Making healthy meals for your family in a world filled with “processed food-like substances” may seem impossible, but Lisa Leake wants busy parents to know that it can be done.
Leake, a popular blogger and author who chronicles her family’s journey to cut out white flour, white sugar, and anything out of a package with more than five ingredients on 100daysofrealfood.com, answered your questions Wednesday as part of a live chat on the TODAY Parents Facebook page.
Here are five the things we learned from her:
1. Don’t lose hope with a picky eater.
“You really have to keep trying over and over with picky eaters – it can take many months or even a year to win them over,” Leake said, noting the only vegetable her youngest child would eat at one point were frozen peas. Some strategies to try: Give your child a dollar to pick out whatever he wants from the produce section or farmer’s market. Douse broccoli with homemade cheese sauce. And remember, this too shall pass.
2. Try 'breakfast for dinner' on nights when you’re too exhausted to cook
“It only takes a few minutes to scramble some eggs. I also love to make ‘green eggs’ where I blend in greens first to count as our veggie for the night,” Leake wrote.
3. Put treat-sharing relatives on notice
You're striving for a healthy diet for your kids, but well-meaning grandparents or other relatives might still give them treats like cookies and ice cream. Explain to anyone who is around your kids that you want to avoid certain foods for 100 days -- no matter what -- and that this challenge is very important to you. That’s exactly what Leake did. The temporary nature of the challenge meant “they felt like they had to comply," Leake wrote. "And then after the 100 days, it kind of became a new way of life and everyone just sort of got used to it!”
4. How to go organic on a tight budget
When you only have enough money to buy some organic items, Leake recommended focusing on organically-raised meat and organic dairy.
5. There are plenty of healthy snack options for kids
Leake suggests smoothies, popcorn and whole-grain pretzels. Adding a fun dip to seasonal fruit and veggie options makes them more appealing for kids, she noted. As for kids who see their friends eating junk food like potato chips for lunch and yearn to do the same, how about a compromise? Once a week, your child can pack or eat whatever she wants -- if she promises to eat what you pack the rest of the week, Leake suggested.