If you’re like me, you care. You care about your children’s health. You care about what they put in their bodies. And you also care about their emotional health; do they have a healthy relationship with food? Do they feel secure and taken care of? You also probably care about other kids too, and wonder how you can help other families be healthy between your insane schedule and own budget restrictions.
You might also be raising an almost four year old that has discovered his independence, like me. Or maybe your child discovered their distaste of anything green, bumpy, or slightly “weird” a few years ago. And–like me–you might frequently feel like you’re failing as a mother because your kid hasn’t eaten a single fruit or vegetable since last week…maybe.
I believe healthy, nutrient dense food serves as the backbone for physical health and mental health. I pack my fridge full of fresh berries, dark leafy greens, bone broth, oats, flaxseeds, sauerkraut. I eat salads for breakfast, and crave fresh foods. Much to my dismay, my toddler snuffs and refuses to eat almost all food that isn’t plain. Plain rice. Chicken nuggets. Macaroni and cheese. Plain chicken. I put fruits and veggies on his plate because it makes me feel better, but I’ve all but given up on trying to get him to eat them (my kid is the kid who will go to bed without dinner after sitting at the dinner table refusing to swallow a blueberry).
It’s so easy to throw in the towel, without realizing that there are hundreds of kid friendly, dietician approved, and creative ways to get fresh food into our kid’s lives. That’s why I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to try out a recipe from Produce for Kids, and use my toddler as a taste tester for something that could actually fuel his belly and brain.
If you haven’t heard of Produce for Kids, I’ll take some time to fill you in. When you take time to visit their website, you might think that they are just offering up nutritious, family friendly recipes and extra resources like meal planning, produce tips, and real advice from real parents. All of that makes browsing the site more than valuable for us mommas who want to shake up our family’s diets.
What really makes Produce for Kids shine, beyond giving us the ideas we need to feed our families real food, is that they partner with Feeding America, an organization that serves communities with 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries across America, providing food security and nutritious meals to 46 million people. The impact on families who benefit from these services, as you can imagine, goes beyond eating a vegetable.
When I was going to school full time and pregnant with my second son, I experienced only a taste of food insecurity, as I had stopped working and our income was cut in half. I experienced the pain of having to choose between laundry detergent and more than one type of meat. I could only buy frozen vegetables and a bag of apples, hoping I could be creative enough to feed all of us and–more importantly–that my toddler would eat it. I personally can’t imagine the pain of not being able to feed myself or my children, but I know that programs like Feeding America are vital to the health of our country. And with Produce for Kids, we have an opportunity to feed our own families nutrient dense meals but also support Feeding America and other charitable organizations!
When you’re out grocery shopping this year, look out for the Produce for Kids logo at these stores in Arkansas and Missouri that have teamed up with Produce for Kids to provide families with real food options and invaluable support and resources. After browsing their website a little more, you’ll recognize it as you’re picking up groceries you’re likely already buying, like salad mixes, fresh fruits, and more.
When you buy fresh fruits and veggies that are supporting this campaign, you’ll also be supporting Feeding America and other food banks that provide something that as mothers, we’re all concerned about: real food for our kids and families. An added bonus is getting some great recipes to incorporate into your family meals.
There are over 300 recipes on the Produce for Kids website. I couldn’t NOT try this Cauliflower Potato Latke recipe and share it with you to showcase just a taste of what Produce for Kids offers. And I’ll tell you something: my incredibly picky, annoyingly stubborn, almost four year old ate these and asked for more. That’s right: my kid ate cauliflower (he might have called them “pancakes,” but that’s besides the point, right?) Later this week I’m going to try to swap out our stir fry rice with this Cilantro Lime Cauliflower rice, too.
You can check out more recipes like this here. All of their recipes are dietician approved, and all of them are simple enough to get on your table without hurting your budget, either. And you can even get active on social media and show others what recipes you’re trying by using the hashtag #produceforkids to inspire other mommas to join this cause, too! I’m gluten free, and all of the recipes are super simple to swap out ingredients to fit your dietary restrictions, too.
So when you’re out picking out nutritious foods at your favorite grocery stores for your family, you can also support other families and their health. Your kids could eat cauliflower, too, and for a good cause! That’s what I call a momma win-win.