4. that the safest, and not coincidentally healthiest, foods are those that come to the table most like how they started out in life: ie, lean meats without lots of sauces, fresh or frozen veggies steamed and liberally buttered and salted, and grains like brown rice and whole wheat. A casserole invariably has stuff in it that one or two of my kids can’t have, so it is best for me to avoid them as much as I love them myself.

    Ben has to avoid sugar and can’t each too much grain in a day, due to fungal issues, and I have found Stevia to be a wonderful, natural sugar replacement, and sprinkled on fresh strawberries it is a wonderful dessert. I sometimes put out whole cream on these. Sarah can’t have dairy or soy so she has chocolate rice milk and rice milk ice cream for dessert.

    That said, a nice ranch dip can help with veggies. If people are picking up bad food attitudes, I have them eat their veggies first before they can eat their other food.

    You can get delicious sugar free cookies at the Whole Foods/Central Market store, or in the diabetic section of the grocery .

  20. OK, I thought of another thing, I asked them to help with meal plans, they told me their favorite main dish and veggie, and once every two weeks they will get that as a meal. ARC

  21. I have two words for you: Sneaky Chef. I just bought this cookbook, it talks about how you can sneak veggies and healthy fruits into regular kids food. I have to admit, I haven’t tried it yet.

    I have been pureeing vegetables into my pasta sauce for a while now. I like the taste of all the different veggies in my sauce, but don’t like the texture, the added nutrition is just gravy.

    I do bake our breads (mostly) and cook from scratch. My girls love fruit and are happy to snack on it.

    I have also eliminated box dinners and I’m working on getting rid of cold cereal with all the sugar.

    We have a long way to go but I feel good about the changes were making. I encourage you to listen to these wise people and do what you can to change your family’s eating habits for the better!

  22. Wow. Zillions of good answers. I have none. This is one area that–should I say “we really need to work on” or “I just don’t seem to care as much about but I probably should”. One of those. We definitely need to work on the veggies thing. I find it hard because I ate the minimum amount of required veggies as a child, as did all my siblings, and yet we eventually decided at some point they were edible. So, I have a hard time believing that forcing my kids to consume them will work. But maybe I need to figure out a good bribery system. Your chip idea seemed really good, and I think Abby could probably get excited about it. My husband only ever eats the minimum requirement still–so I have no idea how to motivate him. I keep telling him, once the kids are grown, it’s gonna be salads and pistachios and long, long walks for us. I think he’s planning to get a senior card at the local all-you-can-eat buffet.

  23. One thing that helps us a lot is to menu plan. That way you have healthy choices on hand when you are hungry. Also, the more you cook your own food as opposed to going out, the healthier the meals will be.

    My husband is still in graduate school so our budget is VERY tight. However, since we hardly eat out, we do have some more money to always have fruit and veggies around. I also stock up on frozen veggies when they are on sale.

    One last thing. When feeding my kids (who are EXTREMELY picky eaters) I use this rule of thumb when serving them: water, protein, grain, fruit and veggie.

    Good luck!

  24. One thing I do to help us get more veggies is to double or triple the amount called for in a recipe. The other night we had stir fry and I added one entire extra bag of snap peas and a couple of extra handfuls of mushrooms to the recipe! Only ONE person in our family noticed that there were a LOT more veggies this time but he still ate everything just fine.

  25. Come check out my site on Mondays – I participate in Menu Plan Monday, and I believe MOST of what I serve is healthy. I try to offer a meat, starch, 2-3 vegetables for dinner most nights. We have a 2-bite rule in the family that you must eat 2 bites of everything on your plate. By offering several veggies and fruits, I feel like we do pretty well even if the kids only like 1 or 2.

    For our snacks, we completely cut out the packaged fruit-shape snacks. Instead, we offer a variety of crackers, popcorn, nuts, dried fruits, grape tomatoes (this is one of our favorites), and keep carrots, celery, and apples cut up in the fridge.

    Good luck!

  26. And I thought we were doing so well. Does this mean a Supreme Pizza isn’t enough? With a glass of milk? How about for breakfast?

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